Master the Art of Capturing Leads Online and In Person

When you’re trying to convert a shopper who makes a one-time purchase into a repeat customer, having their email address on-hand is worth its weight in gold.

Collecting customer email addresses and capturing leads is much easier for online retailers than it is for brick-and-mortar business owners. If you want to take advantage of in-store foot traffic, local events, or trade shows to establish long-term customer relationships, here are some tips for encouraging potential and current customers to share their email addresses.

Ask at checkout

If a customer comes into your store and makes a purchase, they probably like what you offer. When they’re at the register, ask whether they’d like an email receipt instead of a paper one. This will help you build out your list of email addresses. Make sure to offer instructions on how they can opt in or out of receiving email communications from your business.

At checkout, you can also ask customers whether they would like to join your mailing list to receive perks like discounts or special offers. The key to getting a customer’s email address is offering benefits in return for their contact information.

Offer an incentive

Speaking of discounts and special offers, give customers special promotions, such as a coupon or discount on their next purchase, in exchange for their contact information. Whether it’s 10, 15, or 20 percent off, saving money may entice visitors to share their email addresses before leaving the store.

Giveaways and special contests are other ways to accomplish this. Ask customers to enter their email addresses for the chance to win a prize. The key is to make the prize compelling enough for people to participate. For example, if you run a travel agency, give away a free tropical vacation for two valued at $3,000. An incentive like this will make capturing leads in person a lot easier.

Participate in offline events

Many communities host sidewalk sales, festivals, and farmers’ markets throughout the year. Take advantage of these events by talking to potential customers and collecting their email addresses. You can set up a booth or table with a signup sheet, or put out a bowl to collect business cards and contact information.

These events are great opportunities to boost your business’s visibility in the community. The more that people become aware of your brand, the more likely they are to visit in-store or online.

Include a flier with each purchase

Include an insert within each package that you ship to a customer. The insert should provide instructions for signing up for your mailing list or newsletter to receive special offers.

If customers make purchases in-store, put an insert or flier into their shopping bags. Giving customers something tangible that they can take home may further encourage them to share contact information.

Attend a trade show

Virtually every industry hosts annual trade shows. These events serve as opportunities to connect with thousands of people (many of whom could turn into potential customers). However, one trade show challenge is standing out amid the sea of exhibitors and attendees.

A clever contest or giveaway can draw people to your booth. Once they stop by, collect their email addresses. Some business owners use a tablet or offline survey app to obtain this information.

Using email to drive long-term customer relationships

After you a collect a customer’s email address, the key is to offer them value and useful content. There’s nothing more annoying to customers than checking their inboxes, just to be flooded by marketing messages from companies that don’t understand their interests or purchasing behaviors.

Whenever you communicate with customers (whether it’s online or offline), try to personalize each interaction to convey value. Sharing a relevant offer will also increase the likelihood of someone making a repeat purchase or becoming a loyal customer.

Customer email addresses are the lifeblood of any business, but once you obtain this vital information, use it wisely so that you don’t squander the opportunity — or your customers’ trust.

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