Most of us know that Facebook and Instagram crashed on October 4th. No one could refresh, post, comment, share, run ads, nothing, nada…. for around 6 hours. The panic for some was real!
My Mondays tend to be booked with back-to-back client calls. While I did notice there was an issue, but I definitely wasn’t in a panic.
I’m sure you’ve seen all the posts from other experts about how the Facebook/IG crash should serve as a reminder to lean into your email list.
And yes, I think that’s a great suggestion—I talk about email marketing ALL-THE-TIME!
But so many other things crash, too, especially when our world is more and more dependent on the internet. Many of our marketing efforts these days rely on technology. And not one of them is foolproof.
So aside from Facebook and Instagram, how can you diversify your marketing and communicate with your customers outside of social media?
Maybe it’s collecting their phone number for SMS marketing (text messages) or collecting their actual physical home address (yes, you can still send snail mail!).
Or, the one thing you probably keep hearing: collect your customers’ email addresses.
How Email Marketing Can Benefit Your Retail Business
When we wear all the hats, the thought of email marketing can be overwhelming. But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.
For now, let’s take the “should” out of the equation, and let’s simply talk about the benefits for you and your retail business.
You Own Your Data
Your email list is YOURS. No one can take it away from you!
You’ll always be able to reach your customers, even in a “crisis” (like a social media crash).
And if you worry about losing your list to a software or system crash, email service providers let you download and backup your information. We do this once or twice a year to make sure we always have a copy.
You Can Serve Your Customers Well
Whether you choose to do a newsletter, a weekly tip or offer special promotions just to your email subscribers, there are so many ways you can serve your customers. They’re the priority, and email is a great way to serve them.
Email Converts for Retailers
Historically, email converts well for retailers. Email subscribers will open your email and then decide to buy from you, whether in person or via your online shop.
Choosing the Right Email Platform for You
Ideally, you’ll want to choose an email marketing provider that works best with your retail ecosystem. This means you want to choose something that integrates well with your POS system and your eCommerce platform.
To be honest, though, some of those programs can be intimidating, hard to learn, robust, and pricey—especially when you’re starting out.
I want you to use an email marketing platform that works well for your business and helps you automate and convert. Systems like Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Marsello, and more can be incredible for retailers.
BUT if you’re avoiding email marketing because it all feels too complex and techy and complicated, you should just start somewhere.
That’s why I like and recommend Flodesk.
Is Flodesk perfect? Nope.
Does it integrate with my retail ecosystem for my retail business? Kind of.
Is it robust? Nope, not that either (but they are constantly working on improving it).
But I still like and recommend Flodesk because it’s easy to use and visually appealing, especially for beginners.
I would much rather use a system where I can communicate with my customers and not shy away from designing or writing the emails than sign up and pay for a system that I can’t figure out—or worse yet, not email my customers AT ALL.
For me, it’s baby steps. Can you uplevel, upgrade, and move on to a new platform later? Yes, for sure! And I hope you do!
But if you just want a place to start that’s easy, you can try something like Flodesk.
In previous episodes, I’ve mentioned that Flodesk has a beta offer for unlimited subscribers and emails for $19, but that’s ending soon. Sign up with my referral link if you want to start building a list and connecting with your customers via email.
Another Social Media Alternative: Google My Business
There’s one other alternative to social media that is undervalued and underutilized by retailers…
Google My Business!
If you have a physical location, claim your listing/location. It’s FREE and only takes 20-30 minutes to set up initially.
Once you claim your listing, just start filling in the blanks and answer the questions about your business. It’s essentially a Yellow Pages listing for the internet.
Why I Didn’t Panic During the Crash
So, why wasn’t I in a panic when FB and IG went down?
Because I knew I could communicate with my customers in other ways.
By mid-afternoon, I decided to send an email to members of Master Shopkeepers to check-in. Both of my groups—the Shopkeeper’s Lab and Master Shopkeepers—are hosted within Facebook groups. But I have everyone’s email address and a backup plan if I ever need one.
For my store, I have a decent email list that is pretty effective. Our email open rate has been averaging around 29-30% and considering the average open rate in the retail industry is 18%, I’m pretty happy with that.
I certainly missed engaging in my groups. But not once did I feel like either of my businesses would crash. And even if it felt like that, your business wouldn’t crash without social media, either.
Taking a Social Media Break Can Be a Good Thing
Last but not least, you know what else is good? TAKING A BREAK!
There is nothing wrong with decompressing and cleansing our souls from social media.
When I checked in with Master Shopkeepers, I received a variety of responses about the social media crash. One of my favorites was this:
“The shop is spotless, my text and email blasts are ready for next month already, and I have all of my metrics done for October. Sooooo is that a win?!?!”
Hell yeah, that’s a WIN!
Taking a break sounds refreshing, right? You might even take a nice, long deep breath, drop your shoulders, and smile. I can’t think of a better way to be savvy and boss up.
*Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links or referral codes, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link or using the code. I make recommendations because I genuinely believe they are useful to shopkeepers. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
- Ep. 21: Why You Should Have an Email List and How to Get Started
- Sign up for Flodesk while they’re still offering half off for unlimited subscribers & emails (through Nov. 2, 2021)
- [03:41] How Email Marketing Can Benefit Your Retail Business
- [05:59] Choosing the Right Email Platform for You
- [12:33] Another Social Media Alternative: Google My Business
- [14:15] Why I Didn’t Panic During the Crash
- [16:42] Taking a Social Media Break Can Be a Good Thing