Email is king — grab emails while you can

You might think that the popularity of email is heading out the door, but the truth is that it is more important now than ever. A small business’s email list is one of their most prized marketing assets. While not all email recipients will open your emails (typically, 15–30%), you have the opportunity to email them over and over again with any updates, offers, and promotions.

According to a 2015 survey of global small business owners by Redshift research, the number one way that website-owning small businesses communicated with their customers was through email. Specifically, 45% communicate by email versus only 13% by social media.

Here are a few tips to building your email lists:

#1: Get your followers off of your Facebook Page

Your Facebook Page posts will only reach under 10% of your followers. Focus on getting their email addresses through either asking them to subscribe to a mailing list you have running, trading a coupon or discount in exchange for it, or just through looking through their Facebook profiles to see if they have it listed.

#2: Add a prominent way to enable your website visitors to give you their email address

Most website building tools will enable you to add some form of subscribe widget to your site. You can entice users to submit their email address by letting them know that they’ll get discounts and deals through the emails you send as a result. There are also a few in-your-face type tricks to increase the chance of collecting emails. If you’ve been to a site and had the whole screen turn into a giant email sign-up form (also called a “lightbox”), you’ll know what I mean. This may be a trade-off between getting the email vs annoying your customers, so I would use this cautiously.

#3: Offer your existing customers an incentive to refer their friends (by sharing their email addresses)

This one is a nice way to get a very qualified set of additional people to add to your email lists. Your customers are likely to refer their friends who might be a good fit for the product or service you’re offering; they’re also more likely to open up the emails you send over if you reference the referring friend. To incentivize your customers to do this, offer them a discount or small extra the next time they come into your store.

Once you have these email lists, make sure to invest in an email marketing tool to help manage all the notices you send out. Most tools will also help keep you out of the junk bin as well. Email away!