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In the Northeast, April – September is a busy time for small businesses, the warmer months are notorious for drawing flocks of tourists to our beautiful area to enjoy all the Summer and Fall has to offer. As a tourist-based business, you have a unique opportunity to build relationships with these seasonal friends that extend beyond the tourist season. How you ask? Through email marketing.

According to Constant Contact**, email marketing has 3x the conversion rate of social media, and 72% of consumers say email is their preferred method of communication. Whether you sell products or not, email marketing is a fantastic way to stay in touch. You can keep your community up to date with what is happening with your business and to remind them to visit when they are back in town. Even better, if you sell products, you can promote your sales through email marketing. Which is exceptionally helpful during those slow, cold winter months.

Whether you have an email marketing service provider or not – you can still build your email list when you are ready to begin your email marketing promotions.

First, think about all the ways you “touch” your audience. Are they coming into your location and buying something? Are they calling and talking to your staff? Or are they just window shopping as they pass by? These are all opportunities to acquire their email address.

The simplest way is to just put a sign-up form on your counter and have contacts join at their discretion. Train your staff to ask customers if they are interested in joining when they purchase or ask a question.  Text-to-Join is a fabulous way to get those elusive customers who are on the go. You will need an email marketing service provider to set this up. Once you have your code and number, you can put up signs at your location (inside and out) promoting your email list. QR Codes are barcodes that when scanned with a mobile app, will lead directly to a sign-up form online. Print QR Codes on your packaging, tags, menu cards or business cards to have customers take them with them on the go.  A simple URL can go a long way too. Print the link on your receipts to encourage customers to stay in touch.

Don’t forget about online either! Websites, blog posts, social media accounts and email signatures are all opportunities to grow your list too. Use the short time frame with your seasonal friends to capture their contact information and stay in touch with them all year long.

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