Try This: Talbot’s

The problem:

You’ve got lots of folks signing up for your newsletter. You know you could turn them into new clients –  if they’d just walk through the door.

The solution:

Talbot’s had a similar problem. They have a huge direct-mail list of women who get their catalogs.

But they never come in the store.

And they can’t light a fire under them with email promotions, because they only have email addresses for folks who have bought online.

So, two issues:

1) They’ve overhauled their merchandise, so they want women to see the “New Talbot’s.”

2) They’d l-o-v-e to have email addresses for all these women. It would open up all kinds of cost-effective and highly targeted marketing opportunities.

The payoff: if they can get them in the store, some will buy at least one or two items. And even if they buy nothing, they’ll leave with a fresh idea of what Talbot’s all about.

Their answer: offer a small cash discount that’s available only when customers actually come into the store AND provide their email address.

Let’s zoom in on the special offer I circled above on the back of the catalog:

It kills two birds with one stone –  gets them in the store, and gets their email address.

Applying this technique:

Scenario 1: you want to convert email subscribers to paying clients

Many of you have lots of email subscribers. You know you can easily convert a prospect into a paying customer –  if you can just get them through the door.

So how can you get your email folks to stop by?

Extend an offer to your email subscribers that’s redeemable only when they stop by. For example, ask them to STOP BY IN PERSON to do one of these things:

  • Add their zipcode
  • Vote on which of three new classes you should start offering

Scenario 2: You want to gather email addresses from your current customers

  • Have an in-house promotion that invites members, students or clients to share their email addresses in exchange for free ice-cold water for the month.
  • Or give them $5 off their next class card or training session in exchange for their email address.
  • Or donate $5 to a charity for every person who updates his or her email address.

Worth noting: all you’re asking them to do is give you a teeny, non-threatening piece of information, in exchange for a goodie.


  1. says

    Hi Leslie
    Thanks for this post.
    Does this mean you add them to your email list without their express permission? And then of course, if that’s true and you add them…they can easily opt out with the next newsletter and you can’t contact them again via email. Or is there something else I’m missing?
    Thank you,

    • says

      Hi Janet! Great question, I should have been clearer.

      No, do not add them without their permission. Get their permission at the time they provide their EM address. For example, you might have a small form where they print their email address, and on that form it says “Watch your email for occasional updates and special offers. No worries – we always keep your information private and you can subscribe anytime.”

      PS I would definitely tell them specifically to print, or you can add it to your email list real-time if you have computer access handy. In that case, just have them spell it out loud, and read it back to them as you type it on your keyboard. If you go that route, just say with a smile “And don’t worry, we’ll send you occasional update and special offers, but we won’t fill up your mailbox and we certainly won’t share your private information.” You don’t have to get permission in writing, but you definitely want their agreement and understanding.

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