BOOKSELLER MARKETING 101 : MAILING LISTS & PROMOTIONS
by Keith Katsikas ( CEO & Publisher , TopShelf )
MAILING LIST - How do your customer ’ s find out about the current promotions you offer ? Customer mailing lists are one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with customers and improve the profitability of your business . The people who sign up for your list are giving you permission to contact them . These are your hottest customers . If you haven ’ t started a customer mailing list , you seriously should start gathering one immediately . The process of creating a free MailChimp account is both fast and simple . You will want to integrate a subscription form into your website , blog , and social media pages . All of this information can be found at MailChimp . com . ( We ’ re not getting paid for referring you . We ’ re actual customers who use and love MailChimp .)
Explain on the form what customers should expect to receive and how often . Don ’ t ask too many questions because you want the decision to join to be a simple one . Usually , a name and email are more than enough . An excellent way to entice customers to join is to offer them a 25 % Off Your Next Purchase coupon . Let them use the coupon the same day they join . It ’ s important to explain that you ’ ll never sell , trade , or share your customer ’ s information with any other party .
EMAIL CAMPAIGNS - Once you have a significant list ( this is determined by your shop ’ s geographic location and overall customer base , but I ’ d suggest no fewer than 50 emails ), it ’ s time to start notifying customers of store events , specials , book clubs and any other news you ’ d like to share . However , take caution ; no one likes spam . NO ONE ! It ’ s never a good idea to send more than one email a week to your list , and make every email count . Think about it this way ; if you wouldn ’ t want it in your inbox , don ’ t send it to your customers ’.
MailChimp makes creating email campaigns simple for everyone . They offer a variety of predesigned templates , as well as simple tools to custom make your own . You don ’ t need to understand coding or be a designer . But if you are those things , you can create anything exactly the way you like it , making your eNewsletter resemble the theme of your store . In the world of marketing , it ’ s important to stay consistent . Your website , social media pages , emails , and blogs should all have the same look and feel . Too many different looks and your customers will get confused and eventually request to be removed from mailing lists . It ’ s a good idea to have trusted friends and columns customers receive “ test ” mailings , to ensure that the eNewsletter looks good on different mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops .
Act like your eNewsletter is a local paper by including as many names and photo ’ s of local customers and store visitors in each edition . Highlight the best and most relevant reads . Include a monthly calendar highlighting store events , new releases , prereleases , book clubs , author events , etc . Always include a way for customers to get in touch with you .
SATISFACTION SURVEY - One great way to get to know your customers better and provide them with superior customer service , is by creating a customer satisfaction survey . Post the survey on your social media pages , website , and eNewsletters , and have it available in your store . Use the responses you receive to improve offerings , communications , staff training , events , etc . Surveys are an important way to keep customer ’ s happy .
Example Questions :
• How many times a month do you visit bookstores ?
• How many books have you purchased in the past 6 months ?
• What types of books did you purchase ?
• What genre do you enjoy ?
• Are you interested in a reward program ?
• Are you interested in a book club ?
• Would you recommend our store ?
• Why or why not ?
MEMBERSHIP - Store membership helps people feel connected and engaged in what you ’ re doing . Providing discounts , such as “ buy one
TOPShelf magazine FEBRUARY2017