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.