E-mail marketing best practices for local business

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E-mail marketing is one of the most effective retention marketing techniques available to digital marketers today. Whatever business you're in – whether you're a local hairdresser trying to increase return traffic to your salon or a multi-million dollar e-commerce site with more than 1,000 products to sell – e-mail marketing should be one of the highest priorities within your online marketing strategy.

E-mails are the perfect way to get your brand and all its offerings in front of current and potential customers. In short: Remind people why they signed up to receive your e-mails in the first place.

For example, online newsletters provide a great value-add for all types of customers, and allow you to talk to your audience directly and provide product suggestions in a more subtle way.

You can also use e-mail to provide incentive to shop or visit your site again after seeing a customer take no interest in your brand. Bluefly.com, for example, sends a promo code to customers who haven't shopped in a while to help reinvigorate their interest in the brand.

E-mails are perfect for introducing your current customers to other services or products they might be interested in. Just as your site is your salesperson, taking the customer through your store's Web site, e-mail can serve as that customer's best friend: “wink-wink, nod-nod, here's the product for you.” Use market basket analysis within your own database to develop data-based up-sell/ cross-sell suggestions. (If you like Product A, you may also like Product B, C or D.) Amazon.com often sends book suggestions to its customers via e-mail to help drive interest in similar authors based on past purchase behavior.

New product or new service e-mails are the perfect excuse to e-mail your customer base. You are not only getting your name in front of your customers once again, but you are giving them a whole new reason to be interested in what you have to offer. Lancome.com often sends e-mails to its client base with new product announcements, as well as letting people know when other makeup or skincare products are being discontinued so they can stock up.

Regardless of the type of e-mail you offer, the call to action you offer your customers should always be your number one consideration. One of the most popular e-mails with the highest conversion rate is the Shopping Cart Abandonment E-Mail. Remind people what they left in their cart, and if you really want them to buy, offer them a discount if they “buy now.”

These are a just few tactics that marketing teams can employ to try to increase traffic to their sites and increase sales/ leads/ return visits to your business. But even with the right tactics in place, you need the right e-mail creative for these tactics to be successful. Next time we will break down what to do (and not to do) with your e-mail design.

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