Earlier this week I received e-mailed birthday greetings from a car dealer, my dentist, a local restaurant and a store specializing in outdoor clothing and gear, all businesses I have patronized at least once in the past.
While none of these caught my attention as much as, say, the e-cards and e-mails I got from family and friends, they did give me a few momentary warm and fuzzy feelings about these various businesses (even my dentist). But are they more likely to get my repeat business because of them?
Maybe, maybe not. At the very least, they reminded me that they exist, and that’s a start. Only one of them, though, gave me a further incentive to actually pay a visit, and that was the outdoor gear store, which included a printable coupon for $15 off purchases to spend during my birth month of June.
Now, $15 isn’t a huge incentive to get in the car and drive to Greeley, Pennsylvania, which is at least a half hour drive from my home in upstate New York. But if I’m in need of some outdoor clothing and travel gear — as I was last June — it spurs me to go now rather than later. And I was pleased to get some $15 equipment for “free” when I presented my coupon.
How did the store — called Alice’s Wonderland — know my birth date? It’s simple. When I made my first purchase of some hiking sticks there a couple of years ago, the woman at the cash register asked me. Sensing my puzzlement, she explained about the birthday month incentive, and I gave her the info.
Alice’s does other e-mail and online marketing tactics right, too. You can sign up for their newsletters and join their rewards program for more discounts. I do question their choice of names — “Alice’s Wonderland” — which doesn’t give you a clue what they sell (it sounds more like a kids’ toy store). But they’ve been a family-run business for more than 70 years, and the locals know about them, so I guess they can call it whatever they like.
My question for travel-related businesses is: Are you taking full advantage of e-mail and online marketing opportunities? They’re simple and remarkably cheap.
Many baby boomer travelers have plenty of disposable income to spend on travel, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like a nice discount that shows up in their inbox. Like anyone else, perhaps more so as they near and reach retirement age, boomers like to get value for their money.
Are you rewarding past customers for their loyalty with financial incentives to travel with you or stay with you again?
Are you reminding them with monthly newsletters or annual birthday greetings that you exist?
Do you even know who your past customers are or have ways to reach them?
Alice’s Wonderland does, and it pays off.
Don’t forget to download my free report, “How to Ride the Coming Wave of Boomers,” available here. It’s all about the best ways to market travel to baby boomers — the biggest-spending group of travelers the world has ever seen.