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Stay loyal to local: How to keep the customers you won during the lockdown
There aren't many silver linings to be found in the midst of a pandemic, but the way local businesses were able to rally round for their communities is one of them. Many consumers, who'd never shopped with their local suppliers before, turned to those businesses for supplies and services when big brands couldn't reach them. For the community, they became a lifeline, and for the businesses themselves, it meant boosted sales and visibility.
So, as the UK begins to ease lockdown and some kind of normal life resumes, the local businesses who found new customers want to keep hold of them. But with the national and global players in all sorts of different industries gearing up to win back their customers, what can they do? Your farm shop might not have the marketing budget of Sainsbury's, but that doesn't mean you can't stay at the forefront of your new customers' minds. Instead, you need to find the right tools, create good content and reach those people directly.
Email marketing is an affordable solution for businesses who want to stay in touch, build brand loyalty and entice buyers back. It doesn't cost a lot to use a professional email marketing platform like Smart Messenger. So, you don't need to blow your budget, you just need to get the right messages to the right people. Find out how much email marketing costs.
Here are some suggestions of content to include when you are using email marketing to build connections with new customers.
All businesses have stories and the ones from the past three months are particularly interesting. How did you serve your community during the lockdown, what did you do to reach customers who desperately needed your help and what response did you get from the people where you live and work? Tell those stories and thank the community for turning to you and buying local. It'll engage their hearts and minds as they read your email.
Remind your customers of all the reasons why your product or service is the best choice. It might be the way you make it, a bespoke element, a genius solution or a sustainable supply chain. Identify the things that make your most loyal customers come back time and again, then tell the new ones what they can expect from you.
3. Promote Local
Champion the 'buy local' cause for yours and other businesses. Remind your new customers that you were there for them when they needed you and will be again. Share the local suppliers you work with to produce your goods or service, then shine a light on those companies you buy from. Show customers that buying from a local supplier means the money goes back into the local economy, which benefits everyone.
4. Offers and loyalty plans
Got something to give? Send it through email marketing. Smart Messenger customer Panther Brewery served their community during the lockdown and sent a 'thank you' voucher to new customers. The result? A fantastic email open-rate and more sales.
“As email marketing newcomers, we wanted to choose a service where we could rely on support throughout. Our Account Manager advised us on how best to structure our first campaign and what to offer our clients. The results were brilliant - we achieved a 68% open rate and a 42% click through rate! We’re absolutely delighted with the service.”
Martin James, Owner & Head Brewer at Panther Brewery
5. Highlight change
Your business practice might have changed due to the new rules, or perhaps you've diversified your product range to meet a new need. Whatever changes you've made, tell your customers. Our client Office Water Supplies became incredibly busy after diversifying into sanitation supplies early on in the pandemic. They came to us, we created a managed campaign for them, and now their customers know their business has expanded. It was easy for them; despite the fact they were snowed under with demand.
“We learnt of Smart Messenger and their services via Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and the member training sessions. Further to the outbreak of Covid-19, we felt it was imperative we reached out to our network to keep them updated with new products and services that had become available. In addition, we wanted to reassure existing customers that we could continue to serve their requirements. The feedback has been excellent, really clear decisive designs with minor alterations never being an issue and instant customer response. We look forward to continue working with the team at Smart Messenger moving forward.”
Paul Mitchell, Business Partner at Office Water Supplies
These are just a few of the ways that you can engage with your new customers and encourage them to keep using your local business. If you'd like to know more, get in touch with our friendly Smart Messenger team on 01603 858250.