How Email Marketing Can Help This Empty Ice Cream Shop
I think about email marketing and how it can help specific businesses almost every day. Are you familiar with Hershey's ice cream? I grew up knowing that Hershey's made candy bars and chocolate sauces. But about 6 months ago we noticed a small Hershey's Ice Cream storefront in a little strip mall, right on the road that takes us from our home straight out to the beach.
Ice cream and the beach go together, so I finally stopped by the Hershey's ice cream shop a few months ago. Wow! This guy has over 40 kinds of Hershey ice cream. We've stopped by for ice cream 5 or 6 times now. And the thing is, we are always the only people there eating his delicious ice cream.
The Scoop About This Ice Cream Shop
I wanted to know the story about this store. Because we'd never been asked for our email addresses, I knew the owner was not collecting email addresses from walk-in customers like us. One day, I happened to be there when the owner was there, a man named Gino Gambini. So I introduced myself and asked him how he likes to advertise his shop.
Mr. Gambini has never tried email marketing.
- He has a Facebook page for the shop.
- He had a website which was currently not working.
- He had recently tried buying into a 3 month coupon book and got absolutely no new customers.
I asked Gino to tell me about his shop, as I knew from driving on that street that the shop was less than a year old.
- Besides Hershey's ice cream, he can do custom designer ice creams using nitrogen.
- On the other side of the shop, which I didn't even notice as had no lighting on, he also carries over 100 kinds of root beer.
- He's installing a short order kitchen in the back and will soon offer fresh (off our local fishing docks) grilled seafood sliders.
- He offers custom ice cream cakes decorated to your specifications.
- There's a daily “hot dog and milk shake” lunch special.
- Most of his traffic is at night from nearby households and is the Hershey's ice cream.
The ice cream shop is located 100 feet from one of the busiest intersections in the city, and on a straight shot to the beach. It's clean, cute, and has good lighting outside. Ice cream is a year-round seller here in South Florida, too.
How To Set Up a Simple Email Marketing System
Gino has a lot going for him. What Gino doesn't have is traffic.
- No human traffic coming in except late evenings
- No website traffic as his website isn't working
- No traffic from the ill-spent advertising in coupon books
- No traffic coming in from email marketing
I grabbed a napkin and a pen, and started asking Gino questions. He had a website (it needs spiffing up), and he has a Facebook page. But, bad on Gino, he's not collecting his customers' email addresses. Drawing a square to represent his website and then drawing a bucket inside the square, I said, “Gino, may I suggest that you ask people who visit your website to leave their name and email in return for a buy-one get-one free scoop of ice cream in a cup when they come in?”
Then I drew a line from his website “bucket” to another square and suggested that Gino set up a simple, inexpensive email marketing system so that he could market to those who found his website, or came into his shop. (He can offer a free scoop of ice cream right in the shop to anyone who comes in and gives him their name and email address.)
- An email a week would keep his shop top of mind to all these customers and prospects.
- He could offer specials for the hours and days his shop is particularly slow.
- He could let his email list know that he has 100 kinds of bottled root beer and start a Root Beer Fan Club.
- He could advertise his custom ice cream cakes for the zillion pot lucks that happen in every Florida neighborhood during the season.
- He could let his email list know about his brand new fresh-off-the-dock grilled seafood sliders.
- He could divide (segment) his list into full time residents, snowbirds, and tourists, which would allow him to offer specials to the locals off-season, and keep his business busy.
Right now, he has no way to reach out and touch previous customers or potential customers. He's got probably the best ice cream in the city, and who knows about it? Email marketing would help Gino or any other retail store keep existing customers and get new customers, too.
I finished up my cup of ice cream and left Gino with my card and the napkin I'd drawn on. His eyes were lit up and he kept saying that he liked a solution that was low-cost.
I hope Gino will call me for help. If he doesn't, I'll be calling him. More to the point, I hope you have an email marketing system in place that you are using all the time. Because it works. If you built it and use it, it works.
You may be wondering about how to get your emails opened – and that's all about the subject line. Check out the video I made for you about email subject lines that get opened. And if you want to know more about setting up an email marketing system that works for you, check out my List Building for Success and Impact Course.