Local strategies add energy to e-mail marketing efforts

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The marketing experience is becoming increasingly local, and a localized e-mail campaign can be one of the most effective ways to engage with a customer and drive the sale home. New technologies are helping retailers to better target consumers with promotions as they shop online or through their mobile devices as they walk into their local store.

These types of promotions establish a more personal connection with the consumer and expand the breadth of cross-channel touch points available to marketers during the purchase cycle. It's a particularly effective way to drive traffic to a customer's local store.

Whether you're a national brand, franchiser or regional player, localization of your e-mail marketing entails coordination across the organization, leveraging your national and local assets, and ensuring enough flexibility to capitalize on unexpected events.

Start by establishing a local store relationship. Make the customer's local or preferred store a permanent element of your e-mail template. Include the address, phone, store hours and the manager's name for a local reference point.

To leverage the national brand name, while capitalizing on the customer's relationship with their local store, use a dynamic display name. Insert the name of the local store while keeping the e-mail address as the corporate brand.

Don't make local managers figure out marketing on their own. Give store managers the power to promote local events. Make it easy for them to request e-mails from corporate marketing to send out to support events and sales.

Local store managers have a special understanding of their community. Use that knowledge. Help them build campaigns around local events. Ensure enough flexibility in your e-mail programs to help capitalize on local happenings and create events around them (“Snowed in all weekend and missed the sale? We've extended it just for you!”). These are the types of communications that surprise customers and help engage them in the offer.

When integrated into a cross-channel strategy, a localized e-mail program can help to drive customers to your online and offline stores, while deepening their relationship with the brand and their local retailer.

Betsy Miller is director of marketing at Blueport Commerce. Reach her at bmiller@blueport.com.

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