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Package goods marketers describe the distribution of free product as a way to get trial - the ability to get new purchases from non users or low users. In our industry we describe the process of getting trial as the distribution of free games.
In our business, free games are a marketing staple. We use it as a reward, as an incentive, as a gift, as a donation and as an apology.
When we get people to join a have a ball league, we might give them 5 free games or 10 free games at the end of the program. When we want to generate additional traffic we can distribute thousands of free games within our community, via shoe leather, via direct mail and now via email, facebook or twitter. If the lanes break down during open play, we will give free games to those unlucky participants too. Overall, it is a very useful tool.
What is not as well used is the bounce back coupon and if it is being used, it is stuck at "just one offer". The purpose of the bounce back is to give the customer an incentive to return to our business again by offering a reduced price offering for one of our products.
However we should be testing a series of offers. Test a "$5 off when you spend $15". Put a 1 month expiration on it. "This coupon valid 30 days from (date)".
Then after the month is over, test a straight $5 offer, valid Monday through Thursday from 9a to close. Again put a 30 day expiration on it.
The following month, test another offer. Maybe a FREE pizza. After 3 months test them all by distributing one of the three to a different customer every day. at the end of the fourth month you will know which one "pulled better".
You can even distribute bounce backs for a specific program. Give your cosmic bowlers a reason to come in on Wednesdays at 930pm. What incentive can you give them to bring a friend. Dollars off? Free Games? Food? Contributions to a Charity?
Why go through this process?
Because what you or I think is a great offer does not mean a lot.
In fact, it means nothing.
We need to let the customer tell us what offer motivates him off to get off his apathy and into our center.
Every day in every way.