Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to build customer loyalty. In fact, most small restaurants and bakeries spend about 15% of their marketing budgets on just email!
The real trick to email, though, is learning to use it effectively so you can get the best results for your investment and time. You may think that you should start by getting a list of people to email, but that’s not the case. You need to have your plan, and systems, in place to allow you to send mail effectively before getting a list.
The first step is to choose your email software
There are ton of options out there… including Constant Contact, Aweber, and many others. My personal favorite though is MailChimp. It’s free up to 2,000 subscribers, it’s pretty easy to learn to use, and it gives you some pretty decent analytics to help you figure out if your emails are working effectively.
MailChimp will also integrate with several other platforms to make it easier for you to build your email list. Just a few of the most common are: WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, Squarespace, and Magento. You can view the full list of integrations at: https://connect.mailchimp.com/collections
Set up your automated emails ahead of time
Once you have your account created, you can set up your automated “Thank you for subscribing” emails that will be sent when someone signs up to receive your emails.
Make sure to include:
- Your logo and contact information
- Consider adding a value proposition – like a coupon for $5/off their next purchase
- Remind them why they subscribed in the first place – what are they going to get by being a subscriber? This could include notices of specials, coupons, etc.
Now you can build your list…
Now that you have everything in place, it’s time to start building your email list.
The biggest thing that I want to stress here is that you should never buy a list of email addresses! The best contacts will be the ones that you generate that are actual customers of your bakery. Contacting people that haven’t gotten permission to contact doesn’t help you grow, and you could be violating the Federal Can-Spam act.
There are several ways to build this list:
- Put a subscription form on your website. MailChimp makes it easy to do this with their plugin integrations, and they have an embed code you can copy/paste in if you don’t have a site that it can integrate with directly.
- Share your opt-in form on your social media channels – like Facebook or Twitter.
- Don’t be afraid to trade something in exchange for signing up – like a coupon.
- Place a sign-up box in your store for people to subscribe. Have them write down their name and email address and place the paper in the box.
- Run contests with a sign-up box. Like “Enter for a chance to win a dozen cupcakes.” On the sign up form just include a simple check box for “I would like subscribe to your blog to get coupons, specials and more!”