5 Email Marketing Strategies Local Businesses Can Use to Keep Customers Coming Back

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The only thing better than a new customer is a returning one. In fact, keeping customers coming back could make or break your local business. Since you likely work hard at building and maintaining your email contact list, it makes sense that you want to keep it as productive as possible. Join us as we uncover our best five email marketing strategies local businesses can use to keep customers coming back.

Local businesses have the advantage of the community. The main focus should be on personalization and relationships to keep customers coming back. Segment your email contacts into groups that make sense for your business and share strategic deals, polls, reminders, exciting newsletters, and more.

Email marketing can be beneficial if you are looking for ways to retain customers and keep them supporting your local business. Since most people have a readily accessible email account, it is typically an easy-enough feat to gain permission to send them emails. The trick is to keep your email content more exciting and engaging than the other email marketers out there.

Find out a few ways you can do that.

5 Email Marketing Strategies for Local Businesses

Email marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy that, when used well, can generate sales and has the power to keep customers coming to a business, local or international. When planning an email marketing strategy, it is vital to consider your target audience. Knowing who you are writing to makes a huge difference when planning your content, segmenting your audience, and strategizing follow-up mailers.

Since the topic of email marketing is as broad as the universe, we have selected our top picks for you, and we have honed in on how you can use email marketing to keep local customers supporting your local business.

Let’s look at these strategies in more detail:

1. Build the Best Email Contact List

It may be tempting to purchase email lists or download lists from LinkedIn or elsewhere as a local business. While this may give you the numbers you likely desire, chances are, you will be left will a bunch of unopened emails, a low click-through rate, and possibly be marked as spam.

The way to build a valuable email contact list is to get outright buy-in from your customers. As a local business, you likely know many of your customers, either by face or on a deeper level. For this group, ask them in person to sign up for your email list. It is beneficial to know what they will get out of signing up. When most of us are asked to sign up for something, our minds dart to endless pages of spam. Explain the perks your customers will get from the emails and how often they are likely to receive them.

For the customers you do not know, you can get them to sign up by having signs and forms in store, asking your store clerks to invite customers to sign up, advertising the email benefits and perks on your social media pages, and more. Remember that once customers have agreed to hand over their email addresses, they have moved themselves down the sales funnel and closer to you, your brand, and your products. Each email address should be treated like gold.

Suppose you can gather additional information about the customer along with the email address. In that case, you will set yourself up for a more manageable task of segmenting your contact list, which is our second point and coming up next.

2. Segment Your Business Contact List

Segmenting your business’s email contact list means being able to send personalized emails to groups of people in a way that will almost ensure better performance. Suppose you have a group of customers that regularly purchases a specific consumable item from you.

In that case, it makes sense to send that group emails containing reminders, special deals, possible additions, and more, all to do with the item they regularly purchase. This type of mailer can be seen as a service and marketing since you can also remind your customers that a subscription is about to expire and offer to automatically renew it for them and such. In so doing, you invite your customer to purchase again and provide a service, making them feel appreciated and seen.

A Mailchimp survey revealed that segmented audience lists had a 14.3% higher open rate, a 100.95% higher click rate, and a 9.37% lower unsubscribe rate than unsegmented lists.

Looking at these statistics, we can see the value in segmenting business contact lists. Let us look at a few categories to consider:

  • Gender
  • Preference of purchase
  • Location
  • Socio-economic status
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • How often they visit the store
  • What store social media pages they support

There are many more categories, and as you begin to consider your store in particular, you may find ones that match your specific group of customers well.

3. Send a Mix of Email Types

We all know that the concentration span of the general population has declined, but there is still something to be said for exciting newsletters. Still, if newsletters are the only type of email you are sending, you may need to give your customers more incentive to keep coming back to your store.

After your initial welcome email, Netcore Resources recommends sending a mix of the following email types that perform well to keep customers engaged and interested in a local store.

  • Promotional emails: These emails provide information about short-term special deals and entice the customer to act fast. They have calls to action and urge the customer to take action immediately, right off the email, to avoid missing out.
  • Newsletters: These emails are an excellent way for local businesses to maintain relationships with their customers and show the community that they care and are active in the area. Share news, competitions, past competition winners, upcoming events, training the staff have been on, and more to show the human side of the business to your customers.
  • Educational emails: Educational emails are your opportunity to share well-written content with your customers about something you offer. Consider these similar to blog posts. They are a chance to teach people who may be on the fence about why what you offer is the best and the best solution for them.

We also highly recommend setting up an abandoned cart email system. Customers often place items in a cart to purchase after payday. They may fully intend to buy the items but get distracted or forget. When you send an “abandoned cart” email, you remind them what they wanted to purchase, what your store is all about, and why they wanted to support you.

In every type of email, it is vital to include a call to action. Even in a chatty newsletter, consider adding a call to action like, “Let us know what you think by hitting reply” or something similar.

In an educational email, your call to action could be a button with the text “learn more.” The button can direct the customer to a blog post that expands on the information, or your website’s contact page, where the customer can ask questions.

4. Send Offers and Rewards to Loyal Fans

When we recommend segmenting your email contact list, one group to pay close attention to is your 20%. Most businesses follow a 20/80 pattern. Your 20% are your core customers, die-hard fans, and the ones you should keep returning with rewards.

If you are wondering why you should market to the customers that already know and love your business, consider these astonishing facts:

  • 40% of your revenue comes from return customers
  • Return customers spend on average 67% more than new customers
  • It is considerably more cost-effective to market to existing customers than to new ones

Keep your loyal customers coming back by offering a loyalty program. You may wish to refrain from giving discounts, but you could consider giving points for every purchase that goes toward credit that can be used for a future purchase at your store.

Some other ideas for offers and rewards for your loyal fans include:

  • Sneak peeks at new items to be released in store
  • Days to claim extra loyalty points
  • Opportunities to claim items at discounted prices
  • Giveaways that are only open to loyal customers
  • Loyal customer-only invitations to product launches, parties, and more

By making your most loyal customers feel special, they are likely to continue being your brand ambassadors, and no marketing is as valuable as positive word of mouth. Your loyal customers are more likely to continue supporting your store, where they are treated like valued clients.

5. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

While we have all seen a marketing email or two with our names on it, did you know that there is science behind personalizing emails and that you can use it to market your local business?

According to Segmentify, the efficacy of personalized emails differs between generations. Having received a personalized email, 46% of Baby Boomers, 58% of Gen Xers, and a massive 63% of Millennials are willing to hand over their personal information to a business.

Moreover, personalized emails rake in a stunning 27% higher unique click rate than non-personalized ones. There is something about seeing your name that makes you stop and take notice, but there is more to personalizing emails than simply adding your customers’ names.

If you have access to their birthdates, Netcore suggests sending a birthday greeting to show them you care. Part of personalizing is segmenting. By sending offers that resonate with certain groups, you are already showing each group that you understand their preferences.

For example: your pensioners may enjoy a listening list of golden oldies from the era when they were young.

Every tiny bit of personalization goes a long way in showing every customer they are valued and that you care. It shows that you respect them and appreciate their support. Consider each personalized email like the friendly store clerk standing at the door, greeting all the regulars by name and asking after their children.

Final Thoughts

Email marketing can go a long way in building and maintaining good, long-lasting relationships with your regular customers. Consider personalizing them and keeping up with periodic emails to keep your customers engaged and interacting with your local business.

(Related: 11 Expert Email Marketing Strategies For Service Businesses)

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!