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Big brands change with the tide or die.
In the case of companies like Toys 'R' Us and Blockbuster Video — death came knocking because they continued to live in the past. Their focus stayed on the physical, while the modern market moved online.
While these companies failed to see the writing on the wall, other brands — like McDonald's, Petco and O'Reilly Auto Parts — are making the transition as soon as they can. As a consultant to entrepreneurs, local businesses and corporations, I've learned to look to the future and the coming trends. Last year, Black Friday saw record sales online, and all of us who study the online market predict increased commerce via the internet in the years to come.
Successful brands are already using this important tactic.
What helps companies stay ready is to use what the niche markets are doing. Brands like McDonald's have figured out how to start collecting online data from their customers. A quick visit to the McDonald's website and you'll see a prominent spot asking for your email.
As a casual web user, you've probably seen these boxes millions of times — but as a savvy marketer notice that even a large fast-food chain that sells physical products to you in person knows that sales can increase if they get your email. In the past, collecting emails was something that only us online marketers and online digital advertisers did. Now, it's in all businesses' best interest to grow an email list.
Related: 3 Easy Steps to Grow Your Email List
In the same vein, Petco has also worked hard to build its email list. When you land on its website, you'll immediately see an offer to become a member of Petco's rewards program, which will give you a special discount on almost everything in exchange for your email address. According to the Direct Marketing Association's 2015 National Email Client Report, when we offer our website visitors coupons and discounts in exchange for their email, email registrations are higher and the quality of emails are improved as well.
The wave of online shopping and online sales is only going to grow — and for any of us in business, our email list will only become increasingly important. If you're in business, here's my advice: Put a chunk of your efforts to maximize your growing your email list. Do you sell products in your physical store? Good, grow that email list. Do you sell food? Great, collect emails. Do you sell therapy, paintings or other services that are best served in person? Fantastic, you'll still want to collect emails.
Where most brands fail, but you don't have to.
Go to the O'Reilly.com website and you'll see it's also working toward growing their email list. If the company don't get your email online, it'll try to get it when you come into its stores. One purchase and you'll have a customer representative asking you if you're a rewards member. And like every rewards system, in exchange for your name, address, phone number and yes, your email, you'll get some exclusive discounts.
Again, this proves that the more data we have on our clients, the better our marketing can be. Even O'Reilly and Petco could be doing more. Sure, they've made an attempt to stay with the times, but I see lots of money being left on the table for these brands, their websites and their marketing, and unlike McDonald's these two companies are not being aggressive enough. Where they fail online, you don't have to.
Be better than these brands and aggressively build your list.
Where the big brands are failing, you can improve and get ahead of the curve. To do that, I recommend a few tips to optimize your website for sales: Use an email pop-up box, embed various strategically placed email opt-in boxes and offer something that would make your ideal customer salivate in exchange for their email address.
The pros of having email lists are vast, but the most important of them all are these: Once you have a list you own it, and you can email your leads without paying, retarget your warm leads with ads and create engaging conversations with your potential clients.
When it comes to email, the data is pretty clear: More and more people are using email and the return on investment with email for businesses is incredible.
Some big brands get it, but they're catching on slowly. Right now, no matter the size of your business, by dialing up your digital marketing you'll be ahead of the curve. Don't just think social media and blogging — all that gets people to your website, but what happens when they there makes a huge difference, too.
Just like talking to someone doesn't mean you'll ever date, getting someone to your website doesn't guarantee a long-term relationship. Next, you'll need to ask for a phone number, call the person and ask them out. Getting someone to your website is like starting a conversation, but once you get an email address and the proper data, you'll ensure things can keep moving along and increase your odds of making a sale.
The best way to optimize your website is to start offering visitors something special in return for their email. Do it aggressively by placing your offer throughout your website and strategically throughout your content. Start to include list building tactics to your marketing, continue to track your visitors and use content to improve how easy you're found online.