Regular emails are one of the most effective ways of keeping your community of shoppers in the loop. From experience we know that shoppers are more likely to order when they are reminded before the close of order cycles. We know they are more likely to feel part of your community if you keep them informed about what’s going on around your food hub or farm. Of course, GDPR and email etiquette make this a little more complicated than just whipping out some emails. So here are three answers to the most common email questions we are asked.
Can I email people that have shopped with us in the past?
Your previous shoppers have not agreed to receive marketing emails from you so you cannot simply add them all to your mailing list. However, if you are realising now that you should have done more to collect emails when your sales spiked over COVID (you were rushed off your feet, collecting emails was the last thing we were all thinking about!) then you might like to send a one-off email to your previous shoppers. Say how much you appreciate the support so far and the support to amazing local producers in the area and let them know that by signing up to a regular newsletter you’ll get a reminder to order every week as well as some special offers and goodies from time to time. Make sure you include the newsletter sign up link in the email. Mailchimp and other email marketing tools make this easy and you can find out more in our Email Marketing Webinar.
To find a list of all your previous shoppers you can use the Customer Mailing List report in OFN (you’ll need to log in to access the link). If you already have a mailing list it would be worth cross checking the customer list against your existing mailing list so that you don’t accidentally email anyone who is already on the list. There are simple ways to create a unique set of emails so if your lists are long, reach out to the OFN support team instead of going through each email one by one.
Can I email my shoppers to let them know that a new order cycle has opened?
As long as you have been given consent to send marketing emails, you can happily email your shoppers about this. The OFN Team would absolutely recommend that you gain the consent from as many shoppers as you possibly can to add them to your mailing list. Hubs that email their shoppers every week to remind them to order and share stories and news consistently trade 10-30% higher in the weeks they send the reminders than in the weeks they don’t.
Emailing reminders is a great way to provide value to your customers and it is a great way to get started with email marketing. If you want help to improve with this, you can join our marketing hub on Facebook. We have a whole unit dedicated to email marketing, where you can access a webinar and some useful downloadable guides which cover all the basic rules and best practice.
Can I add new shoppers to my mailing list?
There are a number of ways that you can ask your shoppers to sign up to your mailing list after they order.
OFN offers a Mailchimp integration which will automatically add your shoppers to your mailing list, sending them an email that asks them to confirm their subscription after their order. If you are pressed for time this method is easy and complies with GDPR but is quite impersonal.
A better approach is to get in touch with new shoppers directly and welcome them to your community and ask them if they would like to be part of your mailing list. OFN can create an integration that sends a personalised email, written by you, to these shoppers once they order. You can also just build a list of new shoppers that will enable you to send the personal emails from your own email addresses.
It is certainly worth thinking about physical ways of gaining email addresses as well. A note in a new shoppers box with a welcome and an invitation to the mailing list is a good way to make your new shoppers feel part of your community. Many farmers markets that have moved online are also putting out physical email sign up sheets at collection points.
It’s worth the effort as your email list is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers. For one thing, an email is 5x more likely to be seen than a post on Facebook.
Feel free to get in touch with the OFN team if you would like to chat about this more. You can ask questions on the Marketing Hub or reach out to the OFN Support team for details on integrations or any technical questions. Why not try sharing your newsletters in the Marketing Hub group for feedback from the community?