Spurring Business on a Snow Day

Here in the snow-bound New England, we've had so many weeks of consecutive storms that the only happy small-business folks are the snow plow operators and roof shovelers. However, for the majority of the others--particularly restaurants, spas, and others that depend on daily foot traffic coming in the door--the constant barrage of snow is keeping people away and hurting business. But a few savvy marketers are turning to email, social media, and mobile marketing to lure in snow-weary customers on what would otherwise be a dead day.

Here are a few examples of how marketers are getting people out of their snow-bound homes and into the door:

  • Angelico's Lake House Restaurant in East Hampton, Conn., offered $20.11 special via email that included an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for those coming into the restaurant during a January 27 storm.
  • Finale, a dessert spot in Boston, sent an email offering a free plated dessert or pastry from its bakery to those customers that ventured in during the January 12 storm that hit Massachusetts.
  • The Common Man family of restaurants in New Hampshire used text messages and email to alert subscribers of a buy one, get one free deal during one of the blizzards. A second storm brought an offer of a $10 gift card good toward a future visit if snow day visitors bought two entrees.
  • Urban Outfitters got in on the action by offering 20% off to customers on its email list if they used the code "SNOWEDIN" when shopping online during a recent storm.
  • La Ti Da Boutique in Poland, Ohio, emailed customers a 20% savings if they came in on during one of the storms.
  • Even hotels got in on the action: The Hilton Chicago/Indian Lakes Resort discounted rooms to $69 per night during the historic blizzard that blanketed Chicago the first two days of February.

All of these businesses had one thing in mind: Let people know they're still open during the inclement weather and entice them to come in for a respite from the snow. As Angelico's Lake House's Joseph Angelico said, it gives people a poke to get out of the house and down to the restaurant. And such offers can have results: The Indian Lakes Resort had five to 10 additional room bookings because of the offer. That's five to 10 rooms that would have been empty otherwise, generating revenue in a less-than-ideal situation.

If you rely on foot traffic at your place of business, why not try a special offer to subscribers, fans, and followers to spur business on a day when people are hunkered down at home. Remind them you're there and give them an alternative to watching 14 straight hours of TV news reporters standing in snow banks.

Are you using special snow day offers to attract customers to your business and get the register ringing? Let me know how by leaving a comment below, emailing me, or tweeting me at @e_groves.

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