20 August 2015
E-mail marketing is an effective promotional tool that can be used for a number of reasons including keeping your customers educated about how your garden centre products and services can help them.
1. Start with clearly defined goals
A good e-mail marketing campaign must begin with clearly defined goals and objectives. This will allow for the creation of better campaigns and it makes it easier to assess their effectiveness. Your goal may be to attract new customers, keep existing ones, educate them about discounts and specials or just to keep them informed as to the happenings of your garden centre. An effective, clearly defined e-mail marketing campaign can be a significant contributor to your sales.
2. Building your contact list is key
Having a solid contact list is of paramount importance to creating a successful e-mail marketing campaign. A contact list can be built organically, it can be purchased or it can be a combination of the two. Once you have the contact list established you can start to build a relationship with your prospects, customers and partners. For best results you should offer them something of value to them, for example a free eBook or discounts.
3. Subject lines should be attractive
The difference between whether a customer opens your e-mail or deletes it instantly often comes down to the attractiveness of the subject line. For a campaign to be most effective the subject line needs to be engaging and relevant to your target customers. They must also be contextual and allow each person in the target customer base to connect on a personal level. For example:
“Week 41 offers & coupons”
Will not attract much attention. “Do you want to save on your new plants this week?” is probably a better subject for your newsletter.
4. Avoid using ‘noreply@’ e-mail addresses
It is important that prospects and customers be able to contact you if they should desire to do so. E-mail campaigns from ‘noreply@’ e-mail addresses take away a valuable opportunity for customers to communicate with you and can leave them feeling alienated. They may feel that you do not value their views and opinions. Also, if a customer has to search for a way to contact you, you risk the very real possibility that they are unlikely to put in the effort required to do so and they may just forget about you altogether. Your campaign e-mail should ideally provide several different ways for customers to interact with your garden centre.
5. Stay out of the junk mail folder
This may be easier said than done but it is well worth it for you to make every effort to keep your marketing e-mails out of your customer’s junk mail folder. About 50% of them will not get your message if it is received as spam. Asking them to add you to their ‘safe senders’ list can avoid this happening. The system of Garden Connect is designed to put your e-mail on top of the inbox of recipients – and not in their junk e-mail.
6. The length of your newsletter is important
When you are sending out an e-mail marketing newsletter it is important to consider its length and also at what time of day you should send it out. If your e-mails are too long customers may not be interested in reading them and if you send them at the wrong time of day they can be easily overlooked or marked as spam. Sending newsletters of an appropriate length and at the right time of day can easily lead to an increase in sales as a result of more of your e-mails being opened and read. For you as a garden centre it would be a good idea to send an e-mail before the weekly shopping starts: Thursday till Sunday.
7. Content is king
The content in your e-mail campaign should be engaging and offer value to your prospects and customers. Doing research to find out what appeals most to your customers and what their interests are will go a long way in helping you create a campaign that is effective. You can find out what works best by testing different content in your campaigns. Any communications that you send should demonstrate a personalised approach and should leave them feeling like they gained something from the experience. Ideally the content of your e-mails should always end with a ‘call to action’ – a statement or question that will inspire them to act.
8. Abide by the rules of the Data Protection Act
It is essential that you be in compliance with the Data Protection Act. You can send out an e-mail to the persons on your contact list asking them for permission to communicate with them. Garden Connect highly recommends that if you should send out such an e-mail, you must include an incentive that will encourage them to agree to receive regular communications from you. Customers on your contact list should also have the option to unsubscribe from your list at any time. If you can allow them to express why they are choosing to unsubscribe, you may find that the reason is an issue that can be resolved. This could potentially mean saving a customer and building a stronger relationship. If a customer is set on unsubscribing, you should grant their request or risk being penalised for spamming them.
9. Use a multi-channel strategy
While e-mail marketing can be a very effective marketing tool, it should not be the only tool in your box. Using a multi-channel approach is best. Social media marketing is one other very powerful marketing tool that you can use in conjunction with e-mail marketing. When creating your e-mail marketing campaign be sure to include links to any active social media accounts that your garden centre has. This will essentially allow you continue conversations with your customers and build stronger relationships with them.
Following these tips can help you to significantly increase the effectiveness of your e-mail marketing campaign. Now that you have this knowledge, which of these tips can you implement today to improve the marketing efforts of you garden centre?