Here is a story about how a local client used email to ask their customers to vote for them in a local TV station’s “Best of” contest. Now don’t think for one second that email made them the best. What makes them the best is the absolute dedication to looking out for the best interest of their customers and employees for the last 75 years. That being said this client was able to mobilize their customer base to earn the well-publicized distinction of “Best of” title with a rapid use of their email list
This contest ended on October 13, 2008. The television station had given the people of Western Washington the previous month to vote for who they thought was the best in the state. The only problem was that my client and their loyal customers didn’t even know the there was a contest. The morning of October 10th, my client had exactly zero votes. Many competing businesses had links on their websites and were asking their customers to go to the TV station’s website and vote. They had a full month to “get out the vote” we had 3 days.
That is where email comes in. Now it would be nice to tell you that my client had done things perfectly over the years and had collected all of their customers’ email addresses. The truth is they hadn’t, in fact, they had email addresses for less than 20% of the names in their database. The whole truth is that like most businesses, they had struggled over the years to collect email addresses. In fact, at one point they used a company like Ascendance Digital Media to append their list with known email addresses from a national database. That append plus frequent efforts to ask customers for their email address was enough to get the job done.
The morning of October 13, 2008, just 3 days after they had launched their email campaign they had more than twice as many votes of the second place company in their category. They had succeeded in encouraging more than 1 percent of their database to go and sign up at the voting site and leave a testimonial about their experiences with the company.
All of these testimonials have since been picked up by Google on their local business tool and my client has literally 10 to 20 times as many positive comments as their competitors. That’s a story for a different day.
Here are a few key points to take away from this:
- Get ready now so that you can contact your database on a moment’s notice.
- Don’t underestimate the length’s a customer will go to share their experience with others. (this cuts both ways)
- You don’t have to be perfect at collection but you do need to have a plan.
Having an email list and the ability to broadcast your email list on short notice is an absolute business essential today. Email is the preferred mode of communication for an increasing number of people. What’s more is that if they don’t want to hear from you, they simply don’t read the email or they remove themselves from the list. You don’t have to be an expert to get the job done. A basic understanding of the Internet and word processing is enough to get started. If you want a more professional look and some awesome tracking tools you may want to consider having your email campaigns managed by a professional (we do that). You can try it for free with our tool.