Utilizing email automation to maintain your existing customer base and grow your business seems simple but there are several things to keep in mind to ensure your communication is as effective as possible. First, let’s consider all of the information you can easily gather from your customer during their initial visit. Whether you run a karting facility, trampoline park or other family entertainment center (FEC), you are able to collect some basic information about your guests when they sign waivers. This data is 'gold' to providing your business with the foundation for strong email marketing campaigns. Let's take a look at the top mistakes to avoid when creating your marketing emails so you can maximize results.
MISTAKE #1: Not requiring additional information, such as birthdate, email address, or whatever else you might think would be useful. This data is key to crafting personal and meaningful emails that your customers will want to read. It takes little to no time to request 1-3 additional fields that will help your business maximize communication with your customers.
PRO TIP: If you have a facility with multiple locations, add a field for county or state to help you market the right offers for the location(s) most relevant to your customers.
This quickly brings us to our next big no, no.
MISTAKE #2: Not including a check box for guests to properly consent to sending them emails. In addition to your checkbox, be sure to comply with the appropriate privacy policies, The CAN-SPAM Act and/or GDPR standards to ensure clear consent to send a person emails in the future. There’s nothing worse than getting off to a bad start by sending emails to someone that doesn’t want them or isn’t expecting them. You're also guaranteed more unsubscribes that way.
MISTAKE #3: Not leveraging the extra information you required such as birthday. There's no point in collecting extra information if you’re not going to use it. Use the information . you gathered and keep it simple. For example, you don’t need to create a new birthday promotion every year to get people excited about a good discount or free meal. In fact, If your promotion is enticing enough, your customers will expect and look forward to your offer.
PRO TIP: Be practical and extend your offer longer than just their birth date or the week of. If you make your offer valid for their entire birthday month, you can send 1 email at the start of each month to all of the birthdays that fall within that month. Also send a reminder email before the offer expires.
MISTAKE #4: The timing of your emails is critical and it requires a good balance between under communicating and over communicating - both are harmful to your marketing efforts. A week or two after a person’s initial visit, you can send out an email thanking them for coming and even offer them a reason or incentive to return. You can also reach out to inactive customers, those who have not visited your facility over a certain period of time, encouraging them to come back with some sort of incentive. The goal is consistency in order to keep your activity center top of mind.
PRO TIP: You can send out an automated monthly email that goes to everyone in your database who has not returned in the last 90 days, and include a special discount.
MISTAKE #5: Using a standalone email marketing system. While this might not make or break your marketing efforts, it does make the process of email marketing more complicated and the ability for automated emails nearly impossible. Managing your contacts in multiple databases also requires more manpower and time to constantly export and import contact information. Oftentimes, it’s a lack of time and resources that prevents businesses from automating their emails. With one, integrated software solution for all your venue management needs, you can simplify a myriad of your business processes.
PRO TIP: Take advantage of Clubspeed’s automated email marketing through its complete venue management solution for activity centers. Clubspeed’s software stores and pulls guest information automatically and will send these types of emails for you. All you have to do is create the email templates and set the criteria for when you want to send the messages and to whom. It’s little work on your part with a potentially large return!
A good rule of thumb is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What type of email communication or promotion would you like to see and how often is too often to receive an email? With the right communication plan and thought through automated marketing emails, you can leverage your email lists to drive revenue and maintain a steady flow of business during slower seasons, all with little or no ongoing overhead.