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Francis Santos

Using Email Marketing to Reach Your Local Businesses

May 03 2012, 04:04 PM by

Email marketing is often looked at as old school in today’s socially-charged internet environment, yet even the powerhouses of the social web realize email is essential to their survival.

Whether it is Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, each social media site requires the user to have an email account to gain access to the network. From online banking accounts to web hosting, the same goes for just about any popular internet service that comes to mind. But as a marketing tool, email’s value extends far beyond the fact that it is a widely used medium, though that is big part of what makes it so powerful.
Cross-Platform Communications
Technological innovation has enhanced email indirectly by making it more mobile than ever. Consumers and professionals currently have the luxury to save a newsletter on their desktop, scan it on their smartphone and then finally cozy up close and personal with it on their tablet. The mobility of email gives marketers the opportunity to improve in all key areas: opens, clicks and even conversions.
Personal, and Primed for Digital
Email marketing has been a force from day one, but wields even more power today thanks to its ability to integrate seamlessly with the digital channel. For example, when coupled with social media, it gives you the opportunity to converse in an environment that is more social and personal than any wall or stream could ever be - the inbox. It’s a direct line of communication, one that can drive businesses straight to more opportunities, traffic and sales.
Local-Friendly
Any brand with a web presence can benefit from email marketing. But its use is not limited solely to the web-based operations. In fact, local businesses can make this tool work for them both on and offline. Here are some examples:

List Building - At the most basic level, email marketing can be extremely effective at helping local businesses build a list of prospects and customers. If you have a store or office establishment out in the real world, capturing the contact details of your visitors is as simple as keeping signup forms at the cash register or desk. (A shameless plug for Benchmark’s free Easy List App fits here quite nicely.) With their name and email address handy, you can get those visitors to opt-in to your list and start engaging them with your marketing content.

In-Store Traffic - There are signs indicating a recovery, but let’s be honest, the economy is still in rough shape. Many brands are struggling to get people in the doors, let alone generate the sales needed to survive. More local businesses are turning to email marketing to compel people to come out of the house and spend. Exclusive sales offers, discount coupons or just regular alerts that new, useful products are in stock could be all it takes to boost in-store activity - it works doubly well for local businesses because they can actually stop by with hopefully little difficulty.

Better Customer Service - The quality of customer service provided can make or break a business. You could have the most valuable, best performing products or solutions in your market, but if your customer service sucks, your reputation is going to suffer. Email marketing is giving local businesses the opportunity to provide their customers with the best possible service. Even after store hours, being able to respond quickly to questions and concerns can pay off tenfold when it comes to establishing loyalty and generating repeat business.

Businesses that limit their approach to passing out a few business cards and throwing up a static web page are missing out on golden opportunities. Whether local or national, email marketing can enable companies to see the type of growth and prosperity that cannot be enjoyed with traditional methods alone.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Lists & Signup Forms, Social Media, Online Branding

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