Whether yours is a general bookstore catering to all ages and sensibilities, or a specialty bookstore serving a particular reader or segment of the market, reaching out to customers with targeted newsletters is a great way to stay top of mind.
Customers can be kept in the know with a general newsletter delivered once a week. But targeted specialty newsletters can be compiled and sent monthly.
There are several ways to offer newsletter sign-up to customers. I’m a fan of a small padded form at the register (one sheet per sign-up) or the web-based sign-up tools that come with email programs like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, and Campaign Monitor. (I don’t care much for the notebook full of names and email addresses for all to see. It doesn’t reassure me that you’re going to protect my information.)
When you offer email sign-up, allow your customers to choose if they would like to receive more information about author events, children’s activities, book clubs, signed first editions, new releases. (You can even offer subcategories, like listing the different book clubs, or ages of children’s activities, or specific genres for new releases.) Offer a box to check if they are a teacher, librarian, or educator, and if so, what grade level?
Then look to your staff to help write the newsletters, especially if they’re well versed in a particular area. Different newsletters deserve different voices. Plus, this illustrates the depth of your staff’s knowledge.
It’s a good idea to spread out the delivery of the specialty newsletters throughout the month, in case customers signed up for more than one. And archive the newsletters on your website so customers can refer to a past issue or audition a particular newsletter.