Posted by FetchRev ● 7/22/18 6:23 PM

Email Marketing Guide to Fill Your Local Business During Slow Seasons

In the busy lifestyle of a local business owner, marketing can feel like just another thing to check off your list. Very often, it can feel like you are just going through the motions to keep up with all the new trends, holidays, and announcements of your business. Out of all the ways to market, it can seem like email marketing is just another chore on your list.

This guide serves to show you that email marketing is worthwhile! In fact, if you do it right, email can be a major source of revenue and turn the emails sitting in your database into a gold mine! 

You have limited time to consistently run your business so why should you be focusing on email marketing out of all the possible digital media platforms out there? Put very simply, email is still a very powerful medium to have a direct line to potential and existing customers. When you use email the right way, you will reach every one of your customers with highly relevant messages that get them to come back in the door. Even if they don't click immediately, you will still beat your competitors by staying on top of their mind. Finally, you will create a valuable relationship with your customers that gets them to open emails not just because of enticing subject lines, but because they care about your business and what you have to offer them. Email is still king and an amazing opportunity to get your customers back in the door.

1.1 Marketing on Your Terms

In the noisy digital marketing world, trying to market your local business to new and existing customers is difficult. You either end up paying for advertising that doesn't work or create content that only has a chance of being seen. It's a no win situation with very little control over your marketing. Here's where email can put your marketing back on your terms.

Instead of paying Facebook or Google to use their platform to promote your business, you can reach your customers and everyone interested in your business without spending a dime.

By building a list of meaningful contacts, you can have a direct line to everyone who has ever expressed interest in your business, without spending money or time on those that don't.

1.2 Top of Mind Marketing

While we all want to hit a home run with one marketing campaign, consistency is more important than any quick win. Getting someone to click immediately on an offer and put money down is something we at FetchRev always encourage. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, but you don't have to worry! Just by consistently sending relevant and useful emails, you have won a place at the top of your customer's mind.

The next time that same customer is deciding on whether or not to go to your business or your competitor, they will choose the one most relevant and well known to them. Don't let your competition takes that spot and win more business with consistency.

1.3 Creating a Relationship With Your Customers

While attractive subject lines will make new subscribers open the first couple emails you send out, creating a strong relationship with your customers will keep them interested. Email marketing provides a great opportunity to build a relationship with your potential customers and an email list that trusts you.

Instead of annoying email subscribers with too many emails like other businesses, you can create highly relevant content using grouping, holidays, and birthdays to give your customers opportunities to come back to your business.

1.4 Right Message, Right Person, Right Time

The days of sending the same email blast out to every single person on an email list are over. Marketing is no longer about making noise but cutting through it. The only way to do that is through sending the right message to the right person at the right time.

As a business owner, you want to reach your potential and existing customers at the exact time they are about to make a decision. The best way of doing this is casting a consistent and accurate net. For example, you can send multiple emails spread out a month before someone's birthday. You won't always be able to get each customer back, but by sending emails when someone might be making a decision consistently, you can make sure they choose you over a competitor.

2. Building a List Worth Marketing To

For most local businesses, I'm sure email marketing isn't something new. Over multiple years of providing amazing experiences to your customers, I'm sure you have generated a list for people who has come to your website or center. This chapter will show you how you can grow it even faster and make sure every single email on it is worth spending your time and money on.

2.1 The Value of Contacts over Emails

When thinking about the data you will collect on your customers, it is easy to think of these emails as just that. One address of thousands in your database. This is one of the biggest mistakes in email marketing. Instead, you should be thinking of each email in your database as a contact, a direct line to each one of your customers. Each one has different preferences, interests, and even birthdays that you can use to make timely offers!

By treating each contact differently, you will be able to provide the right content to each person and see better results.

The key to email marketing is to build quality over quantity. Rather than trying to build the largest email list, success comes from only keeping the active contacts and getting rid of inactive contacts. These inactive contacts will lower your deliverability and hurt your brand image by sending unwanted emails to people who just don't care.

2.2 Why You Should Never Buy a List

Buying a list can be seen as a quick fix to your email marketing problem, but you need to be cautious. These lists are highly competitive which means that they have been bought by other competition in your city. The more general the list, the more businesses that have been sending them emails all the time.

Very often, these emails are inactive or considered by Google as having a poor reputation. This means is that sending emails to bought lists can make Google discount your website domain when customers search for it or land you in the spam folder, ultimately hurting your business.

2.3 Do You Purge?

Would you rather have a massive email list with only two people who would actually pay for your product or have a smaller list with people who actually opens, engages, and purchases from your emails? I'm sure most people will choose the second one, but that's not how many local businesses treat their email list.

The fact of the matter is that not all emails are as valuable as others.

By purging your list of inactive subscribers, you can increase the open rates, click rates, and even purchases from your email list while making sure you don't have any harmful and inaccurate data. Make sure that your email list isn't hurting your business.

2.4 What to Collect

As a local business owner, you have multiple opportunities to add your customers to your list and collect data that will be critical to building a strong relationship. We will focus on the two that we have seen are gold mines for local businesses.

  • 2.4.1 Emails

    As always when building your list, the most important part is emails. We'll get into how to monetize these; however, the important thing to know is that an email can be worth on average $2/month if used correctly. Take a look at your current email list and ask if you are currently making that much for each address on there. If not, we'll show you how in the next two chapters.

  • 2.4.2 Birthdays

    One of the most underused pieces of data that can boost your business's sales is birthdays. By collecting more birthdays, you can schedule more parties. Parties bring back existing customers, bring in new customers, and can increase the amount of sales for your business outside of just admission.

2.5 How to Collect It

At FetchRev, we pride ourselves on our ability to take normal day to day actions from your customers and turn it into emails and birthdays that you can use in your marketing.

  • 2.5.1 Your Website

    The easiest way to start collecting emails is by using your existing website traffic. While you may have a newsletter set up on your website already, we recommended placing a website popup that offers a buy now or coupon claim to your returning website visitors. This way, you can build an email list and get more customers coming in your door!

website popup for email collection
  • 2.5.2 Point of Sale Kiosks 

    While website traffic is a great source of more data, adding email and birthday collection to your physical location is often an overlooked opportunity. With point of sale kiosks, you can collect emails and birthdays to join a birthday club from all of your customers. This way when a party comes in, you can collect emails and birthdays from not just the parent planning the party, but all of their attendees as well!

  • 2.5.3 Wireless Connection Points 

    Just like the point of sale kiosks, wireless connection points can be a great opportunity to collect the email or birthday information from a customer that is waiting in a lobby and wants to look on their phone. By providing wireless access, you have yet another way to generate emails and your customers will love you for making it easy to connect to the internet.

    Wifi Email Collection
  • 2.5.4 Waivers 

    For many local businesses, customers may be required to sign a waiver to enjoy your attractions and this is a great opportunity to collect their email and add them as a contact in your list. Even if your insurance company does not require your customers to sign a waiver, but it is reasonable that they would for rock climbing or cart racing, you can include a waiver in your on-boarding process to collect more emails and birthdays.

3. Sending the Right Emails to the Right People 

Email marketing is all about sending the right message to the right person at the right time. To do this, we need to know what a person is interested in, the times that people buy, and how that affects the message we send. 

3.1 Content Made for the Customer 

Email blasts are the problem, not email marketing itself. By ignoring the fact that you are messaging contacts of your small business, you can fall into the fatal mistake of sending irrelevant content to your list. Irrelevant content hurts your relationship with your customers and makes them disregard your business the next time they want what you provide.

The only way to protect your business from bad email marketing is by shaping your content to each contact. Creating groups of contacts in your list and taking advantage of opportunities like holidays are a perfect way to keep your email content relevant and your open rates healthy and alive!

3.2 Newsletters 

One of the staples of email marketing is the newsletter. This is an opportunity for your company to see where your email marketing is at, show off your announcements, and see what customers are most interested in.

  • 3.2.1 A Pulse on Your Emails

    Your monthly newsletter can be an opportunity to see how your email marketing is improving or declining from month to month. Rather than having to go through every single email you've sent to all your customers, you can have one newsletter each month that shows you the overall average open rate and click rate for the month.

  • 3.2.2 Blogs and Announcements

    Your newsletter should include the blogs and announcements for your business in the past month. Try to include only the most important content especially if you blog frequently or have a lot of announcements. This can be an event you are hosting, a new feature of your location, or a blog on a topic of interest to your customers. Your newsletter is a great opportunity to show off everything your business is doing for your customers.

  • 3.2.3 Gauging Interest 

    You can also use your newsletter to see what your customers are engaging with. Since a newsletter will be larger than your emails throughout the month, this is an opportunity to include multiple links and see which are most interesting to your subscribers. Depending on which piece of content gets more clicks, you can make sure you make more of that type of content or offer.

3.3 Segmentation Grouping 

One of the quickest ways to start improving your email marketing is by creating small groups within your email list. By segmenting your email list into sublists based on interests, demographics, or behavior, you will start to see how you can make your emails more relevant to that group. By sending more relevant content, your open rates and click rates will increase.

Some of the sublists that we group our emails in are based on behavior. We want to identify who is most active in our customers' email lists to make a purchase or claim a coupon. That way when we send future emails that are promoting an offer, we can be sure that we are sending them to the group of our email list that is most likely to make a purchase.

Depending on your email software, you can segment based on the type of content that they click on. For instance, if you provide multiple services or products in your business as many do, your newsletter may contain multiple links to all of your offerings or content based on it. When one subscriber clicks on that link, you can tag them as interested in that type of content. Later on when you are promoting that product or service, you can be sure that they will be more likely to purchase that specific product than your entire list.

By grouping your email list into sublists, you can create the right message to each subscriber and increase the likelihood that they will engage with your business.

4. When and How to Monetize Your List 

Building a list only matters if you know how it will affect your bottom line. At the end of the day, marketing is all about the return on your investment whether it is time or money. Since we want to start generating revenue from email marketing efforts immediately, it can be tempting to just send email blasts; however, there are better ways to turn your email database into repeat customers.

4.1 Buy Nows 

The most obvious way to monetize your email list is to send promotional offers that can be bought immediately. These are great for loyal customers or getting first time shoppers to make a purchase. The added benefit of using email to send these rather than daily deal sites like Groupon is that your subscribers aren't expecting deals. When someone visits a daily deal site they aren't as much interested in your business as they are interested in the lowest price. Daily deals for some businesses, but often don't help your business grow. By using buy nows in your email marketing instead of a daily deal site, your subscribers will be pleasantly surprised by your promotions and not comparing you with all of your competitors.

Dallas Karting Complex used buy nows With FetchRev to generate $100,000 in revenue in just 4 months! They were able to monetize the huge email list they had acquired from years of stellar service.


4.2 Coupon Claims 

Coupon claims are another opportunity to monetize your email list by providing commitment free coupons that someone can collect and bring to your door. These can be a discount for a birthday child or a discount on any few services.

If your goal is to grow your email list, coupon claims are a great option to lower the barrier for customers to give you their emails in return for a redeemable coupon. Coupon claims are also great for offers in which a buy now doesn't make sense such as complex package offers and offers for a free birthday admission.

4.3 When to Use One or the Other 

When it comes down to making a choice on which type of offer to use, we usually recommend using buy nows. These are direct revenue generators and even if a customer does not come in, you lose nothing.

There are some cases where you may want to use a coupon claim instead. If your goal is to collect more emails, coupon claims can lower the barrier to entry for many people to express their interest without putting money down. Though this may not make money immediately, you can use your email marketing to get potential customers to come in and redeem that coupon.

Coupon claims also work very well for when you are trying to get more parties booked. Rather than telling someone that they can purchase a birthday party at a lower price, you can reward loyal customers with a free admission for their child when they plan their party with you. In this case, you will have more foot traffic from the attendees and collect the emails for the parents and birthdays for the kids while making all your money back through concessions!

Download our free email template pack to start generating more revenue from your existing email list.

4.4 Holiday Campaigns 

When it comes to holidays, it can feel like a ton of work to create a full marketing campaign just for a single day. Well, think about Target closing down for Black Friday and all the money they would lose. This is what happens anytime your local business doesn't send an email campaign for a large holiday. In fact, 20% of online sales for e-commerce retailers come from strategic email campaigns in the holiday season.

Some brief ideas on how to promote your business during the holiday season
  • Rewards customers that buy gift cards with an incentive
  • Keep customers in the know about your holiday hours
  • Create an end of the year sale giving discounts to thank existing customers for their business
  • Host a holiday event at your center and collect RSVPs and emails
  • Partner with a local charity and donate a percentage of a buy now campaign
Christmas offer sent through FetchRev email marketing
Spring seasonal offer sent through FetchRev email marketing

5. Staying Relevant Through Email 

Remember that email marketing is not about overwhelming your customers, but rather being consistent and building a good relationship with them. Therefore, staying relevant is critical to getting results out of your email marketing!

5.1 Click Re-marketing 

Sometimes, your subscribers will be interested in an offer you send out and leave the page before raising their hand. We call this an abandoned click. By using a email marketing platform like ours to track these clicks, you can remind any customers that click, but don't make a purchase or claim a coupon in a follow up email. Since they have already expressed interest the first time, these subscribers are much more likely to go back and follow through on their purchase.

5.2 Birthday Drip Campaigns 

If you were wondering why we value birthdays at the same level as emails, here's the answer. Birthday parties are a great way to gain customer loyalty, bring them back in the door, and get new customers all in one campaign. We recommend you use birthday drip campaigns so that you can reach your customers at the moments that they are deciding how to celebrate their or their child's birthday. We recommend starting a drip a 45, 30, and 15 days before the birthday. This way, you can be on top of your customer's mind when they decide on how they want to celebrate.


5.3 Using Emails on Multiple Channels 

Emails aren't just an opportunity for your inbox. Some ad platforms will allow you to use them in combination with their platform. For instance, you can upload your email list into Facebook and be able to send specific offers to only those people in your area that have expressed interest in your business. Rather than spending money on showing your ads to everyone in your location, you can reward your actual customers with offers that get them back in the door and you won't have to deal with people just looking for a deal.


6. Making Sure You Get In The Inbox 

One of the lesser known secrets of email marketing is deliverability. This is what determines if your emails will end up in the inbox or the spam folder. If your emails are in the spam folder, they aren't making you money. By paying attention to this lesser known, but important feature of email marketing, you can get an edge on your competition who just doesn't care enough to pay attention.

6.1 Your Email Reputation 

Just like how you can have a reputation in your community or online, your email has a reputation too. This determines whether or not your emails go into the spam category of most of your customer's inboxes. The spam filter can be your greatest enemy if you don't meet specific guidelines, but once you have your email marketing setup, it can be a great friend, keeping competitors out of your customer's inboxes and making sure your emails get in.

6.2 Choose Your Words Carefully 

Spam filters are becoming more sophisticated. This means that your amazing offer to get customers back in the door may get flagged for spam even if it is a completely legitimate offer to your email list. Instead of using the word "Free" in your emails, try to use terms such as "Complimentary" or "On Us". Though it may seem like a small change, it can make a big difference in whether your emails end up in the inbox or the spam filter.

The words, "Sale", "Only", and "Special" should also be avoided as they can hurt your reputation and cause your emails to get filtered out, ultimately hurting your email marketing.

6.3 Colored Text 

Though colored text can seem helpful for drawing your customer's eyes to an important piece of text, it can drastically hurt your email marketing. Spam filters will notice your colored text and may send your email straight into the Spam folder. Additionally, colored text can be difficult to read and offputting to your customers. The best bet is to only use black text and let your words do the talking.

6.4 Too Many Exclamation Points 

Exclamation points can be a great tool in marketing to express the impact of a statement. However when it comes to email, you should leave them off your subject lines and body. Spam filters will use these exclamation points to lower your email reputation.

6.5 Put a Caps on All Caps 

Caps lock has no place in your subject lines. It can come off as aggressive and may cause your customers to not open your email at all or report it for spam. Once again, let your subject lines do the talking through well written copy that is inviting and enticing.

6.6 Too Many Images 

Images can be a great way to engage with your customers; however, they should be used with caution. Unless you are sending a long newsletter with tons of text, you want to use images sparingly. When the images overwhelm the text of an email, spam filters will flag your email and stop it from going into the inbox.

7. Measuring Your Email Marketing 

Without tracking your results, it is very difficult to understand whether a specific means of marketing is worth your time, energy, and money. If you've been using email for the past couple of months, you already know the traditional metrics for whether your email is performing. These are open rates, click rates, and then ultimately purchase rates. First, let's describe them briefly, what they mean, and then how to improve them.

7.1 Open Rates 

Definition: the percentage of recipients that open a specific email

The key to improving open rates is your subject lines. The best way to do this is make sure that they are straightforward, eye catching, and do not violate the guidelines in the last chapter. By keeping a balance between urgency and watching out for spam, you can make your subject lines exciting to your subscribers.

Like we discussed earlier in this guide, creating groups for your emails are a great way to increase open rates. By identifying certain contacts by what they are interested in, you can send highly relevant emails with eye catching subject lines to the right people. Once you start creating groups in your email list, you will see that your open rates will increase.

At the end of the day, open rates are important because they increase the amount of people who can potentially click our offers. Without high open rates, our email marketing cannot be all we want it to be.

7.2 Click Rates 

Definition: the percentage of recipients that click to your offer

In order to increase your clickthrough rate, consider providing a meaningful deadline. Whether this is the amount of spots you have or vouchers, the right deadline can increase your click rate. Make sure that you aren't just making it up out of nowhere though. Your customers can see through fake marketing and do not appreciate being lied to.

Make sure your offer is incredibly clear by including a header image that speaks directly to your offer and the audience. Additionally, including the value of the offer in the first headline like 25% off or $50 savings can grab your subscriber's attention so they click through to your website.

7.3 Purchase Rates 

Definition: the percentage out of all the recipients that purchase your offer

When you look at your purchase rate from your email marketing, you may see that it's not where you want it to be. The best way to improve this is by looking at how many people are abandoning your page and really consider why that might be. The two ways to fix this are by improving your landing page or your re-marketing.

We've found that splitting the landing page into a three step process with little commitment like scheduling is the best way to increase purchase rates. Very often, local businesses worry too much about the logistics of getting customers back in. Instead, we've found that offers work best when you get an initial commitment like their email before trying to schedule a time to come in.

There are many opportunities to follow up with customers after they click that initial link in your email. Facebook, Twitter, and Google Adwords all have the ability of re-marketing from email addresses to tracking pixels.

Open rates, click rates, and purchase rates all work together in a great email marketing campaign to show what is working and what is not. If your metrics aren't where you want them to be, don't worry. Experiment with different subject lines and landing pages to see what works best for your local business and these metrics will help you find the best message to get your customers back in the door.

8. Conclusion on Email Marketing 

Email marketing is alive and well. If you have an email list from years of satisfying your customers, you have all you need to start getting them back. You just need help monetizing it.

By using email marketing the right way, you can build a following behind your business that you have full control over. Rather than spending money on ad platforms that don't care about showing your business to people that make purchases or making content that only may be shown to the right people, you can have a direct line to all of your potential and existing customers with a click of a button.

Email marketing has to be done the right way though. It can't be used the way your competitors are using it; just blasting everyone the same way all the time. It requires care in fostering a real relationship with your customers, like you have when they come in. When you consistently and respectfully message your customers, you have the opportunity to be the first business they think of when they are looking for a great experience and will reach them right when they're making a decision.

Luckily, FetchRev can help you improve your email marketing from collection to monetizing your list. We take an active role in making sure that you are able to use email marketing to get your customers back in the door. Schedule a demo with one of our conversion experts to learn how our platform is helping local business owners make on average 5 times return on their investment!

Topics: Marketing, Email Marketing