Four inspiring scratch card marketing ideas

Curious about using scratch cards to promote your business, but not sure whether it will work for your industry? Get inspired about putting it into action with these diverse scratch card marketing ideas.

1. A new start-up

What if you’re brand new and you don’t have a decent customer database? Scratch cards are a great way to build one! Use existing contacts and market research to create a target mailing list, and/or distribute printed scratch cards in high footfall zones.

Create a campaign offering discounts or other time-limited incentives that your prospects can’t ignore, then get them to input a code and contact details in a landing page in exchange for their juicy prize.

You can also use referral tactics to build your community. Incentivise leads to share scratch cards with friends, with both participants winning bigger discounts, competition entries or freebies based on how many new contacts they introduce. This is an optimal way of combining print and digital campaigns to the greatest effect.

2. Tie-in to major events

There’s a famous example of McDonalds getting this tactic horribly wrong and losing big, but we can all learn from their experience and be inspired to do it right! The McDonalds story goes like this:

The McDonalds marketing team ran a scratch card marketing campaign alongside the 1984 Olympics. The idea was to reward customers with free food every time the U.S.A team won gold. Great idea, right? The trouble was, they didn’t do their research. They dished out scratch cards with every item bought, not per customer, so the number of opportunities to win were huge. And they didn’t take into account the USSR boycott of the Olympics that year, meaning they vastly underestimated the USA team’s medal potential. Several outlets ran out of food with all the scratchcard freebies they gave away. Major profit sabotage. Ouch.

The lesson is here around planning, numbers and research. Set the parameters of your campaign so there are enough small wins to keep your customers interested, but not so many wins to overwhelm your business. And bear in mind what factors you can and can’t control!

Having learnt from McDonalds, major sports events such as the World Cup or Olympics are a great way to tap into the zeitgeist and get your customers full of enthusiasm for your brand. If you’re a retailer, offer small wins associated with the wins of a particular country. If you’re a service, offer a discount or access to a webinar or free checklist linked with the theme of the event. With a bit of creativity, you can make these big events work for you. (Public service announcement: Remember to abide by the events copyright policy – Big brands such as the Olympic Games and FIFA are very sensitive to the use of their branding and even a tenuous association in your design could lead to a lawsuit if you are not an official sponsor – you’ve been warned).

3. Upsell to existing customers

Scratch cards are a great way to diversify your offer and up sell to your clients and customers. Offer exclusive incentives to people who buy from you, give them the opportunity to take advantage of a high-ticket product by playing your scratch card game.

So, if you run a private accountancy firm and have clients who use your tax return services, offer them a discounted trial period on your management accounting services.

If you run a clothing boutique, offer a discount on your personal shopping service.

If you run a private dental practice, offer a discount on cosmetic dentistry.

Whatever your industry, scratch cards are a great way of drawing people into your sales funnel.

4. Enhance the customer experience

If you are struggling for scratch card marketing ideas to boost your business or services, why not try to enhance the experience and spend of your existing customers?

Imagine you run an exclusive gym. At the reception desk where people are signing or swiping in, you have several stacks of scratch cards. They’re all winning cards for three or four products or services you offer. And here’s the killer detail: you know what they’ll win, so you can match the prize to the customer.

Let’s run through some examples:

A regular comes in. They are signed up for the standard package but they haven’t taken advantage of your fitness classes yet. You hand them a scratch card. They win the card offering them free classes for a week – giving them the chance to enhance their membership at the end of it.
A family comes in for a morning swimming session. They win free drinks at the café. You know it’ll be nearly lunchtime by the time they’re finished in the pool, so chances are they’ll stay to eat.
A couple come in for their badminton practice. They win 15% off all purchases in the shop, valid for the next 30 days.
A young professional comes in. They win a free day pass for a friend, including 10% off lunch at the café.

You get the picture.

As well as the thrill of winning, you match the prize to the customer, ensuring maximum delight with your brand and their experience.

Whatever your business, industry or marketing purpose, there are scratch card marketing ideas to boost your sales, brand or leads in a fun, authentic way that resonates with your customer.

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