We’ve all seen the annoying pop-up ads that appear seconds after you visit a new website.  They promise a chance to win $100, or to receive a special discount, when you sign up for the business’s email newsletter. Often they lead with headlines such as “Let’s keep in touch” and “Be the first to know about special offers…”  Why do companies do this? Because they realize that for online and brick & mortar retailers alike, a robust customer email list is an important asset.  According to some sources, it can even add to the value of your business should you decided to sell it.

There are several ways to get customers to join your list.  Be sure to make it easy for those visiting your site to sign up, especially if you don’t want to use a pop-up ad.  Another option is the “call to action” button on Facebook, as discussed in this article by the digital marketing firm Constant Contact. When customers sign up for our rewards program, we ask for their email address – and are careful to mention that they’ll be added to our list. This is an important step, since permission-based email marketing requires that the recipient gives you informed, explicit consent to send them messages.

It’s also essential that you provide a link for unsubscribing, referred to as an “opt-out,” whenever you use your list. This will help prevent recipients from marking emails that they no longer wish to receive as spam, even though they had previously given permission to be on your list.  

Once you have your email list built up, it’s important to create value for those who have shown real interest in your shop by entrusting you with their contact information. While there is no consensus as to how frequently to send emails – we are trying for every other week at this time – the important thing is that the content make customers happy to hear from you. Here are some ideas about what to feature:

  1. Exclusive giveaways for subscribers
  2. Invitations to special events
  3. Announcements of sales and discounts 
  4. Updates about neighboring businesses
  5. Information about your support of nonprofits
  6. News about recent arrivals and trends

Be sure that every email includes your store hours, address, phone number and a link to your website. If you need more ideas for engaging content, take a look at The Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing for Retailers from Shopify.

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder