Use Our Proven Special Dates Contest Strategy

The following example is based on a florist, but the same strategy applies to a multitude of businesses. We will use the florist to help you understand the application of this valuable strategy.

When a florist goes to a trade show (or they could do this every month from their counter for walk-ins) they could hold a drawing for "Free Flowers For a Year -- A $250 Value." Give the winner a special arrangement on their birthday, spouse's (or significant other's) birthday, anniversary, Valentine's day or another special occasion. On the drawing card, have each prospect write in the dates of their special occasions, as well as their name, email address and telephone number. They can also write special instructions or preferences.

One prospect will win first prize. The key is that everyone wins second prize (though you don't tell anyone that). Second prize might be 20% off their order for the whole year… or better yet, a special bonus they receive with every order that has a high perceived value but a low actual cost to the florist.

Example: if a customer buys a dozen roses on four separate occasions and the roses cost $40, the 20% equals $32 for the year. But what if the florist offered a hand-etched vase with every order? Those retail for around $20 each, so the customer perceives they're receiving an $80 bonus. However, the actual cost to the florist who buys the vases in bulk is only $5 each. The florist saves $12 annually for every customer… and the customer perceives a much higher value from each purchase.

The florist enters all the information from the drawing cards into their database. Now they have a customer database containing names and specific special dates for each prospect. The florist can now send them targeted emails (or make targeted calls) throughout the entire year. Since florists normally have a 50% gross margin, they know that they can afford to give away 20% (or the bonus) and still make a handsome profit. Furthermore, they can give the customer such a positive experience that they can leverage them for referrals forever.

They could send this sample email script to their 2nd place winners and see what happens.

"Dear Susie,

Congratulations. You won our second prize at ABC Florists. I'm sorry you didn't win first prize -- that went to Mrs. Jane D. of Colorado Springs. However, your valuable second prize awards you a VIP voucher good for 20% off all flowers and arrangements over the next twelve months. Please bring in this letter when you come and we'll instantly apply your voucher to any purchase you make. See you soon."

When the database tells the florist that a prospects birthday (or anniversary, or spouse's birthday, or other special event) is coming up, they can send them an email 10 days in advance and remind them of their 20% discount. They can then follow up on the email with a personal phone call which increases conversions on average about 30%.

Any staff person can do this because the email is cut and paste, and the phone call is a basic script.

This promotional idea with the florist could be adapted and applied to any number of businesses. Restaurants, oil change shops, hair salons, yard landscaping and maintenance, gift shops, etc.

Example: How many times do all of us go out to dinner at a great restaurant with our spouse to celebrate a birthday or anniversary? That restaurant doesn't know a thing about you. What if they captured your contact information with a promotion like the florist and offered you special discounts several days before those special events? Many patrons would absolutely go back." And what if their email reminder helped to remind me that it was my wife's birthday or anniversary? I'd be forever in their debt!

Will every person buy flowers or go to the restaurant more often? NO. Will the majority? Maybe… but will some buy more often, absolutely! And if it takes little effort, time, money or risk to apply this strategy, aren't the profits well worth it?