The other day my radio show co-host, Paul Finley, mentioned that he had received an email from his dentist. The point of the email was to let Paul know that his office would be closed for a week and included instructions on what to do in case of a dental emergency.
Obviously Paul’s dentist reads my column because I’ve been preaching about using email to keep in touch with customers for years. OK, maybe he doesn’t read my column and is just a brilliant guy in his own right. Either way, the point is clear: using email – no matter what type of business you’re in – is an excellent way to keep the lines of communication buzzing between you and those folks who keep you in business.
You’ll notice that I didn’t say to keep the lines of communication “open.” I said to keep the lines of communication “buzzing,” as in active, as in constantly communicating messages that will entice them back into your business.
The difference is huge. “Open” simply means that you’re there if and when your customers happen to think about dentist email list free you. “Buzzing” means that you proactively do things to keep your business in the forefront of your customer’s mind. Instead of waiting for them to come in only when they need something, you send emails that give them reasons to come in as soon as possible. You don’t wait for Mohammed to come to the mountain; you send the mountain to Mohammed via email.
It’s called “email marketing” and every business – including yours – should be doing it. Don’t confuse email marketing with spamming. The emails you send your customers are never unsolicited or intrusive. You get their permission to send them occasional emails that are of benefit to them. And by benefiting them you increase your business and solidify your relationship with the customer.
Ideally you should collect email addresses from everyone who walks through your door, whether they buy something or not. Offer them the opportunity to sign up for your free email newsletter or announcement list and offer them an incentive to do so, maybe a $10 discount off their first purchase if they sign up today. The allure of saving $10 not only entices them to give you their email address, but to also make that first purchase while they are there to save the $10. See how that works? You got them added to your email list and they made an immediate purchase. You can now use email marketing techniques to turn them from a one time customer into a repeat customer.
Remember the number one rule of sales: it’s easier to sell to current customers than to sell to new customers. The first sale is always the hardest. You should concentrate on building a legion of repeat customers and email marketing can help you do that.
Email should be a part of every business’s marketing strategy. If you own a hair or nail salon you could email customers on slow days and offer a special discount if they come in by a certain time. If you own a clothing store you could email your customers every time a new clothing line comes in or if you’re having a sale. If you’re in the furniture business can email your customers about excess inventory and offer them a discount if they come in by a certain date.
Email marketing works for professional service providers, as well. Accountants can email their clients with special bulletins about changes in the tax law or to remind them when it’s time to file forms. Stockbrokers can email clients about changes in the stock market or to tell about a hot new IPO that’s on the horizon.
Doctors and dentists can use email marketing to notify patients that it’s time for their annual checkup, to remind them of impending appointments, to inform them of new office hours, or to let them know about new services. Or perhaps you’re in practice building mode and you want to offer a referral bonus for current patients who refer their friends and family to you.