On July 11, 2011, we commemorated an important day in American history. It was Free Slurpee Day. You see, 84 years prior, the national convenience store 7-Eleven was born. And hats off to their marketing team for using that day to get free online and offline exposure for the company's birthday celebration. On 7/11, anyone could stop by for the 7.11 ounce slushy treat flavor of their choices. Genius!
Here are five things small business can learn from 7-Eleven's Free Slurpee Day:
1. People like free stuff
Give potential customers the opportunity to try your products and services before they purchase them. If you don't have a free product like 7-Eleven's Slurpee to giveaway, create one. Your offer can be a simple 15-minute consultation, a checklist or an eBook. The goal is to make it an irresistible offer, enticing enough for your prospective customers to say "I want that!"
2. Press releases still work
Create newsworthy press releases for everything. You never know who may find your story, products or services fascinating. Remember, journalists use the Internet, too! A well-crafted press release goes a long way to increase the exposure for your business. The 7-Eleven promotion was broadcast on major TV shows, the radio and reported in the newspaper.
3. Social media rocks
The word of mouth marketing that took place on Facebook and Twitter was amazing. People (I was one of them) were spreading the word by posting 7-Eleven's Free Slurpee Day on their Facebook status. I lost count of how many tweets I received from my followers. But what I did notice was the word "Slurpee" trending on Twitter.
4. Be prepared if you run out
What happens if you run out of your free offer? Well with the 7-Eleven I visited, nothing! There was a sign on the door indicating they ran out of cups so no more free Slurpees. Now this was a bummer because it was a real scorcher at 99 degrees in the shade, and cooling off with a Slurpee would have been a refreshing treat. But also, they missed opportunity to satisfy a disappointed potential customer. Why not offer me a 50 percent off coupon for a free Slurpee on my next visit? Anything would have been better than the sign on the door. Why? It kept customers from coming into the store. Duh!
5. Always be building your list
In the small business world, any Internet marketer worth their salt will tell you everything you do should work towards building the list. 7-Eleven did not require a coupon in exchange for a name and e-mail address, but they should have to build their list. This would’ve given the convenience store a huge list of their ideal customers...those interested in Slurpees. They could then use this list to provide additional offers like a free Slurpee with your next $5 or $10 purchase.
Mark your calendar: July 11, 2012 will be here before you know it!
OPEN Cardmember Tonya R. Taylor is founder of the Savvy Online Business Building System, the proven formula for getting leads, customers and sales online.