Even though you run a petty provision store or a small restaurant where people stop by for breakfast here in Nigeria, do you know that there are so many ways you can grow your small business using email? The best news is that you can do this even without a web site. According to Nigerian Communication Commissions, NCC, the number of internet users in Nigeria has hit 97.21million, and you can bet that over half of that number owns an email account. It is no more news that the world has become a global village just like the Canadian professor; Marshal McLuhan predicted some sixty years back.
Today, it would be malodorous for one to mention distance as a barrier to communication. So what does this mean to us? The emergence of the Internet and World Wide Web has been a great boost to communication; businesses and entrepreneurs here in Nigeria, have been able to tap into its many benefits. This article would be focusing on how you can use email to grow your business even without a website. The good thing about email marketing is that you do not necessarily need own a website to benefit from it and it works even for small businesses. Let’s look at some ways you give your business a boost using email.
1. Get Started: You can’t send emails to customers when you do not have their email address right? Getting their email address is usually the first step, and this could prove a little difficult if you do not know how to go about it. Most people are always reluctant to give out their email address especially to business for fear of spam or to avoid being bugged with excess or unnecessary mails. So how do you get your customer’s email? Ask them. Let’s say you run a small restaurant were people come in to eat, you can leave a form at every table for customers to fill in their name and email address, telling them that it would help you keep them informed on when you’ll be preparing a special delicacy or when you’d be giving out a special offer and other important issues. Note that since our country is still developing, some people are not enlightened, and as such not all customers may have an email address or be willing to give it out. Encourage those who do not have an email to try and open one. You can even give a free offer to open email for those who do not have one. Most importantly, make sure you get the consent of your customer before sending them mails and provide them with option to opt out.
2. Send Only Important and Useful Mails: You would not want to starts sending your customers mails on irrelevant subject as this would turn them off right? So to gain your customers’ trust, goodwill and make them desire more of your mails, you need to send them mails on relevant issues, especially those related to your business. You wouldn’t be running a restaurant for example and sending your costumers mail of tips on how to fix their car. That would be absurd and non sequitur. But instead you would want to send mails on recipe for their favorite dish, a link to a local delicacy blog, a special offer or promo etc. That way your customers would not consider your mails as junk or want to stop receiving them and your restaurant would always stay top on their mind when considering where to have a good food. You can also send them information on a new product you sell. In our example it would be information about a new dish you prepared or you may want them to know that you now also sell snacks.
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3. Craft Compelling Emails: When a person goes on the Internet, there are so many things competing for his or her attention. On his email, there are also loads of other mails he needs to attend to. Your email should be such that make one stop to read. So how do you craft an email that magnets your customers and make them want to read it. First on the “from” field, make sure you use your business name and an email address that clearly identifies your business. Your customers may not know your name but will surely know your business name. Plus, people are likely to open an email from someone they recognize or trust. Also try to address the recipient personally. For example “Mr. John I think you will like this meal.”
Make sure to keep your keep your mails as short as possible. Your costumers have other things doing and won’t spend the whole time reading your mail alone.
Finally make sure your content as engaging and persuasive as possible and use the right tone for the audience.
4. Encourage Feedback: You want to know what your costumers’ opinions are about your product or services or what product they may desire from your business. This can be achieved if your mails encourage feedback. Let’s say for example you own a provision shop, you may send a form to your customers to fill out what new brand of a particular product, such as milk, they would love you to offer. You can also get their opinion on what changes they wish you may effect in your shop and ask them the frequency which they wish to be receiving your mails; whether weekly bi-weekly or monthly.
5. Send Mails Only At Appropriate Times: Also, you should send emails during hours of the day when your customers are likely to open them. In deciding this you need to consider the category of your customers. Are your customers students or business people? Answering this question will help you determine when best to send mails For example, business people are likely to open their mails in the evening when they are about to go to bed .
6. Avoid Sending Emails That Trigger Spam Filters: Some words are known to trigger the spam filters in email. What this means is that if you use some words in your emails it is likely that the spam filter embedded in the email application your customer is using will send the mail directly to the spam box and your costumers will not read them. So what do you do? Avoid using them. Words such as “free,” “percent off,” “reminders,” and “specials,” as well as currency symbols such as Dollar ($), Naira (N) and exclamation points are known to trigger the spam filters so it’s better to avoid them when composing emails.