A year ago (Aug 17, 2010) Wired Magazine published an article detailing how "The Web is Dead." It came with a fancy chart that shows how websites are fading away as peer-to-peer (i.e. social networking) and videos are taking over. Take a look: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/08/ff_webrip/
We just want to mention this because it did create quite a bit of hubbub in the internet marketing world and the data does not correspond to other reputable sources like comScore.com. If you look at that chart it actually shows you that email is also dead; even more dead than the web!
It's not true; email is far from dead.
Email is very much a viable form of communication and marketing; in fact, the summer of 2011 marks the 40th birthday of email.
If you haven't started already, then today is a great day to start collecting customer email addresses. Even if you don't intend to send emails to customer immediately, start collecting them. Since open rates on email marketing are low, you probably won't see a real value in sending routine marketing emails until you have a list of 100 or more. Start now and perhaps you'll be ready to send your first email in November.
Even if you already collect customer emails you should keep reading because we have a few new ideas.
People guard their email addresses heavily. No one wants spam, especially spam about little blue pills or discount medication or hair loss or adult stuff... you see, most email programs are so sophisticated now that if we were to mention any of those offensive items by name this Daily Golden Nugget would get zapped into email spam purgatory. Another potentially bad word to use in any email is the word that starts with an F and ends with 2 EE's. Again, potential spam purgatory if you use that word in your email.
No one wants to waste their time reading some boring sales message, so you have to give them a quality reason to willingly give you their address.
In your jewelry store at the point of sale you could say:
"Would you like to give me your email address so I can send you cleaning instructions for the jewelry you just purchased? We also send monthly jewelry fashion tips and reminders when to bring your jewelry back for inspection."
Using a sales pitch like that is pretty compelling...
1. You offered them something important relating to their current purchase.
2. You've told them you will send jewelry fashion tips, which doesn't sound like a sales message or "newsletter."
3. You've told them you will make their life easier by telling them when they should bring their jewelry back for inspection. In other words, that's one less thing they have to remember.
If they give you their email, you should hand them a bottle of jewelry cleaner, or a cloth saying "We'll email you the directions how to use that." Naturally you will have to write those directions and it would be great if the directions included photos as well. Make sure to send the directions to them as a PDF.
Using the method above, you should be able to build a quality list of email addresses collected within your store. But what about collecting them on your website?
On your website, you have to give people a real reason to sign up for your email list. Your success rate will be pretty low if you simply slap one of those Constant Contact SafeSubscribe(tm) newsletter sign-up boxes without any compelling reason why they should. All email companies provide newsletter sign-up widgets for your website; we just like picking on Constant Contact for reasons that will be discovered in the next few Nuggets.
As you can see, we are not using the word "newsletter" because that implies some random information that probably includes advertising. Be creative with what you call your "routine emails" and start collecting customer email addresses today.