For small businesses who are interested in growing their email marketing and transactional email in order to better market and reduce costs, I wanted to share two new ways to collect emails, which just happen to dovetail into two new ways to make money.
2 New Ways to Get Email Addresses:
In the past, you may have ‘straight-up asked’ people for their email addresses with a paper form in your office or a web form on your website. You may have even incentivized them with a coupon for handing over such valuable information. But maybe this hasn’t worked so well for whatever reason (fear of spam? older client base?) so here are two new ways to collect email addresses:
1. Ask the patient or customer at checkout whether or not they’d like their statement receipt emailed to them. If they don’t have an email on file, we add it then. People may be more likely to give you their email address when it has to do with transactional information like statements and balances.
2. Allow patients/customers/donors to make payments online or to buy products (like toothpaste or gift certificates) online. In either of these cases, the patient will be required to enter their email address. These also happen to be the two new ways to get money.
While cost savings associated with email vs. paper mailings, turning off the lights when you’re not using them, and stopping the local newspaper might work for a while, eventually you’re going to want to start getting more cash flow in the door. You’re going to want to leverage the website you’ve already paid for to start collecting payments and/or selling products online.
2 New Ways to Get Money:
If you don’t already take payments online, your paitents or customers are paying in person or by mail. Why are you making it so hard for your constituents to give you money?. Here are two ways you can get patients or donors, respectively, to start paying online:
1. Allow patients, customers, or donors to make a payment online. These payments can be setup as a one-time or recurring payment and can be stand-alone or embedded in an ecommerce platform like OScommerce, WP-e-Commerce for WordPress, or Shopify. I’ve also heard Big Commerce is good, but have no experience with it.
2. Sell something online that you can ship to them – a new revenue source. If your office is already used to mailing out packages daily via USPS, FedEx, and UPS, why not add product sales to the mix? Think of it as a value-added service to your business by saving your customers or patients a trip to the office to pick something up you sell.
One of the most confusing aspects of setting up and accepting payments online via credit card or debit card is the “payment gateway” which is the service that actually processes the transaction. There are plenty of banks and other companies that offer this service with a host of different requirements and possibilities. While I recommend using Square for some small businesses, they do not offer a web payment gateway. The alternative to Square is Stripe, which has similar pricing and transparency. Paypal has traditionally been a great option and one I have used in the past, but Stripe is making it easier to stay PCI-compliant due to the way their technology keeps all the credit card processing on their servers. However, according to their site, “SSL is required when you use Stripe.js to make live charges. If you aren’t using Stripe.js, you’ll also need to ensure your server is fully PCI compliant.”
If you would like to learn how to add payments to your website and are located in the Indianapolis, Indiana area, please give Erich Stauffer a call.