Reaching out to keep customers coming back – Southern California Senior Life, newspaper for seniors – Managing Your Small Business – Brief Article

Keeping customers interested and responsive is a challenge for all businesses. The approach that Jerry Beigel adopted shows how an organized, consistent effort can pay off in customer loyalty.

Beigel editor and co-owner of Southern California Senior Life, believes that the promotions he has developed help distinguish his paper from the four other monthlies in the Los Angeles area that are geared to older people. It’s a strategy that could work for you.

In a recent issue, for example, the paper offered free pairs of tickets to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and other live performances, including dinner theaters. This year alone, the publication will give away 230 pairs of tickets donated to the paper through Beigel’s efforts.

There are giveaways for local sporting events, too, for readers who answer sports questions correctly. And every spring, readers who correctly guess the top Oscar winners receive free movie theater tickets.

These efforts not only endear the paper to its readers, says Beigel, but also benefit advertisers, who want to know more about the growing senior market. To be eligible for drawings, readers must complete a four-question survey that appears in the paper. The topics range from plans to buy a house or car to opinions on health insurance. The 500 or so responses each month are forwarded to advertisers.

“With these efforts, we think we’ve added the sizzle that is necessary to give us a leg up with readers in our area,” says Beigel, Who began the promotions shortly after acquiring the paper 10 years ago with his wife, Estelle, the publisher. Since then, the paper has grown steadily from 12,000 copies to 175,000 copies monthly.

Almost any kind of business can attract customers by running similar promotions in its advertising or by conducting contests at its store locations. Two keys are creating anticipation with advance notice about contests and recognizing winners by posting their names. Above all, customers must consider participating to be worth their time and trouble.

COPYRIGHT 1995 U.S. Chamber of Commerce

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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