“Our next raffle prize is a free haircut from Shine Designs, and the winner is…” Wow, what a great feeling for both the person who donated this prize and me! I’ve just won ... and their name has
“Our next raffle prize is a free haircut from Shine Designs, and the winner is…” Wow, what a great feeling for both the person who donated this prize and me! I’ve just won something and their name has been announced to a room full of people. What could be better?
New to the area and eager to find out what this person might do differently, I called the number on my prize certificate and made my appointment. Though the salon was on the other side of town, I knew I’d gladly make the drive every six weeks if I liked the result. Turning onto the highway, I saw a thousand cars parked in the road where I needed to be! I grabbed my cell phone and dialed the salon to say I’m stuck in traffic. I’m told that if I’m more than 10 minutes late they’ll need to re-schedule for another day. While it was tough for me to fit in this appointment, I understand their need to stay on schedule, so I don’t try to negotiate.
I dash into the salon, exactly 10 minutes past my appointment time to find it empty except for one stylist casually reading the newspaper. He rises to greet me and from that point on I feel as though we’re in a mad sprint for the 50-yard line. No time to look at styles, a brief discussion, and the next thing I know I’m hearing SNIP, SNIP, SNIP. Even though I mentioned I’d like to try something new, I walked out with a shorter version of the exact style I had. He told me how much better the cut was and I never noticed a difference.
Oh, and one other thing. I mentioned that I don’t always remember to book hair appointments and my previous stylists have kindly sent reminders. He informed me he always makes the next appointment before the client leaves. Not less than five minutes after that statement, he ushers me out the door with a handful of business cards and no next appointment set.
What went wrong? From my perspective, plenty! I’ll never go back and I threw his cards in the trash. If anyone asks me about my experience I’ll tell the truth. BUST!
Maybe his service is always that way, maybe he had a hot date, or maybe he had a preconceived notion that I was just there for the “free” service, nothing more. Besides, he’d gotten his name announced to over 200 people at the raffle event. What else did he need to do?
Raffling your products or services is a great way to gain exposure and the best thing is, your leverage doesn’t stop there! How do you make your raffle contribution a BOON for your business and not a BUST—or even worse, a bad public relations move? First ask yourself these three questions:
1.Is this the best use of my marketing dollars? 2.What message do I want others to get about the products and services I provide? 3.How might I leverage a “free” offer into revenue for my business?
Once you’ve decided to offer a product or service as a raffle, here are some tips for ensuring success:
1.Choose the event and what you will offer wisely. If the people attending are not part of your target market, your name will fall on deaf ears. 2.Offer a product or service that won’t put you in the poor house when it comes time to make good on that prize. Yes, some people will take the “free” prize and never return, so don’t over-commit on what you can afford to offer. Offer something that’s not a one-shot deal so you have an opportunity for repeat business. 3.Whether you’ve donated a product or service, make it a point to attend the raffle event and introduce yourself to the prizewinner. Make it personal. 4.Assume that the prizewinner will pay for your product or service the next time if they have a solid, quality experience this time. At the very least, you want them to tell others how great that experience was. 5.Ask questions and share information with them about other products or services you provide. They may not need the one you raffled again, but what else might they need that you offer? 6.Listen. I mean, really listen. If they say they need a reminder from you to use your product or service again, offer it! 7.Ask for another appointment, another order, or a referral before they leave. 8.Follow up with the prizewinner the next day or week to see how the product or service is working for them. 9.Ask for referrals, again. 10.Ask the prizewinner to contact the raffle coordinator and share their positive experience about your product or service. If you’ve donated to a monthly or weekly event, you’ll get a second round of exposure when the prizewinner provides a testimonial about you. If it’s an annual or one-time event, you might get a listing in the next newsletter or marketing communication to that group.
Donating a raffle prize can be a key component to your marketing strategy with minimal expense and risk. Following the 10 points above will keep you focused on leveraging those marketing dollars and reducing that risk. As for me, if anyone knows of a good stylist, I’m still looking…
Susan Franzen lives in Austin, Texas and is the founder of LifeU Coaching Services. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, as well as a Training & Development Certificate from Boston University. Susan coaches individuals to align their activities with their vision. Visit her site at www.lifeu.com.