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Repeat and Referral Business: How Email Marketing Benefits Your Small Business

15 Sep 2014

Whether you’re a bookstore, a nonprofit arts organization, a wine consultant, or an accountant, everyone needs to maintain a stream of repeat and referral business referrals. It all hinges on the relationships you develop and those grow through regular communication. When you create an ongoing dialogue, it builds trust and they become comfort doing business with you. They also look forward to hearing from you, which keeps you top of mind! This engagement can lead to more loyalty, more money spent on your products and services, more frequent donations, and more potential referrals. The easiest, most effective way to build these relationships is through email marketing. And that’s why it’s so important for small businesses to continuously grow their email contact lists.

Why growing your list matters

You already have an audience for your business. People attend your events or buy when you hold a sale or introduce a new product. And when you start work each morning, you know you won’t be spending the day alone. Your phone rings, your website gets traffic, and over time your business grows.

Building relationships with these customers will accelerate business growth by driving action around the things you’re already doing. But if you’re not staying connected with them you when they’re away from your business, then you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity.

Now that you understand the value of your list, it’s easy see the importance of continuing to grow it. These are your VIPs because you have permission to communicate with them. They will help you grow by becoming repeat customers and spreading the word about your business.

Continuing to actively grow your contact list helps with the ebb and flow of people, as some will eventually unsubscribe.  You need to keep an ongoing cycle of customers, clients, and prospects opting in to receive information from you. The importance of staying in touch with this list is so you will be there when they need you, increasing your chances to grow your business from the inbox and beyond.

Doing more with your contacts

Once you have a list of contacts, and the continuous flow, it’s vital that you spend time thinking about how you communicate with your audience online. You must deliver value, as they define it.

Rather than standing in front of an audience with a megaphone trying to promote the things you think are most important, you have to remember that what they want to know is, “What’s in it for me?” The more you can answer that question, the more engaging your communications become. And you don’t have to leave this to chance!

Watch the statistics after you send your email including who opened it and what links they clicked! You can track how your contacts interact with your emails and learn more about who these people are, what problems they’re facing, and how you can better position your business to address their needs. From there, you can make smarter decisions about what content to provide and which contacts to provide it to.

A simple strategy for list growth

Growing your list really breaks down to getting permission to add someone every chance you get! In other words, cover your touch points and remember to ask. Your touch points are all of the places that you interact with people—online and in person! You want to make it easy for people to join your list at each touch point so you should have a code on your website, the app on your Facebook page, text to join activated, and maybe even a QR code on your business card or flyers. And lastly, ask them when you are out networking! Eye-to-eye contact along with a hand-shake can go a very long way in starting a relationship!

Make asking people to share their email address part of your regular conversation. Most of the people who walk through your door, call your business, or connect with you on sites like Facebook or Twitter will be happy to hear more about your business—all you need to do is ask!

To improve on the experience, provide an additional incentive for signing up and be sure to tell them what they are opting into! How often do you send your email and what type of content can they expect to receive. Create the anticipation and they will be looking for it in their inboxes!

With this simple approach, you’ll be on your way to growing your contact list, engaging with new people and opening your business up to new opportunities for repeat and referral business!

By Ellen Williams, Regional Development Director, Constant Contact