Build Your Email List Now
It’s okay if you haven’t started your own email list for your business yet. There’s still time to get one going and, in some ways, this may be the best time to start.
We’re still at the beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. Customers are just feeling the first pains of having their favorite social establishments close. They’re curious as to how their favorite places are doing and hoping that they’ll be able to stay in business.
If you’ve done your job and created a place your customers love to visit, they’re out there listening for you. You should take advantage of this situation to build your email list now.
The set up is easy. You need a way to capture their name and email, and that’s it.
I don’t suggest asking for any more than that. You only need a way to keep talking to your people. People don’t like personal invasion techniques. Asking for more than you need will only make them feel distrust towards you.
First, you need an email marketing system.
I like Aweber and have used it for years. They provide the ability to create a landing page for your sign up page if you don’t have a website and it integrates well with most websites.
They offer a good selection of how-to videos and it’s easy to find others for using Aweber on the internet.
For less than 500 subscribers, it’s $19 a month right now. Less, if you pay annually.
Another one that many people seem to like is Constant Contact. Their pricing structure looks similar to Aweber.
I’ve also played around with the email marketing software available with my websites through Bravenet.com. It’s simple and easy to use.
Do a google search for small business email marketing software to see descriptions of other options. Just make sure you understand their pricing structure and that they give good video tutorials on using their software.
Most all are very easy to use and reliable. The video tutorials make them super easy to use for people who aren’t used to them.
If you have a website already, you should be able to just place an email capture box on one of your existing pages. You can also create a landing page on your website, or through the email marketing software.
This would be a good place to write a friendly invite, talking about how you want to stay in touch with your customers through the pandemic. Just imagine sitting across the table from your customer and what you would say.
Go through your pictures you’ve taken for social media over time. Find a favorite one that is clear and shows either you or your business in a clear, uncluttered graphic. This is the picture you want across the top of your email.
I suggest using Canva for your designs. They do have a free version, but once you get the hang of using it, I strongly suggest going to the pro. It’s very affordable and allows you to create so much for your marketing needs.
Canva is very easy to use. Start simple and explore the abilities you have with Canva. The header at the top of this page is actually an email banner created within Canva with two simple elements: the picture and the text. Took me about two minutes to make it and download it.
Text only emails do work, but since you’re like to be in the food and drink industry, visuals help here. Sometimes you’ll use them inside your email articles, but having one familar one for the header of your email is good.
If you’re using this time to create new dishes to bring out at your reopening, perhaps those could make really good header pictures too. While your mind isn’t cluttered with the need to take care of the next customer, get creative. Bring out the camera and shoot a lot of pictures.
Once you have a welcome email written and placed within your email marketing system, set up the sign up block on your website or landing page and share it on your social media. Invite readers to sign up for your email list.
Offer something in return for signing up. A special discount to email subscribers good for when you reopen? Invitation to an email list open house event that’s close to public and only open to them at some future date?
Again, get creative. Do DIFFERENT.
Life and work is changing because of this pandemic. Now you and I will have to think differently too. This challenge opens many opportunities for us.
If the internet gets overloaded in your area, or if you don’t get the reach you want with social media, consider other options.
- Put locally targeted ads through Facebook for your landing page. (easy to keep cost low)
- Put an ad in the local newspaper, or local advisor.
- Create fliers and either mail them or hang them on doors, if local laws permit this.
You can invite in person, just be safe doing so. Maintain a distance of six feet from others.
I like using direct mail the best for something like this. Postcards are the quickest to prepare and least expensive to mail.
Good luck with your email adventure. Feel free to email me with any questions if you have trouble finding the information you need.
Diana Cacy Hawkins
The links to places mentioned in this article:
Canva main page (Note: I get a credit if you sign up with this link.)