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Saratoga Springs, NY – Move over Groupon and Living Social. One Capital Region startup is showing local businesses that they don’t have to give away 75% of their revenue to win new customers and get the word out. Email marketing works, it just takes the right hook.
Weeklytap.com, founded by live entertainment promoter Michael Mills, has passed the 5,000 subscriber mark in just 6 months online. The company has given away over $30,000 in prizes through its weekly email, and gets an historically high number of people to open it emails.
For the last 13 years Mills has owned and operated Mills Entertainment, a national producer of live theater tours. Like many entertainment promoters, Mills was finding it increasingly difficult to reach customers over the past several years. “TV and radio are expensive and eat up a huge part of an event’s marketing budget. Now Groupon is selling tickets too – but you have to give up 75% of the ticket revenue through the discount and commission – it makes it tough to make a profit. As a promoter, I need to reach as many people as I can, as inexpensively as I can.”
To get away from taking the lion’s share of an advertiser’s revenue, Weeklytap.com charges a flat rate for its promotions. It then takes part of the cost of a promotion and reinvests in its advertisers by purchasing prizes from them to give away to its members. “We believe that our advertisers offer something exciting to our subscribers and we put our money where our mouth is,” Mills said.
Over 45% of WeeklyTap’s members open their weekly email. That’s nearly triple the average open rate of 16.9% for the entertainment industry as a whole (source: MailChimp.com 2010 Email Marketing Benchmarks by Industry Report). “The key,” says Mr. Mills, “is to provide excitement and value to your email subscriber. In WeeklyTap’s case, it’s that subscribers may learn they’ve won great prizes.”
“You don’t have to give away free stuff to be relevant to your customer,” says Mr. Mills, “you just have to give them what they want.”
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