Holiday Hints for Better Sales: Building Customer Relationships Through Email Marketing

How e-cozy marketing can add elevation to your peak volume.

Take advantage of the seasonal spending spike and increase your small business sales. To maximize holiday transactions, the Sloan brothers offer this series of six key strategies.

Winning in business depends less on transactions and more on the quality relationships you nurture. Successful people emphasize starting, building and maintaining those relationships. Nothing drives sales and business relations like a personal connection, and there’s no better time to foster goodwill than during the holiday season.

Overall, retailers ranked e-mail marketing as the most important demand-generating activity for holiday success, according to a recent survey by WebTrends. Eighty percent of retailers regularly use e-mail messages to build customer relationships.

You and your retail business can build stronger relationships and drive more sales by enticing customers and prospects to sign up for more online mailings.

Take advantage of this key retail season by offering a special holiday e-mail campaign that speaks to your brand and your customers, suggests Return Path, a company that helps businesses maximize their e-mail performance.

First, make the sign-up process easy, and don’t force a registration. Instead, make it enticing by emphasizing the many benefits that will flow to subscribers, and give it urgency by underscoring the limited “holiday only” nature of your e-mail campaign. Include a tip of the day or tip of the week. Provide valuable information that consumers want, and then link the information to your products.

Customers relish the face-to-face relationships that develop at dry cleaners and coffee shops, where “everybody knows your name” and preferences. They want to be recognized as individuals – even in e-mail. Capture their preferences, birthdates, wants and needs so you can aim e-mail campaigns with laser precision. Just be sure that if you ask for the information, you use the information – striking the right balance between personalizing messages, and creating an easy signup process. You could send customers an update on trends, special offers or an invitation to receive friendly reminders before birthdays and other gift-giving occasions.

Don’t forget the thank-you note. The fact that this nicety has begun to fade into a “quaint” past only increases its value to those who get them. Use those e-mail addresses to recognize your customers with sincere appreciation for their business. During the holidays, it’s especially effective to send thank-you notes to your customers when they make large purchases and place big orders, or to thank them for referrals. You’ll build customer loyalty and satisfaction with every one you send.

Don’t wait for New Year’s Day to make resolutions. This holiday season, resolve to open long-term dialogues with your customers. Invite every shopper to join your e-mail list, then use it to build solid, lasting relationships.

Remember, to parlay peak shopping volumes into even bigger opportunities, don’t settle for a transaction – go for a relationship.

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