grow your list (2)

For some small business owners, the summer is their busiest time of year. For others, it’s the slow season.

Regardless of what time of year it is for you, the next few months are the perfect time to focus on list-building best practices.

If you’re busy, there are a few quick and easy things you can do to ensure you’re building your list throughout the summer. If business is slow, now’s the time to try something new and prepare for your busy days to come. Here’s how…

Busy by the sea shore

If you’re an ocean-front store owner, you know the summer frenzy all too well. Take advantage of the chaos by converting the extra foot traffic through your store into new contacts and eventual sales. Every time someone makes a purchase, ask them for their contact information if you don’t already do so. Just make sure you tell them what’s in it for them. Will they receive your newsletter, updates about upcoming sales, coupons etc.? Make your incentives clear.

A simple contact sheet

You might be asking yourself, “How can I possibly capture all of that information when we are slammed?” With just a little effort and a small adjustment, you’ll be growing your list daily.

A simple, paper contact sheet at your cash register (and you might already have this) will do the trick. All you have to do is get in the habit of asking people to give you their information.

In addition to asking for their name and email address, you could also ask for their hometown to find out whether or not your new contacts are local or discovered your business while on vacation. This is a great way to stay in touch with seasonal customers all year long and you can use that information to better target your messages. One example of this would be using summer images to attract fall business.

There’s an app for that

If you’re interested in a more eco-friendly, digital option, there are a handful of apps out there that can help. Constant Contact’s Quickview app let’s you add, view, search, edit, and organize your contacts from the palm of your hand. This is an especially efficient way to capture new contacts without having to fuss with paper and eventual data entry.

Slow at the skate shop

If you run a small business like a figure skating shop, chances are your slow season is during the summer. With a few extra moments on your hands, now is the perfect time to give your contact list a summer makeover. Consider trying something new!

Text-to-join or scan-to-join

Mobile is quickly becoming a way of life. With 133.7 million people in the U.S. currently owning a smartphone, it makes sense to take advantage of this channel when it comes to building your contact list. Using text-to-join or scan-to-join is a quick way to capture contact information and opt customers into your email list. It not only makes the process easy on you but it’s also easy for your customers.

The scenario: A customer approaches your register and is ready to make a purchase. You ring them up, give them their receipt, but before you send them on their merry way you say, “Would you like to join my contact list? You’ll get special offers and discounts and you’ll be the first to know when we get a new shipment of skates in. All you have to do is send me a text message?”

Their answer will be, “Sure!”

With text-to-join, you can create a unique access code and keyword that people can use to be automatically added to your email list. Rather than putting their name on a sheet of paper, they send a text message and are instantly asked to join your list right from their own mobile device.

Scan-to-join works the same way, but instead of sending a text message, all someone needs to do is scan a QR code on their smartphone and join your list that way. You can put a QR code right on your cash register with a note that says, “Scan me and join our contact list for coupons, sales, and store updates.”

NOTE: Even if a paper sign-up form is still your most effective method, you could use a flyer with your text keyword or QR code and give people the option to choose a method that works best for them.

Hope this helps. Make this summer a good one and happy list building!

How do you gather contact information? I’m curious? Tell me about it below.