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Summer 2009
You’ve Got Mail!

1. Add good, contextual links back to your store.
They are great for web traffic and to generate additional interest in your store. Be sure to limit the number of links that send readers away from your website.

2. Give customers a sneak preview of their favorite products. This call to customers about a new line of products will get vital foot traffic in through the door. Such announcements need careful attention to your customers’ buying preferences so make sure you track them through your POS system or otherwise.

3. Always include a call to action. Have customers use a coupon; attend an event. Sending coupons also encourages traffic to the store. Linda encourages customers to forward the coupon to friends—a smart way not only to track in more traffic but also to find out which customers are fans of this particular product. It’s a great example of focused marketing in action.

4. Having customers enter raffles is a great way of getting and updating valuable customer data. This announcement of a winner lends the store a personal touch, reminds customers about the event and encourages future participation in similar store efforts.


More Useful Tips

Include a “Forward to Friend” link. This increases your customer email database and equally important, delivers qualified customer leads to you.

Always list your store name, street address, email address and phone number in the email.

Use few images, and make sure all the important information is copy. Lots of people (and email clients) block images from being seen immediately—so if your entire email is an image, they won’t see anything when it’s opened. Make sure that what the email is trying to sell/promote is clear. You have to follow certain rules when you send out mass emails. This is the most important one: Give customers a one-click opt-out. You don’t want to get in trouble for something so innocuous.

Encourage customers to add your email address to their address book—so every email you send them—regardless of content—gets delivered to the Inbox and not relegated to the Spam folder. Use an email system that gives great tracking. You need to know who’s opening the email, what they’re clicking on and who they’re forwarding it to—if you don’t have good tracking, how do you know that what you’re doing is working?

Editor’s Note: GIFT SHOP thanks retailer Linda O’Boyle of Metro Home Style (www.metrohomestyle.net) in Syracuse, for graciously agreeing to use of her store’s email blasts in this article.


Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is the managing editor for GIFT SHOP, GREENRetailer and Specialty Retail Report magazines. She oversees and executes all editorial processes and is responsible for delivering editorial content for both magazines. To implement the magazines' editorial missions, Apte works with an extensive team of writers and photographers from across the country. She is also responsible for certain online deliverables including editorial content that complements the print edition of both magazines.

Prior to joining Pinnacle Publishing Group in 2006, Apte was Editor-in-Chief for INDIA New England, a bimonthly publication catering to the South Asian community in New England. In her role for the company, she oversaw an extensive editorial lineup featuring a wide variety of news reports and features. Apte first joined the newspaper as a general assignment reporter. Her reporting, specifically on a series of stories about Indian immigrants returning to their home country in the wake of India's economic boom, earned her a national award from the South Asian Journalists' Association at their 2005 convention held at Columbia University's School of Journalism.

Formally trained as an engineer, Apte made a gradual switch to journalism after a stint in technical writing at Abaqus, Inc. Apte enjoys reading and reviews contemporary literary fiction for Mostlyfiction.com in her spare time.

Apte earned an M.S. in Energy and Environmental Studies from Boston University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. Apte welcomes reader input. Please email her at papte@giftshopmag.com.

Allisyn Deyo

Allisyn Deyo is the webmaster and editor for GIFT SHOP. She is also the lead designer and developer for Deyo Designs, (www.deyodesigns.com) a boutique web development firm. She can be reached at allie@deyodesigns.com.

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