Small business Saturday email marketing tipsFor the eighth year in a row, is publishing our annual listing of all of the local retailers and brands participating in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday that we can find. Our goal is to help shoppers keep their holiday spending local, and to help retailers bring more business in their doors. It’s a labor of love that takes hours upon hours to collect, publish, and promote.

Last year, I read over 100 emails within one 24 hour period from retailers promoting their weekend offerings to compile the annual shopping guide. Some were great, some had lots of room to improve. Here’s my advice to you for email marketing success.

5 Things Every Email You Send Should Have Inside!

1. A Reply Email Address

Ditch your email system if it uses no-reply and for Heaven’s sake, put an email address you actually check. Don’t make your customers chase you to contact you, because they will just shop elsewhere.

2. Your Business Hours

Just because you’re open normal hours, don’t assume your potential customers know what they are – and if you’re operating extended or shortened holiday hours, this becomes even more important. Your customers are in a rush due to the craziness of the holiday season, so help them out here.

3. A Phone Number That Will Be Answered

Again, holiday shoppers are experiencing nutty schedules, the demands of family, a condensed work schedule, and more. Sometimes, they just need to know if you have something in stock or if you can make their special request happen. Be ready for their calls and make it easy for them to reach you!

4. Your Website

I know this seems crazy, but you won’t believe how many businesses, especially retailers, forget this important link. This is the ideal place to send your audience when they have questions outside of your business hours! (It also offloads your email and phone traffic if you answer their key questions right on your website) PS: Don’t forget to put all of these important points of information (phone, hours, etc.) on your website, too. This is where your audience will likely look before they call you!

5. Physical Address

Keeping with the theme of convenience for your holiday shoppers, don’t forget to remind them where they can physically find you if you maintain a brick-and-mortar business. (If you’re online only, at least include your city and state so that those paying particular attention to shopping local will know that you’re their neighbor, too!)

6. Freebie Advice! Don’t Procrastinate

The old college rule still rings true: don’t procrastinate! Don’t wait to let your audience know what’s going – especially when it benefits them. If you wait until Thanksgiving or Black Friday to send your Black Friday promotions out, you’ve missed out on a huge majority of shoppers who’ve already made their plans. If you wait until the day of your promotion to email them, you’re likely going to become just an impulse purchase or a late add-in to their schedule. Make sure you send out your info in time to be a priority of theirs, not an after thought!