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Getting Members with Events – The Raffle and Email Follow Up

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A raffle, for those who don’t know, is a means of raising money by selling numbered tickets, one or some of which are subsequently drawn at random, where the holder or holders of such tickets wins a prize. For our purposes, we’ll use business cards instead of tickets (you’ll see why in a minute). The point of the raffle here is not, as some people mistakenly think, about letting one lucky winner test drive the space for free (most people decide whether they are interested in your space the first few minutes anyway). The real purpose is to collect information for qualified leads. Here’s how it works:

  1. Container and signage. Get a jar or bowl and place it at your registration. Put a sign with bold, clear lettering that says something like “WIN X. ENTER WITH BUSINESS CARD OR EMAIL.”
  2. Actively tell people to enter. Registration staff should instruct people to participate in the raffle and tell them what it is. You should also announce this during your pitch.
  3. A qualifying prize. Qualifying prize means the prize should be something that qualifies the entrants as potential customers. A very simple way to do this is with a “10x Day Pass” bundle. When people put their business cards in that contain valid contact information (at least an email) they have the chance to win the prize. I do not suggest giving away actual memberships (for months or even weeks) because doing so ruins any sense of exclusivity your members feel by being actual members. The day pass bundle gives participants a set number of day passes to use, restricting them to access the space during normal business hours. They get something very valuable without you giving away the farm.
  4. Announce the winner. At some point, usually at a break or at the end of the event, announce the winner. Do one last call before announcing the winner to give people a chance to participate and collect more business cards. Alternatively you can simply email the winner (make sure you make this clear from the outset of the event however).
  5. Data entry. Now it’s time to input all the data from the business cards. This part is a bit tedious, but I haven’t found a good way to do this digitally. I know there are some apps that will scan business cards, but honestly there’s very little time savings (I can type way faster than I can process one card through a business card app). Important note: this is something you should do even if you already have all the registrant’s information via Eventbrite (or something similar). There are multiple reasons for this. First, sometimes people show up that aren’t registered and staff don’t get all their information or the check-in process is lax. Second, you should be crafting different messages for these warm leads than you do for other event attendees.
  6. Create warm lead list. Once collected, the business cards from the raffle are solid gold because they represent people who want to potentially work in your space. They are your warm leads. Create a special email list specifically for these warm leads. Craft an email for them that is highly targeted. Say something like, “Based on your interest in our Day Pass Raffle, we’d love to invite you for a free trial day at [space name]…” Feel free to follow up two more times or until they ask to unsubscribe. These should be subscribed to your general newsletter as well.
  7. General Newsletter List. If you have additional emails from something like Eventbrite, just add these to your general email list. Email them about upcoming events and tell them to bring their friends.
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I try to do the raffle at every event with more than 50 people, even during event rentals if the host will let me. It’s an amazing way to qualify people in the audience as potential customers.


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