Organize an Email Raffle (Part 1 of 2)

February 26, 2009

Preface:  Let’s talk about comment cards.  Comment cards are made available to customers because, in theory, they’re a good way to not only gauge the performance of your business, but also collect stats such as mailing addresses, email, phone numbers, etc.  This information is used to market your business to these customers through direct-mail flyers and email updates, among other methods.

Problem:  Comment cards have some serious shortcomings.  People either aren’t interested in filling them out, won’t include the statistical information you really need, or they’re turned into personal mad lib pages for giggling teenagers (oh, that takes me back).  Plus they use paper and are somethings seen as annoying.

Consensus:  They’re sooooo 20th century.

Solution:  A more efficient and useful way to accomplish comment card goals is to hold a raffle where the desired information (email addresses) is an eligibility stipulation.  Have tiny slips of paper or a fishbowl for business cards at the front of the house and specify that a name AND an email address will be required to determine a winner.

The Plan:  Raffle off a technology-related product to justify this request.  Invest in a nice printer, or iPod, or offer to pay the winner’s Internet bill for a month (whatever you can afford), and prominently display the prize at the raffle table to increase interest.  Tell them the winner will be notified by email in one week, and will also win a gift certificate towards a future visit (whereby the winner comes in to collect the prizes, and, since they’re already there, they can plan it around another evening at your restaurant).

Is a week too long to wait?  Of course not.  The winner might not be eating any longer, so you can’t award the prize at the end of the night.  Plus, they’ll keep you in the back of their minds, thus remembering their meal and your business a little bit longer.  Not to mention the effectiveness (and fun) of dangling a juicy carrot and leaving them hanging for a little while.

Why an email address?  You’ll have to check back next week for part II where I will show you why this clever promotion will have them coming back!

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