Off Line to Online - Email Addresses

by Kurt
20 replies
How do brick and mortar businesses collect email addresses?

What's the actual process? Does the customer fill out a paper form, then someone has to physically enter the email address into the email service?

If so, how does this work with a system like Aweber than uses double opt-in?

I hear about selling online marketing packages to off-line businesses, but just can't figure out how to have a company that doesn't have a strong online presence collect and store email addresses.
#addresses #email #line #online
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  • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
    If they're going to use Aweber, they can offer an incentive of some kind for their customers to sign up. It could be something like "special-of-the-week" or a "preferred customer" list. Depending on the business, even something like a "birthday club" will work.

    For higher-dollar businesses, they could offer an industry news newsletter.
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  • Profile picture of the author badboy_Nick
    Offline businesses usually buy potential customers from online companies. Since more people use Google for comparing products and services, lots of offline companies try to tap into this market. For affiliates this means you can capture these people and sell them on in form of packages. Good money in it too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    I guess I'm not making myself clear...

    Let's say a quick lube and oil place wants to build an email list so they can remind customers to get an oil change every 3 months.

    How does the guy at the counter collect email addresses from the paying customers?
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Enthusiastic
    Kurt, someone has to type in the customer's email address.

    Might as well be the customer. Depending on the business, there could be a netbook for a customer to use. Put it next to a sign: sign up now for the preferred customers list for special discounts, newsletter, etc. Have the browser's home page set to the squeeze page.

    A sales person or cashier can invite a customer to sign up. If they're interested, have the customer sign up, then check their mail for the confirmation notice right then. Tell them you'll clear the browser cache for their privacy as soon as they're done with their email. Tell them to click the confirmation to ensure that their special offers will get delivered correctly. Show them that to protect their privacy, you clear the browser cache and cookies immediately after they check their mail.

    With Wifi in the store, or a cellular card in the field, this can be really easy for the customer.

    When the iPad comes out, put it on counter, using the keyboard stand, with a big sign that says "use the latest technology to get onto our cool secret special discounts list." Let the customer play take the iPad to a comfy chair to play with it for 15 minutes after they sign up. Price of getting to play with the iPad? Sign up for our special-offers email list. In a coffee shop, deli, retail store or waiting room, this could be quite the conversation piece.

    If the business can't put a few hundred bucks into this, it's easy to print a bunch of postcards or flyers or brochures that tell people how to go to the special discounts page when they get home. Include mini screenshots of the squeeze page, the thank you page, the confirmation email, the link to click, the confirmation page, and the newsletter. These can get handed out to everyone, or to just the most special customers (with a flourish).

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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Enthusiastic
    I think Kevin and I are on the same page here. (A squeeze page, naturally. ) If he has a different perspective than I get to learn something new. Here's my answer:

    It would be an ordinary computer. Preferably locked down for the guest account to only access the browser, no ability to download or run anything else. If a customer complains, point out that it's only there as a convenience for email signups, you aren't trying to run an Internet cafe.

    If the customer has their own web, email or text message device, of course they could use that to access the squeeze page. They would still need to have someone suggest they check right away for the confirmation note and reply to it.

    It looks like Aweber only takes initial subscriptions via web form. I don't know if there's another reputable autoresponder service that lets people sign up by text message. If it's more convenient for your customers, you could have them text to a particular address that will give them coupons by text message - show the message to the cashier or account rep to get your discount. This might work well for a deli that sends lunch special coupons every Thursday at 11 am, or a theater with first evening show discounts that go out at 5:30. Depends on what your customers like and expect.
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  • Profile picture of the author Teresa Coppes
    Obviously there has to be some option that allows a customer to signup for a mailing list which is then manually entered in. I know - cause I've done this twice within the last couple of months in my small town. Go to the store & they've got a signup sheet. Put my name and email in and starting getting emails. I don't even remember getting a confirmation message.

    So, worst case (which I believe would help answer Kurt's original question) - if only a pad of paper and a pen were available, how would one go about entering a clients name into a system like Aweber? Or any other like GetResponse? Is it possible?

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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Hey Kurt,

    I can't say what 'everyone' or 'all businesses' do but I have done this for people in several ways depending on their business.

    The first is to have them give out coupons to their customers - which they need to go online and 'register'. The registration obviously captures their email as part of the process.

    2 - Setup the AR for them and had them just put a "put your business card in the box to win a free/discounted x...." and they manually put the emails in.

    3 - Have them refer people to the website for 'special offers' and the website has an opt-in

    4 - Bought a targeted list from email list companies

    This is why Aweber isn't always the best answer.


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  • Profile picture of the author AlexNavas
    I typically use aWeber for my online marketing efforts personally and for clients. However, I also bought a self hosted autoresponder service that makes it easy to simply type in the information manually.

    Before any email campaigns or newsletters go out, I can simply import the list from the self hosted service into aweber. It does send out a confirmation email though so some subscribers do get lost, however, you can always send the same message from both services.

    Constant Contact and Vertical Response are also services that do well with manual information entry for offline businesses.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Melody
    With nightclubs and restaurants, it's common for the business's website to have a link to a 'poll' page on their receipt - customer visits the website, registers, does the survey or poll and they are on the mailing list.

    Another method we commonly use is simply having signup cards on the tables - customer signs up for the 'Special Member Club' and they are given the option of leaving the card on the table or going to the website to register. The incentive is a discount coupon upon registration - and a bigger one if they actually sign up online.

    We have some restaurants that we actually collect the cards from weekly and do the data entry - but most just have the office staff do the data entry themselves.

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  • Profile picture of the author Nic Lynn
    I don't find that register receipts with a call to action to a squeeze page works that well (but it certainly does not hurt).

    Here's how we capture email addresses 99% of the time (some or all of these are used, depending on business type):

    - opt-in form on website linked to a great offer (autoresponder coupon or report)
    - customer comment cards (you need an employee incentive to get them to push customers to sign up)
    - business card fish bowl ("leave your biz card to get a free lunch AND join our newsletter for discounts and specials"
    - requirement on standard business paperwork (many business require you to fill out and sign a form, even if you are just getting your oil changed)
    - same as above, but employee entry on customer's behalf at a computer terminal

    NOW, here is a GREAT LITTLE TRICK...

    I always offer a client the option of uploading their "manual" list of new customers and prospects once to four times per month, but that they should do it on a daily basis themselves for maximum impact. How? All they need to do is manually enter the name and email address into the opt-in form that you've already put on their customer facing website (now Aweber has a limit of like 25 being entered from the same IP per day, but for most customers this works like a charm!)

    Customers love this! It gets them involved, it keeps them out of the "system" and it saves you time and it's the best thing for the customer, prospect and business!
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