Inn Marketing: Stealing Obama’s one-click donation trick

Internet Marketing: Obama's one-click donation trickLooking to land more sales from your lodge or inn marketing efforts? You might want to take a page from Obama’s fundraising handbook. Love him or hate him, Obama and his team are innovative fundraisers, and have a new trick that’s working like gangbusters to drive multiple donations from donors.

As reported by Michael Scherer in a TIME online news article, Obama’s fundraising campaign is now employing a one-click purchase trick (or donation as it were). This technique is similar to Amazon’s one-click purchase system for returning customers.

As you probably know, once you become an Amazon member you can place additional orders with a single click. No need to re-enter your credit card or shipping info every time. Amazon keeps the info on file to make multiple purchases ultra easy.

Obama has borrowed Amazon’s bright idea to increase his campaign donations, and now you can borrow it from him to increase sales for your business.

Inn Marketing: Stealing Obama’s one-click donation trick

Campaign reporters have blind spots. I can tell you, for instance, what happens when you go on, or what happens when you sign up for the Barack Obama Facebook app, or what happens when you tell the campaign you want to donate money online. I cannot, however, tell you what happens after you donate the money online, since I am professionally obligated not to go there.

But something important is happening there, and it could add tens of millions of dollars to the Obama bottom line between now and November. What is it? Barack Obama, like Amazon, is now a one-click organization.

For those who have bought books or baby chairs from Amazon, you already know what one-click is. It’s a simple idea really, that makes buying things terrifyingly simple. Instead of reentering your credit card information and address each time you want a new product, Amazon prompts you to simply click a single button on a webpage to buy a product. Instantly, someone somewhere puts that something in the mail to your house, and you are that much poorer.

The Obama campaign has created something similar for political fundraising. On Sunday, at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, I moderated a panel discussion about new media and the presidential campaign, where Teddy Goff, the digital director for the Obama campaign, described the campaign’s new fundraising tool as “new for politics and my understanding is it’s new for non-profits too.”

It works like this. If you make one donation to the campaign of any amount of money, you have to enter your credit card information. Then you are prompted to sign up for the campaign’s “Quick Donate” program, which allows you to save all your payment information with the campaign in case you ever come back. The entire Chicago campaign operation is built to make you come back. In 2008, the average campaign donor to the Obama campaign gave more than two times. Now when you return, it will be easier than ever before.

Once you are in the “Quick Donate” system, you can be prodded to give even more, either online, through email, or over your cell phone. And the campaign will come knocking at the most opportune times. Imagine this: A fair-weather Obama supporter watches the President deliver his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, and finds herself unusually excited–for about 10 minutes–about the coming election. Just then, her phone buzzes. It’s an SMS message from the Chicago headquarters that says reply to this message to donate $10 to the campaign. It’s that easy…

Campaign professionals will tell you that a lot more people come to political donation pages online than actually fill out all the information required by the Federal Election Commission to make a donation happen. Now giving money to the campaign is easier than ever before. And that will mean big money down the road for the Obama campaign.

See more on this story.

The takeaway for your sporting lodge or inn marketing efforts:

Regardless of your political leanings, the importance here is making additional purchases as simple as possible for customers who’ve already bought from you. After all, they are the low-hanging fruit in your marketing tree.
So how can this apply to marketing inns and sporting lodges?
Most of us don’t have the financial means to create a giant automated system like Amazon or Obama. But you can use the principle on a smaller scale.
Most lodges and inns require a deposit by credit card these days, so you have already have that information in your system.
So here’s how a bird hunting outfitter might use this idea: Most wingshooting outfitters provide a certain amount of shells with the purchase of a hunting package. And they have extra boxes available for sale once their clients arrive. But instead of waiting for a client to ask for extra shells, the outfitter could send an alert over email or text telling the client that most hunters find these purchases necessary. Then offer to hold 5 extra boxes, a case, etc., in their name for a discounted fee if they order prior to arrival. And offer to add it to their credit card. No hassle.
A bed and breakfast could use this idea to offer a bottle of chilled champagne and fruit in the guest’s room upon arrival. A guest ranch can offer massages, and other services that clients usually have to purchase once they’re on the property.
The point here isn’t how big you go with these offers, the point is making the offers at opportune moments. Either early on, while they’re still emotionally tied to their initial purchase or just before arrival when they’re looking forward to having a great experience, and willing to add something extra to make it more special.

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