Digital Marketing Book, Email Marketing

Small Business Strategies for Collecting Email Addresses

Person checking out at cash register asking for email address

Strategies for Collecting Email Addresses at your small business

This is the most important step in the Collect, Send, Track, Repeat system. Without a growing email list, you have no one to send your promotional messages to! 

There are different ways to collect email addresses. No matter your method, the most important factor is consistency. 

Begin by identifying opportunities to interact with your customers. These opportunities arise in various formats. You interact with customers at the cash register, at store events, at community events, on your website and on social media. To name just a few. 

For each customer touch point, devise a strategy for acquiring email addresses. Often, simply asking a consumer for their email address is enough. Other times, offering a small gift of value may be the trick for receiving an email address.

At the Register

Ask your customers for their email addresses when they checkout. That’s all you have to do! But, it takes time and training to make it a part of your everyday process. 

When your employees checkout customers they don’t ask the customer if they’d like to opt-in to your list. Employees need processes, training and sometimes, incentives. Consider establishing a script, a training session and an employee incentive program.

To start, establish the way that you would like an employee to ask a customer for their email address. This script will be unique depending on the type of business you run and the promotional information you plan to include in your email blasts.

If you ask your employees to start asking for email addresses at the register some will, some won’t. Those who will ask might say something like this, “Would you like to sign up for our email list?”

To which most of your customers will reply, “No, thank you.” That will be the end of the conversation. This is not the most effective interaction at the register. It won’t yield the volume of email addresses you desire. 

Implementing an email address collection talking script

Instead, establish a quality script for your employees. Your employees should communicate the value of signing up for your emails. 

Consider something like this instead, “Thank you for business Mrs. Smith. We actually started sending exclusive discounts to customers who join our email list. May I add your email address to our list so you can receive coupons and special offers for shopping at our store?”

Or, maybe you don’t want to offer too many discounts. No problem, your email blasts will still offer a lot of value. Consider a script like this, “Hi Mrs. Smith, (insert product you sell) should be effective for your (insert purpose of your product). If this product doesn’t meet your expectations for any reason or if you have general questions, please feel free to give us a call. Also, our company sends regular information about (insert your industry) to our customers to help them (insert purpose). May I add your email address to our list so that you receive more expert advice and tips from our store?”

If you own a pet store this script might look like this. “Hi Mrs. Smith, Frontline Flea and Tick formula should be effective for protecting your cat. If this product doesn’t meet your expectations for any reason or if you have general questions, please feel free to give us a call. Also, our company sends regular information about pet products to our customers to help them select the best products to care for their cats. May I add your email address to our list so that you receive more expert advice and tips from our store?”

The final script I am going to share is simple. Place a bowl of candy at the register. Above the bowl of candy, include a sign that says, “Free candy for your email address.” Ask your staff to bring attention to the bowl of candy. Collect email addresses from the customers who opt for the exchange. 

Identify the process that works best for your business then train your staff. Asking for email addresses will not be natural at first. Nothing brand new ever is. Pull the team together before the store opens and create a role-playing opportunity. I encourage you to actually reenact the process of checking out at your store. You should even bring up different products to the register! Train your staff to engage the customers. Help them learn to convey the value of signing up to receive email blasts from your company. 

Create employee incentives for collecting email addresses

Finally, create an incentive. This doesn’t even need to be anything monetary. You know your staff far better than any consultant ever will. You know what motivates them. Reward your employees for collecting email addresses. 

You may choose to make it a competition. The cashier who collects the most email addresses may win a prize. Or you may make it a part of the expectations for your staff. Perhaps you will expect each staff member to get ten new email addresses per week. There are almost infinite ways to incentive your staff. Choose the one that works best for your team. 

Digital Collection

There is one way that I encourage all small business owners to collect email addresses. Collect them on your website using a pop up.

Pop up ads don’t have the bad rap that they used to. Besides, they are effective. If you need evidence of this then look at the top retailers in the country. Walmart, IKEA, Amazon, H&M, and Lowes are all using pop ups on their websites. Most of these pop ups encourage people to sign up or sign in.

They do this because it works.

Remember, many people who visit your website will never return. This means you have one shot to acquire their email address and begin a long term relationship.

The best email service providers offer tools to allow you to insert code into your website to create a pop up. When website visitors sign up they are automatically added to your email list. Easy peasy!

Now, your email pop up won’t work magic. Typically, you need to offer something of value to your customers in exchange for their email address. It is a trade.

Impact of Email Collection Pop Ups

Taylor Rental of Tampa Bay is a rental store in Tampa Bay, Florida. They have a great business with several stores in south Florida. They rent equipment for projects and party supplies for weddings and events. This company is good at marketing. Their latest email collection efforts helped grow their business in two ways. 

In the last year, they’ve increased their email address list by over 70%. The Taylor Rental Tampa team used a simple pop up on the homepage of their website. This pop up offered customers 10% off their next rental. When someone entered their email address a coupon for 10% off gets sent to the consumer’s inbox.

Website visitors signed up like crazy! Their email address list grew all year long. But guess what else happened? People used the coupon!

Over the next year, they saw brand new faces in their stores on a consistent basis. People who may have never come back to the website were coming into the store to make a rental purchase! This was all due to a well executed pop up.

Variations of email pop ups

Not all pop-ups are created equal! There are some different styles and functions. 

You can create a pop up that opens as soon as a visitor gets to your website. Or you can create a pop up that opens once a visitor is about to leave your website. 

Pop ups can be subtle. A subtle pop up might open in the bottom right of the page. 

Or, a pop up might be large. Sometimes pop ups take up the entire window. 

Other times pop-ups ask for email addresses. Sometimes pop-ups invite you to chat. Other times, pop-ups provide information. 

Web developers and digital marketing can use many different strategies. With everything, you choose to put in place, be creative. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for web marketing.

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