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Published on November 23rd, 2009 | by Janine Popick


Motivate Employees to Get Email Addresses – Just Not This Way

Gimme Your Email Address NOW!I just read an article about a restaurant owner who wrote a nasty email (careful, this contains SEVERE  language, folks) to his employees for not collecting email addresses. In fact, if they don’t collect at least 20 emails a week, he’s planning on fining them $100, and if they don’t collect at least 20 emails in 2 weeks they’re fired. This was reported by an anonymous tipster, but the owner does admit sending it.

Now I applaud that he sees the value in email marketing, however he’s crossing the line by his actions and demeanor (in my opinion).

Why not do it in a positive fashion, after all, email marketing will get customers in the door and stressing to your staff that the people who will benefit will be them, might just work in your favor. Here are a few more constructive ideas:

  • For every valid email address your staff gets give them $2.
  • If they get 20 valid email addresses they get a kicker of $50.
  • Have a contest with your staff, whoever gets a certain number of emails wins a prize like cash or a nice bottle of bubbly.
  • Motivate your customers to give you their email addresses by having “email only” offers in the bill holder. Test different offers to see what works like a free birthday dinner up to $xx, or free appetizers on their next visit. This gives your employees a reason to ask the customers for their addresses. Giving up something of value to get it in return can go a long way.
  • At the host stand or checkout, display a business card bowl or a sign up book, then have the host stop people on the way out the door and tell them about “email only” offers.
  • Give an automatic 5% VIP discount for any customer who is on the email address list.

These are just a few positive ways to get your staff excited about collecting email addresses instead of forcing it down their throats. If you’ve got any ideas of your own, please comment!

© 2009 – 2012, Janine Popick. All rights reserved.

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is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.

10 Responses to Motivate Employees to Get Email Addresses – Just Not This Way

  1. Well, in my humble opinion, he might have started with collecting e-mail addresses from the restaurant’s website…

  2. john middelkoop says:

    As we all know there are better way’s to collect e mail addresses
    He should stay in the kitchen and hire an expert.

  3. For Surprised: Sorry you feel that way. I was simply using a great example of a good idea (building an email list) with bad execution, in my opinion it was terrible execution from a management and email marketing perspective.
    You’re entitled to your own opinion, everyone is. Next time don’t hide behind a name like “surprised”.

  4. As usual good ideas Janine!
    I always think the incentive approach works better than the disincentive.

  5. Almelco says:

    I definitely like the motivation ideas, especially rewarding them for collecting rather than suggesting they will be fired for not collecting. I believe that most of Canada also frowns on employers deducting from someone’s pay as well. He should give his employees a bonus of some sort to encourage them to collect the customer emails. The old adage that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar really applies here.

  6. Surprised says:

    Janin, bringing up such an incident did you more harm than good. You are now a case study for bad use of 3rd party info for own benefit, and definitly not a email campaign best practice. Your recomendations are good but you have left me with a bad taste …

  7. Vince says:

    I like the motivation ideas. Instead of fining them for NOT collecting, reward them FOR collecting!

  8. All good ideas, Janine.
    Try this one for size, too: a client of mine is offering a $5 off next order to customers who confirm their email address. This is only offered to people whose email bounced more than 2-3 times, so in order to keep the list clean, the “bounces” are sent a confirmation email in which the $5 off is offered. More than 50% of emails get confirmed.

  9. Patrick says:

    In my experience, this is typical language in the restaurnt industry.

  10. You’d think as a restaurant owner he’d have a much higher gathering ratio if he used tactics like simple customer satisfaction forms delivered with the meal that rates staff and food, andhaving a way to gather emails off such a form.
    Or for those customers who wish they could just visit a “customer feedback” link also provided at meal time to fill out the form instead.
    Also if this owner did in fact try to dock pay $100 for not collecting the emails, he would run a serious risk of lawsuit (at least in most parts of the USA).
    Its kind of like most parts of the country now have laws that prevent gas station employers from charging the workers for gas driveoffs. You can’t just deduct someones pay because you don’t like whats happening… its either fire them or don’t.

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