Modern-Day Marketing

Josie Leavitt - April 7, 2011

When we opened fifteen years ago, most of our customers didn’t have email addresses, so marketing was more traditional. We used print ads (does anyone do that anymore?), radio and postal mail, often with success. But with these tools came great expense and a feeling of shooting in the dark. You never really did know what part of the marketing effort was responsible for bringing people into the store.
Boy have times changed. Now that just about every customer has an email address, marketing to them has gotten easier, cheaper and smarter. The email blast has revolutionized how we communicate with our customers. The beauty part is the customer controls it. They have to sign up and decide to share their email address, they can opt out at any time and honestly, they don’t even have to open the email if they’re so moved.
What makes the email blast so effective for our store is, well, after the monthly fee to the company that allows you send email blasts (usually $30-50, depending on the size of your list) they are free. So, take our email list of 1800 people. It costs us .025 cents to reach one person. That’s nothing compared with, say a $500 print ad that winds up costing 27 cents per person, and with a print ad, you have no idea who is actually looking at your ad. At least with an email blast you know 1800 people who expressed interest in your store will get it. And what they get is a full-color, lovely newsletter that promotes the store’s upcoming events, complete with clickable links back to your website so the customer can learn more about books or authors they’re interested in.
The other great thing about email marketing is the ability to see just how many people opened the email, who maybe forwarded it to a friend, who opted out, etc. And the best thing is if you have links in your email blast, you can see what links have been opened, which can give you a sense of what folks are interested in, which can help you figure out how many people might be coming to an event. Also, the blasts always have a coupon, so it’s easy to see the number of people who bring in the coupon.
Oh, and email blasts can be sent right to publicists, authors and the folks who help you get co-op. Nothing says,” I’m marketing an event” better than a well-designed email blast. With email there’s no tear sheet, no invoice from the newspaper. You just send directly to your rep then do a quick follow-up email reminding him or her of your event order and you’re on way to getting co-op for your event. Pretty simple, and pretty effective.

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