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Two women whisperingThere are 56 gift shops listed in my local Yellow Pages. This means that in my city of 285,000 people there is one gift shop for every 5,000 persons. Three of these gift shops have a web site address listed and one has an email address published. None of them have display ads so they are all simply listed alphabetically, one after the other.

I’ve visited and purchased from 8 of them. Only one of those 8 ever sends me notices about their specials. I suppose a listing in the Yellow Pages is better than nothing. At least people can go there and look for the gift shop closest to them. Without a pricey display ad, though, there’s little in the local Yellow Pages to tell one gift shop from another.

Imagine, if you will, being the customer of the one gift shop who sends their customers email messages. Their message arrives in your email’s inbox and when you open it, the message is a simple announcement about their seasonal clearance sale. Nice to know but since you don’t need another doo-dad right now, that messages promptly gets dumped in your trash bin.

Now imagine this, you open their message and the owner of the shop is telling you all about meeting a pottery artist on the way home from her last trip to the cottage. This artist has developed a particular glazing technique he learned while on an artist’s retreat in Arizona. You can learn more about this artist by clicking on a link in the email message. The link takes you to the gift shop’s blog where you can read the full article about the new artist.

Would you say that this gift shop owner has given you something to talk about?