It does not matter whether you are running a small online business or a local eatery, your budget is limited and your challenge is to keep getting new customers for growth and turn your existing customers into repeat buyers for business sustainability.
You can use a variety of advertising options depending on your budget. Email marketing is a low cost solution that you must use regardless of any other methods you pursue. However, if you don’t know how to start an email marketing campaign in a right way, you soon will be become the biggest spammer in the town and may lose everything you have due hate and litigation.
Start with email addresses you have in your existing contact list. Explain them what you are up to and emphasis the benefits your business provides to ordinary folks. Don’t use any sales pitch. It should be informational with the emphasis on benefits. Keep it short because people don’t have time to read long emails. Also, encourage them to spread the news to their contacts.
As customers start coming to your establishments, get their emails and tell them what you intend to do with the email. Make a commitment to your customers not to sell their emails to third parties or spam their inbox every day with.
Start with a newsletter to share your expertise and insights. For example, if your business is catering to the lunch crowd, start talking to about nutrition, recipes, how to save money on lunch, etc. Forget how you are going to benefits from the newsletter. Take it as mission to help others by giving good information.
Talk to your family and friends to solicit tips and ideas for your newsletter. Form a network with other related businesses. For example, if you offer Greek foods, bring in businesses that offer Chinese, Italian, and even Greek foods. Talk about benefits of Italian pasta in your newsletters and suggest some delicious dishes from your friend’s Chinese restaurant.
Once your customer start realizing that the newsletter is not meant to spam their inboxes by incessantly promoting your business, they will start trusting you and your business. You will be able to grab their precious attention. We are moving towards the attention economy where it will become extremely difficult to get people’s attention by traditional advertising.
Because you make a commitment to your customers not to sell their email addresses, as a principle, you also should not buy email addresses from a third party. Moreover, because you don’t know how the third party has obtained the addresses that you are going to buy, you may as well be buying emails obtained without the owners’ consents. Build your own email list slowly and you will get the reward in the long run.
Stick to a monthly schedule of sending your newsletters to your subscribed list. You do more often, you lose your recipients attention and they more likely to drag it to their trash folder. Sporadic and irregular campaigns will not generate interests and anticipation.
If you don’t have time to create a newsletter regularly, outsource the activity to a third party with strict guidelines. Engage your kids to find information and write articles and tidbits for your newsletter and compensate them. Go to your local community college and hire somebody for researching and writing your articles and creating the newsletter.
The email marketing should be all about connecting with your customers and building trusts. It should provide value to your customers. Once you build trusts, your customers will be your fans and help spread your business virally.