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Situations when it’s okay to buy an email list

My colleague Sharlyn wrote a post about a year ago titled, “Why you shouldn’t buy an email list,” where she talks about the problems with purchased email lists. You should always look at these things from both sides, so I’ve compiled a lists of situations when it’s okay to buy an email list: Never One of the greatest advantages to email is that users opt-in because they want to hear from you. It’s not like printing a mailer and having it sent to an entire zip code, where the houses you reach, the better. There’s a solid chance that a good chunk of that purchased list includes email addresses that aren’t valid. (Even if they tell you that they’re verified.) In fact, our main email provider prohibits sending emails to purchased lists. Why? Email users can mark your messages as SPAM, which is not a canned meat product. Having your emails marked as spam can lead to the registrar blocking your domain name, which means your emails won’t be sent anymore. You do not want that. So when you’re tempted…

Why You Should Be Texting Your Customers

Customers Will See Your Message When your phone tells you that you have a text message, you look at it immediately, right? So do your customers. Text messages have more than a 97% open rate, meaning your messages are seen by nearly everyone they’re sent to. The same cannot be said for other forms of marketing communications They Want To Receive Your Message Customers have chosen to receive messages from you. They want to hear what you have to say or offer. Don’t pass up that opportunity. Reward Your Loyal Customers Your customers are more likely to be loyal if you reward them for being brand ambassadors. These customers will feel special with the exclusive deals they’re receiving, which makes them feel more connected to your brand. Drive Traffic to Your Store As someone is sitting in the office wondering what to make for dinner that night, their phone buzzes and it’s a text from your store offering a special deal on rotisserie chicken. Boom. Dinner plans have been made, and someone who might not have been to your store that…

Slowing Down to Enjoy the Shopping Experience

Maybe it’s time we change attitudes and perceptions about grocery shopping. As an increasing number of stores begin offering online ordering for easy pick up or delivery options, it’s obvious the industry is adapting to our on-the-go lifestyle. Many people want to get in, get out and get on with the lives. But a recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests retail stores change that narrative, or at least offer ways to slow down shoppers. We’ve all heard that the slower you shop, the more you spend. Online shopping can take away from impulse purchases. So how do you slow down the shopping experience? Make your customers feel comfortable and give them an engaging experience. Offer samples, free coffee, cooking demonstrations, recipes for newer products like quinoa. As I’m grabbing quinoa off the shelf at the store, I’ve had multiple fellow shoppers ask me how to cook it. People want to learn new foods and recipes. Here’s your chance to help them out! It doesn’t feel like I’m slowing down my day if I’m enjoying myself or learning new…

Pay-Per-Click vs. Organic SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be quite intimidating for someone who doesn’t know much about the subject. Both Lisa and Cody have discussed “Why I Can’t Find My Website on Google” and “What You Need to Know about SEO” on the blog, which are great introductions to SEO.  A few members of our team recently attended a digital marketing summit at the KU School of Business, where we heard business consultant and SEO expert David Barnes share his insights on SEO, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Here some key insights from his presentation: The first thing to do before ever thinking about spending money on search is to make sure you have good content on your website. 300-500 words per page of in-depth information shows both users and search engines your expertise. Be specific. If you don’t mention your meat department on your website, you’re not going to show up in a Google search for it. Alright, now you have quality content on your website describing everything you offer. That may be enough to get your website to…

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

With everyone yelling their marketing messages all over the place, it’s become easy for customers to simply ignore it all.  To get their attention, you have to entertain them. How do you entertain them? Visually. Visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text, so in our world of short-attention spans, the phrase “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” has never been more true. There are plenty of ways to capture the attention of your current and potential customers using digital images. Instagram is a photo & video-sharing app that has more than 300 million users who are sharing images and videos with each other daily. Pinterest is another app with a heavy focus on visuals. It’s more than 70 million users share links to articles, websites, recipes, etc. with a heavy focus on images. Cara recently wrote a post about using Pinterest as a small business. YouTube has become one of the most popular websites in the world with it’s video sharing capabilities. Lisa recently talked about using YouTube on our blog. So how can you use these tools…

An Ugly Produce Solution

We love seeing produce sections neatly stocked with bright and pristine fruits and vegetables. But a TEDxManhattan presentation by Food & Wine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin takes a look at chefs and grocers who focused on ugly produce to help reduce food waste. “Ugly food is beautiful on the inside,” TV chef Jamie Oliver announced on a British TV show. French grocery chain Intermarche led the charge against food waste with it’s “Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables” campaign. Awkwardly-shaped produce that usually wouldn’t make it into the stores were set up at a 30% discount off the normal produce prices. To back up the claim that the ugly produce was beautiful on the inside, the store sold pre-made soups and fruit juices using the inglorious ingredients. Incredible results followed. Stores sold out, averaging 1.2 tons sold in each store during the first two days alone. The chain saw an overall traffic increase of 24% while increasing the awareness of food waste through both traditional and social media. Shoppers are always looking for ways to save their hard-earned cash and inglorious produce is…

Text Me: A look into text messaging marketing

Wouldn’t it be great if you could know that your marketing message or special offer would be seen by nearly everyone you send it to? No need to worry about a mailer getting thrown in the trash without a glance, or an email not being opened or ending up in a spam folder… and that they’d most likely see the message immediately? When you hear your phone beep or buzz with a text message, what’s your immediate reaction? You grab it right away? So do your customers. 95% of text messages are read within five minutes. With text message marketing, you’re getting a list of customers who sign up because they WANT to hear from you via texts. It’s important to reward them with information and offers they’ll enjoy, because it’s not about you. It’s about them. And when they feel special, they’ll keep coming back to your store. What to text Customer Coupons: Make your subscribers feel special with text-only specials. They have to show the text at the register to receive the deal. This is perfect for getting…

Let’s Get Personal

Your Facebook page is great for sharing helpful information with your community, but as a small business owner, you can get so much more out of it. It offers you the ability to show the personality of your store, your employees, and the community as a whole. While a lot of your customers may be on social media to share what they had for lunch, most people want to be a part of a community and participate in the conversations that are happening online. Customers love to see the personal side of you and your business. Something as simple as sharing a picture of your employees having some fun on the job can create a personal connection with your customers. You know what else your customers like? Free stuff. Stores that host regularly scheduled giveaways on their Facebook and Twitter pages get great participation, while increasing customer awareness online and through word-of-mouth. Customers also love saving money, so they’ll also love learning about special pricing as they scroll through their Facebook page. Some stores highlight a few items from their…