On the Internet, a lot of the advice about email marketing is aimed at people who are engaged in e-commerce. A high percentage of those people are selling digital products that can be sold to anyone in the world. And a large percentage of those digital products revolve around Internet marketing.
That means a lot of the strategies that are getting taught simply don’t work well for local small business owners. Fortunately, there are good examples out there which will help you decide how to craft your own successful email marketing campaign without offering discounts or sales every month.
Cross Veterinary Clinic in Grand Blanc, MI provides one such example.
How They Collect Addresses
Cross simply asks for e-mail addresses when you fill out your pet’s registration form.
Now, whether or not this is a good practice for building your e-mail list depends upon how the email is used. If they were sending out a monthly newsletter, for example, it would have been better to use the standard “sign-up form, double opt-in” technique that many people use.
But that’s not what they’re doing, as you’ll soon see.
Personalized to the Nth Degree
You see, I only hear from Cross at very specific times.
- At each pet’s birthday. They address each of my cats by name and remind me that it might be a good time for an annual check-up.
- To confirm appointments.
- To remind me that it’s time for certain immunizations.
There was a link to opt out of receiving emails in every email, but I never saw the need to click it.
Their strategy meant that I only heard from them once or twice a year, but that little bit of contact was enough to keep me engaged with them and loyal to them until I moved too far away to use them any longer.
And, as you can see, I have good memories about them even now.
Takeaways for Your Business
Of course, the Cross Veterinary model may not be perfect for your business. Every business is different, and you have make sure customers are okay with the way that you are using their email address.
But there are still some “universal” takeaways.
- You don’t have to talk to customers every week to make your email marketing successful.
- Being super-personal works.
- Mass e-mails, like monthly newsletters, could make less of an impact than one good personal e-mail.
- You don’t have to give up on automation in order to be personal. I’m sure once the pet’s name and birthday were entered into the computer an auto-responder took care of the rest.
- Don’t hit “send” unless you know the e-mail is really relevant to your customer.
How does your small business use e-mail marketing? Let me know in the comments below!