While the email marketing information in this ebook is designed to be applied to both pure-play internet companies and multi channel retailers alike, if your business is multi channel with online being only one component of that, then there are some email marketing best practices and realities that you should keep in mind. Many of these can be applied to your multi channel marketing efforts of both your online and offline channels in general, but we've contextualized them specifically to your email marketing strategy.
Are Your Email Offers Better Than Your Offline Retail Offers or Affiliate Offers?
As you've probably read within this ebook, email often relies compelling offers to drive sales. Also, as noted in this ebook, because the cost of sending email is so low, those offers can often be incredibly generous while still maintaining a high return-on-investment (ROI). That makes it tempting to generate fast, quick, profitable sales through a generous email promotion. But are you then training customers to buy only online and not visit your retail outlets because they know that they can get a better deal by waiting for your email? If you apply a multi channel marketing strategy, offline retail outlets are important to your brand presence. Consistently making better offers and discounts via email can drive people to only buy from you via email.
Does Your Email Marketing Program Support or Sabotage Your Offline Program?
Similar to the above question, you'll need to ask yourself if your email program is supporting or sabotaging your offline program, one form of your multi-channel marketing. It's not only about promotions. Is your email program sending a different message than your offline program? Is it easier to find items in stock via your email marketing program than offline? Are you reallocating inventory to online or email promotions while limiting what's available offline? Your various marketing channels should work to support each other in order to keep your multi channel marketing strategy as a whole. However, the low cost and high return of email marketing can often mean that it's actually undercutting your offline efforts. In fact, sometimes it can undercut your other online efforts as well. Take the time to look at all of your multi channel marketing plans and make sure that email is working as a support system rather than a detractor. You may be surprised at what you find.
Are You Using Email to Drive Consumers to Stores?
One important way that email can contribute to your offline brand presence is to be used to actually drive customers into your stores. Remember, there's a benefit to having customers visit your land-based, brick-and-mortar locations. Once your customers are in the door, the merchandise as well as one-to-one sales associates are in front of them and they are more likely to buy more merchandise at a higher dollar value. Are you using your email marketing program to send users to your stores?
If not, consider sending geographically targeted email campaigns that offer an in-store discount when the email is provided. You can also use geographically targeted emails to promote regional in-store sales or even special in-store consumer events. You don't always need to be using email to promote online purchases or transactions. Utilize your email communications channel to grow your offline business as well.
Is Your Email Messaging the Same as Your Offline Messaging?
Because email marketing can often be turned around with lightening speed, the risk of your email messaging being slightly different from your primary offline brand messaging is possible. It's important that you have an auditing program in place to regularly check that the email message you send out resonate with your overall brand message. Of course, you don't want to do this in such a way that you take away the power of the flexibility and real-time communication of email marketing or the ability to test out new tones, offers, or concepts. You do, however, want to put a process in place that will allow you to make sure that what you say online and in email is the same as what you say offline or in person.
Are You Capturing Email Addresses at All Possible Points?
Much like your email marketing and online strategies should complement your offline marketing efforts, your offline marketing efforts should complement your online and email initiatives. Are you collecting email addresses from leads and customers at every possible opportunity? Are your in-house sales staff trained to convince customers to provide an email address when purchasing? Do your print collateral pieces and offline catalogues actively solicit people to go to their computer and provide you with an email address? The right value proposition can result in an email sign-up even if the user is nowhere near a store.
Increasingly, you can also use mobile technology to capture emails at offline retail locations. Consider an iPhone or other mobile tablet that allows users to enter their email for an incentive while they're waiting to be rung up at the register. Much like email can grow your offline business, your offline business can increase the number of viable leads in your database.