How to Build an Email List for an Offline Business

How to Build an Email List for an Offline Business

If you own a brick and mortar store or do business mostly offline (insurance agent, mortgage broker, dentist, etc.) you may think that you can’t build an email list or simply don’t need to build an email list…after all, you do business offline, so what’s the point of having a list?

Well, first of all, having a list of people with whom you have built a relationship is an asset to your business that has real value. It’s a place that you can go to time and again to generate new leads and more sales. I’ll give you a real world example of this…

We have a client based in Boise that has 4 pawn shop locations throughout the Treasure Valley. Since they became a client more than 2 years ago we have been steadily growing their email database from under 500 records to over 7,000. (For all you online businesses these numbers may seem small, but keep in mind that acquiring this information takes a lot more than just sending them to a landing page for them to put in their email address.)

We have done this in a variety of ways, but the most effective - and simplest - way is through a short form we created and have placed near all checkouts that a customer can fill out and give back to the sales rep.

Once a week we get these forms mailed to us from each store and we enter them into their CRM system. After that each record is tagged and put in our general email database. This person will now receive a monthly newsletter, special deals, and other relevant communications. We probably mail this list 2-3 times per month on average and try to deliver a lot of value in each email.

The real magic in this approach, however, is how it allows us to leverage our client’s budget and effectively compete with big box stores. Take last Black Friday for example.

Competing head-to-head with big box stores like Best Buy and Target on Black Friday is futile. A small, local retailer has no chance against those big budgets and resources. However, if you have taken the time to build and cultivate a responsive email list of prospects and customers then you can level the playing field drastically. With our pawn store client, we used the email list we had been building to leverage their ad dollars and lean on the existing relationship we had developed with these prospects and customers.

The strategy was to send them a series of targeted emails that provided special access, discounts, and other premiums available at the four store locations. Because of confidentiality concerns, I can’t get too deep into specifics, but let’s just say that the results were nothing short of spectacular…

That’s a line out the door for Black Friday! Keep in mind that this isn’t a big box chain with a multi-million dollar ad budget. This is a local, family-owned store that used a relatively small email list to drive massive traffic to its store on one of the busiest and most competitive shopping days of the year.

This is what the power of tapping an email list can do for you. It doesn’t matter what type of business that you have…creating and building a relationship with a targeted list of prospects and customers will pay dividends to your company many times over.

The Black Friday is just one campaign that you can use to leverage a list. There are literally hundreds of ways to make a list work for you and you are only limited by your own creativity and imagination.

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