E-mail client list helps to communicate

Posted May 09, 2010, at 9:28 p.m.

E-mail marketing is the most effective and inexpensive strategy to reach prospective and current clients with a direct marketing and sales message approach. It also is a great way to communicate upcoming business events, specials and product offerings.

My quick-start, 30-day e-mail marketing strategy is a hybrid approach: an offline e-mail acquisition tactic combined with an online e-mail direct marketing system. If you don’t have an e-mail list-building strategy in place, this simple yet powerful tactic will get you started.

Here’s an e-mail acquisition tactic to build a solid client e-mail list directly from the people who have visited, stayed or bought a product at your hospitality or lodging business. This is one of the best offline e-mail list-building tactics I have ever seen:

My wife and I attended the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity in September of last year. We went to dinner at the China-Dine-ah. It was a cool restaurant with a great atmosphere and good food. After drinks were served, the owner of the restaurant stopped by our table and introduced himself. He was a chatty character, and I knew that our food and experience would be great because only at the best restaurants do the owners ever come over and actually greet you. As he was talking, I got the impression that this was not just your ordinary meet-and-greet. I was anticipating that a marketing or sales pitch was on the way. I was anxious and waiting, but I wasn’t sure what it was.

After he finished the story about how he started his restaurant, he pulled two business-card-size pieces of paper out of his pocket. He laid them on the table with two pencils.

He said if we filled out the paper with our name and e-mail address, we would be entered into a weekly drawing for the chance to win $100 worth of dinners at the restaurant. We told him we were just traveling through, so it wouldn’t really help. He said if we won the drawing we could use it any time in the future. He said thanks for visiting and that the waitress would be back soon to take our dinner order.

He made the entire proposal and interaction laid back and inviting. My wife and I both filled out the paper forms. Then the waitress came back for our orders and took them with her. The entire process was a pleasant exchange of our name and e-mail address for the restaurant’s e-mail list. It was very clever, and I admired his e-mail list-building tactic.

Yes, every week we receive an e-mail from the China-Dine-ah, including information on who won the drawing and the upcoming weekly specials and discounts that the restaurant is offering.

I can see any restaurant using this strategy to build an e-mail list of clients into the thousands in a very short period of time. It also can be implemented at any type of lodging property in the following manner:

At check-in for walk-in clients, ask them to fill out the form for the chance to win a monthly lodging giveaway and-or gift certificate. Leave the e-mail form in the guestrooms on the table or on a desk. The guests can then fill it out at their leisure and the cleaning crew can pick it up later.

This e-mail acquisition strategy can be implemented immediately. In a very short period of time, you will build a list of clients in the hundreds to the thousands. In the next column I discuss how to deliver e-mails to your list.

Get “Travel Business Profits,” my free e-letter sent to hundreds of travel and tourism business owners, travel industry professionals and marketers at www.mattzito.com. E-mail your travel and tourism marketing questions to mdz@mattzito.com.

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