Local Email Marketing: The Basics

Want to start a local email campaign but not sure where to begin? Here are the basics to get you started.

Picture of Lauren Nuttall Lauren Nuttall

Published: 17 Apr 2020

5 minutes read

Local Email Marketing: The Basics

Local email marketing is, in essence, exactly what it says on the tin. It’s email marketing as you know and love it, but with a twist - you’re targeting local customers and businesses. 

But wait - you’re thinking: “but email marketing is for national, or global companies - how would it work successfully in a much smaller area?”

Spoiler alert: it can and it will. Email marketing campaigns don’t just work for those companies whose customers don’t have to physically enter an office or shop, and there’s a reason why the number of smaller businesses practising local email marketing is increasing (see some of our fave examples, here). That’s because it works. But hey, if you’re new to this, we’ll take it slowly, and guide you through the basic need-to-know essentials for doing local email marketing - so you can see the results for yourself.

Let’s take a look at how you can start attracting people in your area through email. 

First, clean up your existing email list

The likelihood is, you have an email list somewhere, even if you haven’t been actively using it. Before you even think of sending any of these contacts an email, you should do some spring cleaning. This means you need to remove any completely inactive contacts, and maybe send a reminder email to the remaining contacts to see if they still wish to be subscribed. This way, you can be sure the people you’re emailing are interested in what you’re offering, and therefore more likely to be enticed by your emails. 

It’ll also help you comply with the whole GDPR thing (we know, but we had to mention it)

Once you’ve done this, segment your existing contacts by area, so you can be sure any marketing information you send is specific, and relevant to the recipients.

Next, start building a new email list

On top of your existing list, to launch a truly successful local email marketing campaign, you need to have a decent amount of people to get in contact with. So, you need to get people subscribed. How, you ask? Easy. 

  • Use your website

It sounds obvious because it is - but your website should be the most useful tool at your disposal when it comes to collecting contact details. Use landing pages, forms and pop-ups to gather visitor information, and this can form the base of contacts you’ll send your local emails to. However, in order to ensure you’re targeting the right people, ask the right questions. For example, on forms ask people the area they’re from so that you know any emails you’ll send will be relevant -  particularly for those of you who have multiple locations across the country.

  • Do it in person

Now, as much as you should be using digital methods, don’t forget the power of face-to-face encouragement. If your business has a physical location, such as a showroom, shop or office - encourage people to sign up to your email list while they’re in front of you. You can do this in a few ways, whether it’s just asking people to sign up, handing out business cards, or even having a mobile device which can be used to capture information immediately.

Ideally, you should be using both online and offline methods to gain contacts. Once you have a reasonable amount of relevant contacts, you can start sending local, specific emails to them. 

Now, let’s take a look at some simple methods you can use to start doing this today. 

Local email marketing ideas

Become part of your community

The best way to target people in your area is to actually get involved with that area. This means instead of being a business in the area people have heard of, try and establish yourself as an active member of the community - host events, partner with other local businesses, and get involved with local issues and schemes. 

Not only does this boost your brand image, but you can also use events as a way to find contacts - especially if you throw an event at your own expense. Events have an incentive, and you can use the “buzz” created to encourage email sign-ups. A great way to do this is by sending a promotional email to your existing subscribers, offering them something valuable as an incentive to come along. Depending on what your company does, this incentive could be anything from savings on a ticket (if your event is ticketed) to a free drink on arrival. 

Never forget that people love free stuff, and more importantly they care about their communities. If you make your business a positive local presence, the email subscribers will begin to increase, and you can use the community and local area as topics for the emails you’re writing.

Group meeting

Localise your emails

In order to see results from local email marketing, you need to actually reference the local areas in your emails. A good, effective way to do this is to mention the local area in the subject line of your email, in order to get it seen in your contact’s inboxes amongst the abundance of other meaningless emails.

This is really where you can elevate your marketing. Think about it - while bigger companies will have to send out more generic emails in order to reach more people, you have the upper hand in communicating with your potential customers on a much more individual level. If you mention the local area in your email, people will start to associate your business with that area. For example, if I received an email from my favourite restaurant or bar in Manchester that said something like “Hey Lauren, fancy a burger the next time you’re in Manchester?”, not only am I more likely to open the email, I’ll definitely consider going to that particular restaurant. It really is that simple; personalisation goes beyond just “Hi [first name]”, it’s showing you value someone as an individual customer” - and it pays off. 

Integrate social media

Social media is an excellent way to connect with your prospects, and also get the word out about your local email campaign. For example, if you have a newsletter, I’d recommend posting about it on social media - add links to your social posts that allow people to subscribe instantly. For example, you can connect your LinkedIn lead gen forms with tools such as HubSpot, which autofill a person’s information when they go to fill out one of your forms, making it easier than ever for people to subscribe to your email list. 

You can also share posts with local filters on most social media platforms, meaning that you can ensure your posts are getting seen by the right people - whether it’s standard posts, updates or advertisements. Including links to your social media profiles in your emails will also help improve the engagement you have with people in the local area, who are likely to be more intrigued by your company when you post about the community, rather than yourself. 

To sum up…

As you can see, there’s a fair bit that goes into a local email marketing strategy, and we’ve covered the basics in this blog. To see examples of excellent local email marketing, or to learn more about how to perfect your strategy, check out our HubSpot guest blog: How to promote your business through local email marketing, where you can see some of the best local emails we’ve received, and a few more handy tips you can apply directly to your local email strategy. 

A great way to get started with local email marketing is by creating an email newsletter. To learn how to make your newsletter stand out, sign up to our email newsletter series and become an email marketing whizz in just 4 weeks - with advice on what to include in your email newsletter, how to boost your subscriber list, and how to drive down your unsubscribe rate, with actionable tips every step of the way.

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