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Is It Time for E-mail Marketing (Part 2 of 2)

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(Photo: ©iStockphoto.com/Kyu Oh)

Hal Licino |

CHICAGO — When it comes to marketing your self-service laundry, there are plenty of ways to go. Don’t be afraid to explore new marketing tactics. Times are changing. Have you thought about e-mail marketing?

A basic tenet of e-mail marketing is to ensure you have permission from the individual you’re sending the e-mail to; otherwise you’ll run afoul of some strict federal laws.

In a self-service laundry setting, there are various ways to get that permission: you can set up a form on your bulletin board asking your customers to fill in their e-mail addresses, ask customers while they’re waiting for their loads to finish, or, for more enthusiastic responses, run a prize giveaway requiring customers to place their e-mail addresses in a ballot box for a drawing.

Make sure that you clearly state that the e-mails will be used to contact them for promotional purposes.

Harvesting e-mail addresses in your own facility is great for encouraging repeat business, but since you want to bring in new customers, you’ll have to reach out to them. Seek out any current-events or entertainment websites that deal only with your neighborhood or area and discuss taking out an inexpensive banner ad that will encourage web-surfers to provide their e-mails for discounts or special offers.

Track responses

Tracking the responses you receive is vital to discover the effectiveness of your campaign. Determine who is responding and why in order to fine-tune your e-mail marketing efforts and boost your laundry traffic.

Staying in touch with your prospects is necessary to build loyalty, but don’t swamp them with e-mails. A monthly e-mail highlighting special events and promotions in your facility is far preferable to weekly nag-fests.

Market segmentation is the heart of e-mail marketing, so target your content specifically to the individual — busy mothers have different lifestyles than college students. Speak to your customer in a voice they can relate to.

The e-mail itself has to be strategically composed as well. E-mails can be received in HTML format that will show lots of images and colors, or in plain-text format that will only show basic text. You can send both formats in one e-mail by creating a multi-part alternative, but this generally requires some fairly advanced coding skills.

Take the hassle out of marketing

To avoid dealing with expensive web designers and consultants, you might turn over the nuts and bolts of your e-mail marketing to established, reputable companies that specialize in providing e-mail marketing services. These companies provide ready-made professional e-mail templates, list-management tools, a wealth of tips on how to improve your campaign, and can even supply tracking reports so you know exactly how your e-mails are working.

Most importantly, these companies adhere to the standards set by the leading industry organizations, which ensures a much higher delivery percentage than you could likely achieve on your own. Many of these companies are affordable, as their services generally cost about a penny per e-mail.

E-mail marketing is not just for national brands and chain stores; it can be just as effective for self-service laundries. Exploring the potential of e-mail marketing can increase your traffic and keep your washers and dryers humming all day long!

Click here for Part 1 of this story.

About the author

Hal Licino

Author

Hal Licino is an e-mail marketing advocate for Benchmark Email, an e-mail marketing service, and has authored two books.

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