In today’s economy, it is more important to market then ever before. In order to keep your prospects or customers thinking about your business you need to have your business name in front of them. So let’s go over a few business reminders.
Make sure that you have all of your customers in a database.
Hopefully your sales information has collected their name, address, and email address, and date of birth. If you are not collecting all this information you need to fix it today! Use this database to select the information you need to start your marketing campaign. You can use a database like Microsoft Access, or even Microsoft Excel to achieve this process. If you do not have this data in a database you need to hire someone, a high school student who types 55+ words per minute to accomplish this. There are several of these students looking for part time jobs.
If you do not have a database, you can use sub-contractors to do this data entry. One way is to post this job on www.odesk.com which is a website that has people that will bid on your job. For example you can scan all your waivers into a file, send this file via the internet to one of these contractors to put into an Excel database, for approximately $50-200 depending on the quantity of documents.
Now you are ready to work the data
Let’s get your name in front of your past customers once again! You will want to sort the customers by date of birth so that you can market to them for birthday parties 60 days before their birthday. You will want to inquire when the local schools are out on vacation or vacation days so that you can be open and give them something to do. Some parents still will be working so they might need somewhere for the kids to go during the day. Find out what days are teacher work days when the kids will need to be entertained. This information will be key in your marketing campaign.
If you have their email addresses this will be one of the lowest cost marketing tools you have. You can use Microsoft Outlook to email the list of customers that have email addresses in a group at one time. You should be able to email directly out of most databases also. You can import your list out of Excel into Outlook so you do not have to type that info all over again.
You will want to use a “concept” and target a “group” of your customers. The “concept” is what you are marketing such as a birthday party special, Thanksgiving Day special, Teachers Day special, New Years special. You can use a campaign for Christmas Toys for Tots; bring a toy and free entry for the day. You can use a campaign bring a friend, you enter for free. You can use a campaign for canned food drive, bring 3 cans of food and enter for free.
Now understand once they get to your facility they will be spending money on drinks, snacks, equipment, shirts, etc. They are also bringing in additional people to give you more exposure. You have the facility; someone might as well be using it! So use it for your marketing to grow your business.
Direct mail campaign
This is very similar to the email campaign but you will have the cost of the stamp and postcard. I have been using direct mail for 25 years and have a great response. What we have found out is that you must mail to the same list 3 times, every 2-3 weeks to get a response. The first time they throw it away, the second time they read it, the third time they act. You will want to use a quality glossy post card at least 5 x 7 so that it will stand out. Cool graphics with a catchy title on one side and the details on the other. Drive them to your website to get additional info. If you have their mailing address and not their email address have something on the postcard telling them to log into your website for their free pass and collect their email address for the email campaign. We use (jonas put in the correct info here with the website) for our post cards. We pay $300 for 5000 5×7 post cards.
You can also apply for a bulk mailing permit, about $200 per year, which will save you on the postage. This is worth the extra work if you are mailing several times per year. You will have to mail a minimum of 300 pieces to get the bulk rate, you will have to have them sorted by the first 3 numbers in the zip code, and your database can do this for you.
This is an ongoing process
You must continue to market every month to grow your business. You must put money into your marketing program to keep your business open. If you do not you are jeopardizing the future of your business. Your past customers are GOLD. If you treated them correctly, they will return, some just need a reminder of what a great time they had at your business! Remember there are several businesses competing for their money; get your name in front of them more frequently so that you reap the benefits!
Larry Cossio has been and independent insurance broker for 30 years specializing in hard to place risks. He has spoken nationwide on insurance issues for several industries. .He has also owned a family fun center and a paintball field specializing in kid’s birthday parties.