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Local Merchants Can Make Better Use Of Email Marketing

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Local Merchants Can Make Better Use Of Email Marketing
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I woke up yesterday with enthusiasm for the day. It was St. Patrick’s day. Whether you have any real “green” in your blood, its a festive day to be sure.

Going though an inbox full of messages, I found an offer from a local coffee shop offering a free coffee with purchase of a breakfast sandwich. It was simple and straightforward, but caused me to make a slight detour on the way to the office to take advantage.

After ordering, I showed the coupon on my smartphone to the counter-person who promptly told me that I needed to have printed and presented the actual coupon to take advantage of the offer. Only due to my cheery nature at that time did I politely change my order to a coffee and leave.

Meanwhile, the Loyalty Asterisk was dancing in my brain while my loyalty antennae were on high alert. Small business and local merchants are striving to have their voices heard. Email marketing is an inexpensive way to connect with local customers and create repeat visits at low cost. These merchants have the tools, in this case Constant Contact, to deliver the messages, but many times don’t know how to execute to make the customer experience reinforce the offer.

A few thoughts:

  1. In a world with increasing smartphone penetration, why would a merchant need to do anything other than see the coupon in vivid color in the customer’s hand?
  2. “Going green” is not only sensible, but a positive sweetener for many brands. Why force a customer to print more paper that gets reviewed once and placed in a drawer?
  3. When misunderstandings occur, why not allow the customer their promotional reward, rather than smacking them on the wrist?
  4. If the owner was worried about fraud, I could have calmed his worries in three easy steps.

If we insist on speaking that “the devil is in the details”, then we should equally agree that “there is glory in flawless execution”.  Merchants need to complete their planning cycle and think through how a promotion plays out at the counter.  When they do, they will witness their customer satisfaction reaching new heights.


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