A poll at www.makeuseof.com notes that 596 voters have between 2-5 email addresses, with 315 pollsters claiming to have 6-10! This should be enough evidence to ensure your fun center is 1) collecting email addresses and 2) staying in touch regularly with relevant content.
It may hurt your brain to think about planning a regular email communication (or e-newsletter) to send to your list, but you should. The more targeted you can make it, the better. Also, the more targeted, the easier it will be to put together the content.
Collecting email addresses
There are many ways to collect email addresses from your guests (likely late teens and older):
- Till tape—Ask for their feedback by sending them to a page on your website that asks the guest to rate their recent experience and supply their email. In return for their feedback, email them a voucher for tokens or another small giveaway. Also tell them you’ll email them about upcoming specials or discounts.
- Comment cards—Again, gather some feedback about your services via comment cards left on tables and near the till. Note that they’ll receive a small thank you coupon by email for taking the time to complete and hand in the comment card.
- Online—The most likely place is wit a “subscribe” button throughout your website that directs them to a e-newsletter sign-up form, or on the page where they book a party room. The key with collecting email addresses is to let them know they’ll be receiving future notices about specials, discounts or other information and to make that first contact as soon as possible after receiving their address. This way, they’ll recall giving it to you, and won’t unsubscribe or mark your email as junk (which will give you a high complaint rate if you’re using a third-party email service such as MailChimp or Aweber.)
Relevant and regular content
How or why did your guests share their email address with you, and what did you promise? Creating content is just fulfilling the promises you made, or keeping in mind what they were doing when they gave you their email address. For example, if you have their address due to booking a birthday party, let them know they’ll be receiving a monthly email highlighting birthday services, special offers or news about recent parties.
Third-party email service providers make it incredibly easy for you to plan your e-newsletters ahead of time and automatically send them out. They also give your instant feedback on how many recipients opened them, how many clicked through, and how well the email performed compared to ones you sent in the past and what is common for your industry. Pretty cool!
The profit part
Most third-party email services will let you trigger emails based on dates. Sending a birthday greeting to a child’s mom a month before his or her next birthday will encourage repeat party bookings. If your guests signed up and were promised ongoing news, specials or discounts, focus on one e-newsletter a month that talks about one of those topics. It’s helpful to create a year-long schedule of your promotions and special activities, and prepare your e-newsletters in advance.
Delivering information to guests who have provided their email is the best way to build loyalty. Forging strong relationships with this group will results in more visits. You could even create an email focus group and solicit feedback on new menu items, hours, or other operational changes you want to make. This will make that group of people much more likely to recommend your center to friends—especially if a “thank you” for their feedback includes a discount for their friends. If you’re wondering about third-party email services, IAAO uses MailChimp. It allows you 2,000 email addresses and 6 email per month for free. For most fun centers, sending a monthly email is sufficient. But you may have niche groups that would benefit from more frequent mailings, such as a game or attraction that lends itself to league play on a weekly basis.
What have been your email list challenges?