I often speak to small, local business owners about marketing technologies and strategies that are adopted by far larger, more geographically spread businesses. That’s the great thing about working in email marketing — it really is a scalable solution that works for businesses of any shape or size.
Email marketing success isn’t bound by location. It will work just as well for a local business as it will for a national or global operation. It’s just a case of optimizing your campaigns to suit your business’s and your clients’ needs.
Three Reasons Local Businesses Should Use Email Marketing
- Increase Footfall: Just because the majority of your clients are on your doorstep doesn’t mean they will always have the time or inclination (without a little persuasion) to visit your premises and check out your current offers. Email marketing keeps everyone up to date and encourages customers to be a little more regular in their buying habits.
- Extend Opening Hours: Email marketing combined with an e-commerce storefront will extend your opening hours from standard office hours to a 24/7 operation.
- Build Community: Your email campaigns are essentially bespoke web pages that can be easily shared by your network of social media subscribers and followers. As a community-based business, you might as well make your community work for you. Email marketing enhanced with a little social media activity will help extend the geographic reach of your business without the associated high costs of wider promotion. Even the smallest business can operate on a global scale thanks to email.
Six Email Marketing Strategies for Hyperlocal Businesses
- Click and Collect: Nobody said e-commerce had to operate purely as a mail order business. Click and collect (where people buy products online and collect them in person) is an ideal way of encouraging people into your retail establishment (where they can potentially be encouraged to spend more money). Sharing your latest offers with your email subscribers is a great way to encourage footfall and generate orders. Try offering incentives to join your email list, such as discounts off future purchases or by offering an early mover advantage (offering a first chance to buy can be an incredibly powerful incentive, particularly when stock is limited — see #2).
- The Perception of Scarcity: If stock is limited, people will be more inclined to buy online. Highlight how many items you have in stock or perhaps offer a limited discount or added-value proposition (free insurance, accessories bundle, etc.) to the first five people who order.
- Promote Pre-Orders: Promote and sell items you don’t yet have in stock. Large online retailers like Amazon do a great job at promoting books and movies some months ahead of release. There is no reason you cannot do the same. This may also take some of the risk out of ordering stock for items without understanding the levels of demand.
- Extend Your Range: Use your email marketing activities to promote products or services you do not normally carry in stock. These could be long-tail items (that do not make sense to stock normally) or perhaps bulkier or more expensive items that take up space or put pressure on your cash flow.
- Voucher Codes: Be careful with the way you use discounts. You don’t want to be known as someone who only sells cheap products or services. As a local business with great service, you might actually get away with charging a premium. In that case, you may benefit from using voucher codes to drive sales during slower business periods.
- Rinse and Repeat: Email marketing is a little bit like the small ads at the back of a paper. It acts as a regular, general reminder that you are still in business and available should customers require a product or service you offer. They might not engage with every email you send, but when a need arises, they will remember your name and make you the first point of call.
How does your business use email to reach your local community? Share your comments below: