When Covid-19 started getting really bad, one of my first thoughts was… “I hope business owners are using email marketing.”
Why on earth would I think that?
Many local businesses had to pivot and the only way they were communicating was through social media, a platform with algorithms that typically favor personal profiles over business ones.
I don’t know about you but the only brands I see coming across my IG Stories and Facebook feed are promoted posts, except for a handful of my absolute favorite local brands.
That means business owners who wanted to capture the attention of their community and customers had to rely on platforms that will only guarantee eyeballs in exchange for dollars. And even then, it’s not always in front of the eyeballs you need.
Thankfully, our community members stepped up big time, using their social platforms to promote local businesses. And nothing is better than having your customer tell their friends how awesome you are, right?! Beats your own advertising and marketing efforts all day every day.
So back to email marketing.
Why am I so GUNG HO about email?
You can use it for so many different purposes.
Whether you’re sharing new products, a change of hours, a new location, a holiday promo, or other updates your customers look forward to hearing about, it’s a great place to directly communicate to people who subscribed to your email list.
It doesn’t matter what type of local business you own, email marketing can allow you to reach more people and create the action you desire, like… appointment booking or online sales or in-store foot traffic or phone calls.
Here’s a little exercise. 🙂
Think about the total number of customers who have purchased from you.
What would happen if even 10% of them always did the thing you told them about in your email?
If you have 1000 email subscribers and 100 of them took action on your email how would that impact your bottom line?
And then what would happen if 100 people took action on your email every time you sent it? Let’s say you got consistent and sent an email two times a month.
So twice a month 200 people took action. They signed up for your event. They came in to buy whatever item you were promoting. They grabbed the online gift card to get entered into that amazing giveaway you created. They booked an appointment they had been meaning to do (they just kept forgetting!). They hopped over to your Instagram and followed you… and then shared one of your posts to their 1000 followers in a Story.
And then let’s say you got reeeeally intentional about building your list. You made sure new customers got added, you offered a juicy perk using an opt-in form on your website, you put a piece of paper out at check out for people who want to get added, you add it to your Instagram bio, and you create content that builds your list.
Now you have 2000 people on your email list and 10% of those people still take action when you email, so now that’s 400 people, if you’re emailing twice a month.
You’re LOVING email marketing so instead of twice a month you shift to emailing once a week, so now 800 people are taking action on your emails every single month. You spend 4-5 hours a month to help 800 people take action inside of your business. What does that do for you, friend?
The worst thing that happens with email marketing is people don’t open your email, but even then… your brand is in their inbox. You are top of mind in their brain!
The best things that happen with email marketing?
An educated customer will share correct information to those who bring up your brand or even bring you up in conversation because you shared something new and interesting.
“Did you hear the sushi place is moving downtown? I got an email from them, I can’t wait to check it out.” “Wait, no way! Where at?” “Oh let me check quick…”
We’ve watched our clients get tremendous results from email marketing. A majority of them are brick + mortar, or service providers with a physical presence in a specific community.
One client in particular stayed afloat at the beginning of Covid because of email marketing. We used an e-gift card campaign and promoted a digital shopping experience to keep sales generating when she couldn’t physically engage with her customers. It generated 5 figures in unplanned income. And now we use that strategy more frequently!
Think about it for a minute. When something shifts in your business, how do you get the word out? Social media?
I’m sure if you have a really great following and engaged audience, social media WORKS, but I’m here to tell you that email marketing paired with social media will move your message so much further.
Here are some of the common objections we hear to building an email list…
These are normal thoughts. It’s change. It’s more work. It’s new! You’ve heard different things about email marketing you just don’t know if it’s really going to work for you.
I’m here to tell you that after working with hundreds of local business owners, this is worth paying attention to and getting put together.
Any local business owner can crush it with email marketing with the tools we provide (keep reading!).
This part is actually quite simple, but it’s the #1 thing that holds people back from starting. People don’t know which platform to choose and go into analysis paralysis. So, if I may, let me guide you. I won’t lead you astray. 🙂
I recommend most local business owners start with something like MailChimp because it’s free. If you’re into beautiful design, you might love FloDesk. We wrote an overview of the platform here if you want more deets.
All you have to do is sign up and set up your contact list.
You can import current customers (be sure you’re compliant!) or create an opt-in form for people to join your list by adding it to LinkTree or in your social media content.
What is an opt-in form you ask?
It’s a simple web form that allows people to add their name + email address to get updates from you. Here’s an example one of our amazing clients has on her Squarespace website. You can also make these forms inside of your email marketing system, like MailChimp or FloDesk.
You can see in the content it does not say “join our newsletter.” It says “Sign up to be the first to know about new products we’re stocking, events in our store, and promotions you don’t want to miss.” Doesn’t that sound a little more exciting?
Once you’ve signed up for your email marketing platform of choice and got your opt-in forms built, it’s essential that you’re actually adding subscribers to your list.
We always tell our Love Local community to get LinkTree, add the opt-in form there, and be sure you’re talking about your list in your social media content as a call to action. What does this mean?
If you post a photo of something new and exciting happening at your local business, you can end it with… “Want to be first to know when we launch new products [or insert whatever your focus is]? Join our email list by using the link in our bio! Our email friends get special perks just for being on the list. You want to be one of them, right?”
You can do a lot to grow your list like giving a % discount on first purchases or doing a giveaway to the next 10 people who join or a donation to a local nonprofit when 20 people join.
The key to growing anything is consistency. Consistency is that annoying word in business ownership that we all *know* is important but often ignore. 🙃
If you want to grow your email list, ya gotta talk about it and make sure the content inside the email is good enough that your customers look forward to opening it every Wednesday morning and then forwarding it to their best friends in town.
Always put the best stuff in your emails and make sure your followers and customers know that this is the spot to hang out as a customer to get the best info. And then, actually honor it! Drop 10 tickets for that workshop you’re hosting to your email list FIRST, but tease it in your social media content the day before!
“We’re hosting a wreath-making workshop next month and releasing tickets to our email list tomorrow! Have you joined yet? Hop into our email list and be one of the first to sign up. Email goes out at 9 a.m. friends!”
Over time, you’ll start to see what works in building your list so you can do that more often. Some things will fall flat. Try something different the next time!
If you’re intrigued and willing to give it a try, I created a 5-day mini course for local business owners called Launch Your List.
I walk you through every. single. step. that goes into creating an email list that’s compliant, sustainable, and most importantly, something people want to subscribe to! All this is done through trainings and tutorials that’ll explain how to get that template set up or what an email nurture sequence is and ideas to craft your own.
Right now, this mini course is available to you for FREE.
Why on earth would I be giving you something easily worth $500 for free?
I watched dozens of my local friends struggle when Covid-19 hit. This could have helped tremendously. As businesses were pivoting, changing hours, changing how they distributed their products… their only means of communication was social media.
And leaving important communication up to an algorithm is risky business.
If you’re ready to launch your email list, join Launch Your List: A FREE! 5-Day Email Marketing Mini Course for Local Business Owners. I can’t wait to see you on the inside. You can opt-in using the form below or head to the specific page breaking it all down for you to learn more + sign up there.
My name is Emily Steele and I teach local business owners how to be the legends they are and build an irresistible and profitable local brand.