In addition to social media, email marketing is a great way to reach out to your customers on a regular basis. These days, most people have their phones in their hands or within arms’ reach for the majority of their day and can read their emails instantly. To grow your business and create loyal customers, you should be emailing out weekly deals, coupons and even which flavors you are currently serving to your customer base. You can use an online email marketing software in order to do this. This article is a great resource to compare the different options and figure out which one is right for your business.
The most important thing to know about email marketing before you begin is that there are laws in each country determining which types of emails are ok for businesses to send and who they can send them to. In America, we have the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 which established standards for the sending of commercial e-mail. This article goes into detail about the guidelines in this act but two key factors to know are that every commercial email must include an unsubscribe button and commercial emails should not be misleading. Email marketing softwares also regulate which type of lists you are allowed to send emails to in order to protect both their company and your brand. Gaining consent is an important factor in keeping unsubscribe rates low and avoiding complaints from customers receiving your emails.
To avoid customers feeling as though they are being spammed by your business, here are a few easy ways to create your email lists:
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1. Have employees ask customers at checkout for their emails. This is the easiest way to gain consent to use email addresses from your current customer base. Add a step in your Point of Sale system where employees can type in customer email addresses that can be imported directly to your email management service.
2. Place a fishbowl on your counter where customers can put their business cards into the bowl to win a prize such as a free cup of yogurt or a gift card. The important thing about this option is that the sign must say that customers will also be subscribed to your email updates containing coupons, discount offers, etc. This alerts the customer beforehand and reduces the feeling of being spammed.
3. Add signup forms on your website or social media sites. Many email marketing services offer sign up forms that can be integrated into your preexisting website or social media. Hang a sign in your store telling customers where they can go to sign up to receive your offers.
4. Set up a QR code displayed near your register that customers can scan to subscribe to your emails. Many email marketing services offer the option to create a custom QR code that can be hung up in your store for customers to scan and be automatically subscribed to your email list.
5. Check with local organizations that send out local offers to customers. These customers have already given permission to these organizations to use and share their email addresses and have already expressed interest to receive local offers. You may have to purchase this list but it will expand your reach to people who may not have been to your store before.
These email marketing tips can be used in all types of foodservice stores. The key to growing your email base is to encourage customers to sign up by offering incentives in the emails. In the content of the emails, encourage customers to share these offers with your friends. Once you get comfortable with email marketing, you will begin to see loyal customers who look forward to your email update offers. Remember that email marketing an ongoing process and old customers will begin to unsubscribe after a few months if they are no longer interested. Honor these unsubscribes and continue to build your email lists with new customers to keep your lists fresh. Start small and learn which practices work best for your business and you’ll begin to see returns on your investment in email marketing.