Using Email Marketing to Promote Your Shop
inFebruary 13, 2012 - 8:22am
A recent conversation thread on TheVintageVillage.com posted by fellow dealer, Helen Gilbert from Catisfaction on Ruby Lane, asked “Do you add customers to a mailing list?” Great topic! Concerns about negative feedback from customers and questions about legal and spam guidelines offset the allure of free and easy promotion for a shop. One of the most important things I’ve learned about running a small on-line business is that you want to keep your customers happy and coming back. E-mail marketing is one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with your past customers! You can share news about your shop and your recent finds, give a tip on vintage jewelry care or a short history of a designer, offer a customer-only special or just let them know about your current sale—in other words, keep your shop fresh in their mind and entice them to come back and shop some more.
I have been keeping email addresses of my customers since my shop opened in February, 2011 and sending out a monthly E-mail. Nothing fancy, just letting them know about my current month’s sale promotion and providing links to subscribe to my shop on Ruby Lane, my Facebook and Twitter links, and a link to my other shop on Ruby Plaza. I always include a note at the bottom that says they are receiving the E-mail because they are a past customer of my shop and letting them know they can unsubscribe. Also important is always using the Blind Copy (BCC:) feature to keep the E-mail addresses private. I’ve had success with this approach and it has resulted in several returning customers. Still, I wanted to jazz it up, but I have no knowledge of how to create colorful graphics or cool templates.
As a result of the thread noted above, I started using a free service for creating E-mail marketing campaigns on MailChimp.com. Not only do they provide templates for creating your own E-mails, but there is a wealth of information about marketing do’s and don’ts, how-to guides, information on the federal CAN-SPAM Act and loads of reports about your E-mail campaign. You must be familiar with the federal law governing E-mail marketing known as the CAN-SPAM Act and MailChimp.com makes sure your E-mail campaign has all the required information.
As a quick summary, your customers should be asked to opt-in to your E-mail address list (people don’t like to get E-mail they didn’t ask for, that’s considered ‘spam’ and you definitely don’t want to be a spammer). Your E-mail should not contain false claims or overly exaggerated advertising. You must include an ‘unsubscribe’ option and your business address must be included in the email.
I sent my first MailChimp.com E-mail marketing campaign at the beginning of January, 2012. I am getting ready for my February campaign. The quality and quantity of reporting from MailChimp.com is impressive and free (did I mention that?). Stay tuned for my next article on the success of my E-mail marketing campaigns and the great information provided by MailChimp.com.