Get Started!

Email marketing is the most effective way to communicate with your customers. For example, an email is five times more likely to be seen than a Facebook post. This is because the Facebook algorithm only delivers your business page posts to a small selection of your followers, whereas emails are delivered 90% of the time.Even better, email has been shown to have a 66% higher conversion rate than social media. This means if you send an email reminder to warn of your order cycle closing, your customers are 66% more likely to respond to this with a purchase than if you posted the same reminder on your Facebook page.

There are plenty of ways to approach email marketing, but the simplest and cheapest way is to set up a Mailchimp account. Mailchimp is simply a platform which helps you manage and talk to your customers via email. Here is a video which walks you through the basics of setting up a Mailchimp account: 
This video also includes a step-by-step guide to creating a landing page to collect your customers emails. Also, it shows how to set up GDPR permissions which will help you stay on the right side of the rules. Which brings us to our next topic…

Understand and abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR is a set of data protection rules for the collection and processing of the personal information of people who live in the EU. It is important to be aware of the rules and to comply – especially with regards to safely handling people’s data. The main rules which you need to know are:

  • Only collect data for a specific purpose and don’t use this data for any other purpose.
  • Make sure you have consent to use this data for this purpose and make it easy for people to withdraw consent (e.g. unsubscribe from your mailing list).
  • Only hold the minimum amount of data necessary for the consented task and only keep data for as long as necessary to complete this task.
  • Keep the data you are storing safe (e.g. only store your customer’s data on a password protected computer).

As you can see, all of these are good practices anyway – imagine trying to explain to a customer you lost their data?!

Take action to grow your email list

With GDPR in mind, emailing your existing customers once to ask them to sign-up to your mailing list is very low risk. After all, if you are emailing an existing or previous customer, you have implied consent that they are interested in hearing from you. A low-risk way to do this would be to include the sign-up request within your order confirmation emails. Here is a great blog post which explains how the OFN can help you with this. In addition, once you have a landing page set up, you can share it on social media and encourage your social followers to join your mailing list. This is worth doing as followers who join your mailing list will be more likely to buy from you in the future. Furthermore, email is a more personal way to connect with your customers than social media – which also makes it more effective at generating customer loyalty.

Here are a few more ideas to help you grow your email list:
  • A physical email sign up sheet at your collection points. Include an opt-in box and consider how you will store this information – make sure to keep it safe!
  • A note or flyer in your customers’ orders. You can include a thank you as well as an invitation to your mailing list.
  • Display a QR code which directs people to your landing page. You could print them on stickers and add them to your boxes or packaging.
  • Encourage your current subscribers to share and forward your emails to their contacts. If you are using Mailchimp, for example, you can include social sharing buttons and you could create an “Email to a Friend” button.
  • At the bottom of all your emails with your customers, include a “Subscribe to our mailing list” call to action at the bottom with a link to your landing page.
  • When your shop is closed for orders, you could change your call-to-action button on Facebook to ‘Sign Up’ instead of ‘Shop’.

Understand your audience

At all stages of email marketing, from creating a landing page to sending a marketing email or newsletter, the first thing to consider is: Who is it for? For example, when building your first landing page to collect email addresses you will need to decide if it is for:

  • New customers who have just bought from you for the first time
  • Existing customers who have been shopping with you for a while but haven’t yet joined your mailing list.
  • Potential customers who have never shopped with you before.

This is because your messaging will be different for each of these audiences. To illustrate, if this is for customers who have bought from you before you can lead with a heartfelt message like:

“Hello and a big Thank YOU for shopping with us and for supporting the amazing local producers in our community. It would be a great help to us if we are able to keep in touch with you via email to let you know about new produce on offer, to update you on any news or changes, and to offer a timely reminder when our Order Cycle is open, or about to close.”

As you can see, this wouldn’t be the right message for someone who hasn’t shopped with you yet! Luckily, you can use Mailchimp to create different landing pages for different audiences.

We will be running a future webinar session on segmenting your audience, which will help you ensure you are always reaching the right customer with the right message.

In the meantime, here is a video which has some great starting prompts to help you get started with understanding your audience:

Confidence is key

All things considered, remember your subscribers have given you access to their inbox – the same place they receive correspondence from family and friends. Don’t be discouraged if you have some unsubscribes – this is normal and rarely personal! In fact, this is a good thing as it is so easy to leave that surely the people who stay are happy to receive communication from you. Keep this in mind, as it will instantly improve your energy for email marketing if you remain confident that your email subscribers really want to hear from you!

Want more?

​​​​Do you want more resources and support for your existing food enterprise? If so, here’s what to do next:

If you are interested in setting up a shopfront with the Open Food Network, here’s what to do next:

~By Kayleigh Reed