As an offline business you should seriously consider email marketing as one of the key foundations for your marketing campaign. Many business owners are wary of using email to market to prospects due to the SPAM legislations that exist and the perception that email marketing may leave with prospects.  These are, indeed, very valid concerns however, by approaching email marketing in the correct way, it is possible to increase business and improve customer retention.

This article provides valuable tips on how an offline business can create an email distribution list to begin with and ensure that the email marketing campaign creates the right perception with the customers.

When creating an email distribution list, it is important to ensure that you comply with the CANSpam laws that exist in your country.
Simply taking someones email address and then sending them marketing material does not work.  It is very important that you receive the customers permission to add them to your email list.  Purchasing lists of email addresses is not recommended, as you have not received the email owners permissions and this may cause problems for you – at the very least many of the recipients will simply delete your email without even opening it.

If you have an offline business, and wish to implement an email marketing campaign one of the best ways to do so, is to ask your customers when they are purchasing something, if they would like to join the mailing list to receive your email newsletter.  You can gather the email addresses by writing them on a piece of paper and entering them into a spreadsheet or database at a later time.  If  your point of sale software allows you to capture the customers email address, you can add their details to your existing customer database.

Another method to capture the email addresses of your store front customers, is to run a competition.  In order to enter the competition, your customers need to complete an entry form that includes their email address.  The form should provide the ability for your customer to refuse receiving your newsletter – which can be achieved by a checkbox on the form that the customer has to tick in order to ‘opt out’.  This method is also a wonderful way to update your customer database.

If you already have a web presence, offer visitors to your website a gift in return for subscribing to your newsletter.  It is easiest to offer a digital product that can be accessed by the subscriber online, although offline businesses may consider offering a discount coupon or sample product voucher (to be redeemed instore) as the gift.

Once you have people who wish to receive your email newsletters, creating and sending the newsletter on a regular basis is the next thing.  The content of your newsletter becomes very important… your email campaign really should not just contain marketing materials alone. Honor your customers time, by providing useful information to them in your emails.  For example, if you are a hairdresser you may provide the latest information about caring for sun damaged hair; a mechanic may give information about how to check whether your oil is due for a change.  In providing useful information to your subscribers, you are proving that you value them and showing that they are more than just someone to sell to.

The thing to consider is the look and feel of your newsletter.  Whilst a text based newsletter is generally far from visually appealing, it will be received and read on the majority of your subscribers computers.  A formatted newsletter is certainly visually appealing, although some of your subscribers may have problems receiving or reading it.  It is best to send your newsletter in both formats – allowing your subscribers to receive your newsletter in the format best for them.  Most quality email marketing tools will provide you with the ability to send in both formats.

Consideration should be given to the email marketing tools you will use to distribute your email newsletter – and we will discuss these at  a later point.

Finally, ensure your newsletter includes links back to your website (so your readers can gather more information), your contact details and a Call To Action.  The Call To Action should prompt your readers to do something with the information you have provided such as making a purchase, investigating the product a little further or provide feedback on their experiences.

Are you an offline business owner?  Have you implemented an email marketing list, or are you considering it?  If you have – please share your experiences below – if you’re considering it, is there anything stopping you?  Share your thoughts below….

About the Author Charly Dwyer

Charly has more than 30 years experience in the IT industry ranging from hands-on technical, to high-level business management, Charly has installed and configured computing equipment and has managed business contracts in excess of $25 million dollars.

As a result, Charly identifies the best way to integrate solutions and technologies for the most cost effective way to achieve a businesses outcome.

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