Here's a simple marketing tactic for retail stores: capture email addresses.
Funny thing. If I were to guess, I'd say fewer than 10% of retail stores do this. Maybe fewer than 5%. I don't know.
But yet this one tactic could be responsible for a retail store getting many more repeat sales.
Because by capturing email addresses, they will be able to promote to their best customers and prospects on a regular basis. Send them promotions. Send them coupons. Send them announcements. Whatever.
Some of the stores that are already doing this well include Borders, Barnes & Noble, Qdoba, and Einstein Bros.
So how do these stores persuade their patrons to turn over their email addresses?
Some of the more sophisticated companies have created loyalty programs. So you get in-store credit at the end of the year (Borders) or a free burrito every time you buy 10 (Qdoba).
But it doesn't necessarily have to be this complicated. Take Einstein Bros. for instance. They're a bagel company that has done well in the Denver area. Here's the real-life copy taken straight off a small sign posted over a ballot box near the cash register:
"Give us your email and we'll give you a free cup o' joe. How's that for Fair Trade?"
There's a small stack of buck slips to write your name, email, cell phone, and birth date. Fill it out, show it to the cashier (to get your free coffee), then drop it in the box.
I probably don't have to tell you... the ballot box, which was made of clear plexi-glass, was filled with dozens of slips.
If you run a retail business, what can you do to start capturing email addresses?
P.S. A note about Einstein's copy. This is one particular case where I feel like clever copy works. Even if you don't know anything about Fair Trade coffee beans, you will still understand the message. But this is the exception to the rule. Usually, efforts to be clever only confuse the customer.