Every year since I’ve started SlopeFillers I’ve volunteered some of my time to smaller ski areas. Some have taken me up on the offer in the form of a new website, others some design work on a new initiative, and some have been nothing more than sitting down and chatting for a while.
Last year was one of those “sitting down and chatting” situations.
I’d bought a few things from this ski area, but they’d never sent me a single follow up email, so i offered to help them get their email marketing up and running.
As we chatted, a simple question come up around the fact they’d tried email before:
“So, how exactly do we get more people on our list so we don’t just send to the same people we have in the past?”
This is a big question, of course, but we discussed three ways to think about it.
The first is to export from their POS and digitize all those hand-written email addresses on rental forms. The reason why is simple: past customer emails are going to generate more revenue than random emails.
The second was stuff like adding a form to their website or running contests that required an email address to enter. The quality of these lists wouldn’t be as good as a customer list, but there would still be lots of value and revenue to generate with them.
The third idea came in the form on a mental pivot I asked them to make:
“If you think about email as a way to get your message into someone’s inbox who is likely to want to buy something from you, ask yourself two questions: 1, what complimentary companies are already emails to their customers? And, 2, what would we have to do to get into one of those emails?”
As we brainstormed for a few minutes, we came up with a short list:
In that simple conversation, I realized something very important: small ski areas can sometimes be intimidated by the idea of partnerships because of the depth and complexity you sometimes see between big resorts and big brands.
A Simple Example
As I’ve gone from “clueless” to “amateur” on the partnership scale, I’ve learned one simple fact: I was overthinking it. Big time. I didn’t need a big brand, I didn’t need complex offers, I just needed another brand like mine and something that would benefit both of us.
Which is why I love Sir Sam’s partnership with Algonquin Outfitters:
The @torontoskishow is under way and we've got some of the best deals in the house! As an added bonus, buy any ski or board and you'll get to ski for free at @SirSamsSkiArea in Haliburton! #TorontoSkiShow #SkiShow18https://t.co/d6LwowOz73 pic.twitter.com/oDV68sCqEL
— Algonquin Outfitters (@algonquinoutfit) October 26, 2018
First of all, it’s simple. Buy a pair of skis at a local retailer, get a free pass. I can’t imagine there is much overhead behind the scenes of this partnerships to make it happen.
And second, it benefits everyone. Skiers get more value when they buy a pair of skis, the shop can increase the value of every purchase to increase margins and/or sales, and Sir Sams gets great visibility among their market.
Keep it Simple
I love partnerships like this, and there’s a reason I started with the discussion of email. Partnership opportunities are everywhere, and they can start incredibly simply:
I love what Sir Sams did with this partnership and I’d love to see more, especially from smaller areas.
It’s a great way to get more reach, it’s a great way to build relationships with brands that are part of your community, and it’s a great way to help everyone involved inch closer to success.
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