It is usually easier and less expensive to make another sale to an existing customer than to win a new one. According to a 2014 survey by social network Manta and research firm BIA/Kelsey, 61% of small businesses report that over half of their revenue comes from repeat customers. Plus, an existing customer spends 67% more than a new one, the survey found.

An email newsletter is an ideal way to remind existing customers of the value you provide. Here’s how three types of small businesses—a clothing store, an art gallery and a bakery—could use email newsletters to improve customer loyalty.

Retail clothing store: Inspiring fashionistas
A two-year-old retail women’s clothing boutique has built a steady clientele and wants to make sure its customers keep coming back. Here are strategies it could employ:

  • Use an e-newsletter to spotlight customers. Share pictures of three trendy style-setters and how they accessorize the store’s clothing.
  • Make the e-newsletter the first place that new shipments and the arrival of hard-to-find items are announced.
  • Announce a brief survey in the newsletter and ask customers to evaluate the selection of styles, store personnel and shopping experience.
  • Offer special discounts and coupons available only to e-newsletter subscribers.
  • Ask customers to sign up for digital receipts at checkout and give them an opportunity to opt-in to the store’s e-newsletter at the same time.

Handcrafted art gallery: Engaging art enthusiasts
A folk-art gallery featuring high-end, handcrafted works from local artists wants to reinforce its quality and selection to customers. An email newsletter could build buyer loyalty with these tactics:

  • Highlight artist profiles in each issue, including personal stories about how and why they were drawn to their craft. Link the profiles to samples of the artists’ work on the website.
  • Include a list of upcoming gallery events such as live demonstrations by craftsmen and the arrival of new collections. Encourage readers to share events by including social share buttons with the listings.
  • Share photographs and videos of artists at work or of new collections released by established artists. Answer frequently asked questions about their techniques.
  • Include a prominent request to forward the e-newsletter to other art enthusiasts who will appreciate the content.

Pastry shop: Bringing customers through the door—every day of the week
A family-run bakery wants to encourage occasional customers to visit more frequently and help them feel good about supporting a local business. It could do the following:

  • Promote special e-newsletter deals available only during low-volume hours, such as a buy-one-get-one offer for after-school visitors.
  • Take pictures of mouthwatering goodies as they come out of the oven and share the best days and times to buy them for peak freshness.
  • Offer ideas for custom baked goods that can be used to celebrate a special occasion from a great report card to a visit from grandma.
  • Write about the bakery’s support of local fundraisers and neighborhood projects to demonstrate the shop’s commitment to the community. Encourage readers to drop off food bank donations at the bakery and receive a free cupcake as a thank you.

These are just a few examples of how to use email newsletters to build customer loyalty.  Remember, be consistent and keep your content updated and relevant.  Make sure the newsletter content has something in it for the reader, whether it’s advice, entertainment, deals or tips and you’ll be sure to get higher readership and engagement.

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