A while back on Facebook I asked my friends and family what they'd ask a web designer if they could ask one anything. My father-in-law, who owns a menswear store in Belleville, Ontario, asked:
How do I reach the most people? Also, I need something to keep them coming back to the site. Can I identify them, to send them promos for them only?
This is a really great question, and something pretty much all business owners should be looking at.
Your website is a great place to put all kinds of information. To get people to keep coming back to your site, you need two things:
- A way to remind them your business exists and
- Awesome content that makes them eager to return to your site.
The awesome content part I covered a bit in last week's post about content marketing. But in short, you need to be creating content, whether it is in blog posts, videos, podcasts, or whatever else you can think of, that people will be excited to read. In my father-in-law's case, this could be as simple as having a weekly specials or sales page that only folks on his website will be able to take advantage of. Another idea would be a blog with weekly updates on upcoming style trends or new lines that are being brought into the store for the upcoming seasons. In short, think about what your clients would be interested in and create content based on that.
But reminding them you exist?
There are a few routes you could take with this, and today I'm going to cover my favourite: mailing lists.
Having a mailing list is a really great way to reach people who are interested in your products or services. The people on your mailing list should either have opted in via a form you put on your website or social media, or be existing customers or clients that are ok with receiving emails from you. Returning to the menswear example, the opt-in form could be a popup on his website, or placed on his front page, letting people know to sign up for email updates so they're first in line for upcoming sales and specials. He could also ask people for their email addresses when they buy anything in the store, offering to send them information about special sales and events in the future.
This mailing list is therefore full of people who are already familiar with you and are interested in what you have to offer. They wouldn't have signed up for your list if they weren't at least kind of interested, right?
Once you've got your list of folks, you'll want to do a couple of things:
First, make sure you send them the first email as soon as possible. You don't want them to forget about why they signed up to receive your emails, right? If they open the email and go 'how did they get my email address? Who is this?' then you haven't done your job.
Second, you want to have content that is useful to them and engages them. Treat these people like VIPs - because they are VIPs for your business! Give them special offers that are exclusive for mailing list subscribers.
As well, when writing to your email list, make sure you keep it relatively short and to the point. That said, don't be afraid to show a little personality! Most people are way more likely to read an email with interesting stories or content written in a fun way than they are something that sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher wrote it.
One final tip before I close: there are a lot of different email marketing programs out there, but my favourite is Mailchimp. It's free (up to a certain number of sends and subscribers, you can check out details on their website), easy to use, and has some great documentation written to get your email newsletters going quickly and easily.
If you start using a mailing list, let me know how it goes! I'd love to hear about it.