Local email marketing is a technique for local companies to connect with potential customers and drive sales.
Even though this marketing technique is a great way to connect with customers directly, it is often underused.
A Statista.com study highlights that the total number of global email users increased to 3.9 billion in 2019 and it is expected to increase to 4.48 billion by 2024. Around 80 percent of marketers have shown a rise in email engagement over the past 12 months.
According to a 2018 eMarketer email report, email marketing has an ROI of 59 percent, which is more than social media and display ads.
Emails are a personal and convenient means of contact to keep your customers informed about your business.
Sending localized emails to your customers helps you communicate in their language and boosts customer engagement. For example, if you have a café in Spain, sending an email in Spanish about new offers or special additions to the menu to the locals, enhances the customer experience and builds loyalty for your brand.
Local email marketing is an effective way of getting your company’s message directly to prospective customers for a specific geographic area. It is a cost-effective marketing technique that helps to send clear, relevant and compelling marketing messages to prospective buyers and keep them informed about new products, services, relevant updates or special offers.
So, to promote your local business with email marketing, begin with creating a local email list.
Building a local email list
There are two ways of building a local email list, online and offline. Having a local email list helps you implement the right email marketing strategy.
- Categorize your existing contacts. A business will already have an existing list of potential buyers. Segment this list into smaller groups on the basis of locations using a tool, or you can do this manually.
- Check your website. You can get a list of customers from your website pop- up or sign up forms. You can also get a customer list from landing pages and chatbots. Newsletters and email subscriptions for your blog is another effective way to get contact details and start your email marketing strategy.
- Promote subscription. Apart from online subscription, a face-to-face subscription in your store or office is a way of encouraging potential customers to know more about your business. Make sure to use a mobile or tablet to collect information about your customers instead of asking the customers to write down their information as it may not be very legible.
- Host or attend local events. Identify the events that your potential customers attend or host events to get more subscribers and gain new prospects. Collect their details on an electronic device or hand out your business cards, or provide short URLs that mention your website.
- Collaborate with other local businesses. Businesses, especially small businesses, should collaborate with other local businesses. For example, if you own a garment shop, you can collaborate with a nearby jewelry shop to sell some of your garment pieces that go with the jewelry. This can get direct customers to your store and it is a great way to get an email list of prospective buyers.
Local email marketing strategies
Once you have your email list ready, you can implement local email strategies:
- Give new offers to promote your products or services. If you have a new product or service, then promote it through email. Give new offers or vouchers to entice your customers. Promotional emails are a great way of advertising your products or services. Consider that your garment shop is introducing garments for men, you can send out emails to potential customers along with discount coupons that are valid for a certain period. Here is an example from the Banana Republic that invites customers to open the email.
The Banana Republic provides you a place to start browsing from by curating some of their products in this promotional email, in case these winter clothes catch your eye. These types of emails help build a friendly conversation with your customers and also make the recipients want to open the email.
- Add a personal touch. Adding a personal touch to the emails provides 6 times higher transaction rates than generic emails. Personalized emails include specific details that attract prospective buyers. Let us consider a case study – Yard & Corp, a Manchester-based restaurant that added a personal touch to their local email marketing campaign by offering recipients free drinks in exchange for donations to the local food bank. This caught the attention of several customers and also created a sense of urgency that made customers donate to the food bank.
- Get feedback and reviews from your customers. To retain your customers and attract new ones, it is important to know your customers’ wants and preferences. Ask for feedback and reviews from your customers to know how they feel about your business. You can send emails to your customers after your service like “How did we do today” and ask them to score on a 1 to 5 scale. This will give you a brief idea about what they want, and areas that need to be improved. According to a study, 91 percent of customers read online reviews and 84 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. For example, below is a review template from Adidas that requests customers to review their recent purchases.
- Write a stunning subject line. Make sure to use catchy subject lines for your customers like “Exciting offers for Newbies” to capture their attention. Using terms like free and discounts in the subject line can have a higher open rate. Huge companies send out mass email copy whereas a local company marketing team can use local language to communicate with customers on a deeper level. Emails with personalized subject lines generate 50 percent higher open rates. For example, Living Social Deals sent personalized emails featuring art-related offers to a customer who bought Paint Nite and pottery deals in the past.
- Help customers to subscribe easily. To engage your customers and make them more inclined to sign up for your newsletter, make the subscription process simple. To make it easier, landing pages or forms should have only three elements – call to action, shareability and a simple form. Similarly, make unsubscribing also easy with just a few clicks and it decreases your spam complaint rates. Subscription options should be clearly labeled on a web page and it should have two main fields, name, and email id. For example, the following is the sign up for the National Geographic Newsletter. They offer newsletters on various topics based on the interest of the readers.
- Categorize your audience. To personalize emails and improve customer experience, you can segment your email list into smaller groups based on characteristics like age or hobbies. This segmentation helps to make better decisions and gather more details about customers’ interests. Let us consider another case study – when Sony PlayStation wanted to sell a new game console model to their new as well as existing users, they used an email marketing campaign. The company segmented its customers to target customers with different needs and localization to provide offers that they could redeem either via in-store coupons or Amazon vouchers. For each euro spent on the campaign, Sony earned 580 euros, and more than 9,000 people purchased the new console.
Other tips for effective local email marketing
- Analyze your data and test your emails. Use split testing or A/B testing to test multiple versions of the same email to know which one works better and the one that performs well can be sent to your customers. Make sure to analyze your data like click-through-rate, unsubscribe rates, open rates, etc. to optimize your local email marketing campaign.
- Emails should be mobile optimized. Today, most consumers have smartphones – 49% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. So, make sure that your emails can be opened on mobile phones. This will help your customers enjoy a better user experience and enable you to improve relationships.
- Measure response. Consider email analytics to measure open rates and clicks. Find out which emails perform best, and then use those strategies for future campaigns.
What not to do in local email marketing
Just as it is important to know what strategies should be used, it is also important to know what not to do in local email marketing:
- Sending out donotreply [at] yourdomain.com. Sending these emails is highly unwelcoming. These types of emails have a very low open rate. So emails should be sent from the recognizable name of the company.
- Complicating your email. Do not make your emails complicated with many topics. Keep it clear with one message and one call to action. Sending out an email with several messages can confuse the recipients, making them less likely to buy the product.
- Ignoring mobile optimization. If your email is not mobile optimized, then many people will not be able to read it and your company will be losing out on many potential customers.
- “One size fits all” approach. Make sure to tailor your email content based on what your customers want.
All the above-mentioned allows your customers to get your emails seen in the right location at the right time.
Local email marketing is an affordable and effective tool for local businesses to improve their sales.
Follow the above strategies to develop a strong local email marketing campaign that appeals to your target audience and also helps boost your business.