I went to get my car washed last week and noticed a clipboard at the register with a stack of half sheets of 8.5×11 paper. It asked me simply to write down my name and email address so Sunshine Car Wash could email me discount coupons for free in March. This was a no-brainer decision. I didn’t need any prompting or to be asked. In fact the cashier had stepped away but the clipboard was right there front and center with a pen so I filled it out. And then it dawned on me, this was so simple yet so effective. I had to share it.
Now, I know what you are thinking. You don’t own a car wash and you could never apply this to your business. Yes, you can and I’m going to show you how!
First, if you do have a retail shop or storefront or a restaurant, you can totally apply this technique exactly as the car wash did only you are going to dress it up a bit. You are going to trade in half sheets of xeroxed paper for colorful card stock 5×8, so it’s easy to read, with your request on it. You can keep them neatly stacked with pens strategically located. You definitely want to keep them at the check out, and also if you have tables or other types of places where customers might sit down (think furniture retailer or restaurant), or where they’ll linger looking at merchandise. The beauty of a clipboard is you can easily attach a stack of over sized cards to it and hang it conveniently with pen attached to encourage information sharing in the moment. You may also want to include a receptacle of some sort that keeps completed forms protected and private. A decorative box with a slit in the top could be included (though many people are more than willing to share their name and email when they see others doing the very same thing.)
Second if you are in a service based business, perhaps you are an interior designer, a financial adviser, a coach, or an attorney, this can be done with style and ease. You simply want to have over sized cards printed up with your request for their name and email in exchange for the right to send them VIP savings opportunities, a complimentary consultation, or other offer.You can keep this in a lounge area if you have clients who come to your office and usually have to wait a couple of minutes or more to see you. If you are in the habit of going out to them, bring the clipboard and pull it out of your bag and leave it on the counter (if it is an odd size and colorful, often it will be more eye catching and draw curiosity) as you pull out whatever tools you use to take notes or otherwise work with your client. You can always invite them to complete it.
This is important because they are giving you permission to email them beyond strict business correspondence and invoices. Personally there is nothing that irritates me more than a business owner who gets my card at a networking event, or we meet for coffee and the next thing you know, I’m inundated with their email marketing that I didn’t invite or give permission to send.
The key here is that you are gaining permission to email them without asking them to subscribe to anything or climb on your “list.” And that is exactly what they are doing, albeit a selected list because they specifically want specials you’ll offer. This is better than anyone else you might collect because this level of interest indicates a predisposed buyer, instead of a random prospect.
Most of us are over run with email today and hesitate before giving out our information and literally cringe when we are asked to be on another list. This takes the fear out and provides a monetary incentive in the form of an extra percent off, free services, or the like. And the clipboard method is passive, you don’t have to ask for anything, just keep the opportunity front and center at all times.
Honestly I’m one of those who is almost entirely immune to a request for my most precious information, my name and email. This caught me off guard and was a value I wanted, I jumped in. When you are the value that your customers and clients want, they’ll jump in too.
Tell me here about the offer you’d make on your CLIPBOARD!