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Get Summer Customers Back In The Fall ... With A Penny

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Are you ready to be ahead of the game? (Pun intended!)

By preparing for the dreaded Fall slowdown now, you will use your busy summer traffic to build excitement and anticipation, priming your customers for a return visit during September and October (yes, those months).

It’s time to play a game

Not just any game … every customer who plays wins. You win. Customers talk about it and share it, so everyone wins. But it’s still mysterious for those who haven’t played because no one knows what they’re getting until they visit the studio.

C’mon, Hillary, just tell us!

Scratch off cards are exciting and they’re inviting. A scratch off card hits the “curiosity” part of the brain that can’t help itself: it’s intrigued by the possibility of winning the big prize, it wants to try something because the anticipated outcome could be wonderful, and if all else fails, there’s still a prize, no matter the size. And it can be a really FUN promotion for you, your staff and your customers.

What will a scratch card promotion do for your business? It will drive traffic into your store over the summer (to get their card and reveal their prize) and then drive that traffic back into your store during the Fall, those slower months, to redeem it.

First things first

In addition to getting customers back in and buying during the Fall, what do you want to achieve by having a scratch off card promotion? Determine your goals: attract new customers, build your party business, focus on selling more of one product line or introduce a new product, class or event.

What will the promotion timeline look like? I would not run the promotion more than four to six weeks, so consider early July through mid/late August, and then customers can redeem their cards between September 1 and October 31. I would not have too much time between when you stop handing out cards and when customers can redeem them. Consider accepting cards the day after the card hand-outs are done. All these dates are entirely dependent on your traffic patterns: consider school schedules, summer vacations, etc.

Now plan your budget

How many scratch offs will you order? Look at your average summer weekly number of people/check-outs. Plan for that amount plus ten percent more. The quantity will also depend on how you’re distributing the cards. Are they given to walk-ins? Campers? One per family or all painters in a family will receive one? There's no wrong answer but you will need to plan accordingly and take all of that into consideration.

My promotional product partner is Matt Strausberger, Show Your Logo. He has put together an amazing package for printing these scratch off cards. His contact info and card specs are at the end of this post.

Members of The Creative Retailer receive an EXTRA 10% OFF their scratch off card order! Look for an email with the promo code to use when ordering.

The card itself

The scratch off card is a double-sided, full color, 2” x 3.5” card (the size of a business card). The front features your logo and verbiage to create excitement, with of course, the exciting gold circle, waiting to be scratched to reveal what’s underneath! Consider naming your promotion. Maybe something tied to the industry, like: What’s in the Kiln? Or What’s In The Box? (For a studio named “The Art Box”). Include the name of your promotion on the front of the card.

The back of the card is for your promotion’s fine print. You may want to include: one card/one offer per family per visit, card must be presented to receive prize; not responsible for lost cards; not valid for camps, classes; max value of prize cannot exceed $_____ (if one prize is 50% off one piece, you may want to cap the discount at $50, for example); dates the offer is valid; not valid for online purchases. And the prize wheel: you may have a lot of fine print at this point, so perhaps reference the prize wheel sign rules posted in the studio (display a sign near the prize wheel).


You can go in so many directions. Some ideas to get started: promote pieces with the best margins, collections of items, to-go kits, supplies, a flat dollar amount to redeem for whatever the customer wants, or a percentage off one piece of pottery or a percentage off the total sale.

Keep in mind of the ongoing supply chain, manufacturing and shipping issues. You will be dealing with all of this for a long time. If you are using specific pieces of pottery, a specific line, product or supplies, make sure you either stock up or have reliable sources for receiving stock.

Is every card a winner? I definitely recommend YES.

An example of prize distribution for 700 cards

330 = spin the wheel (I’ll get to this one in a bit)

300 = 20% off one piece

40 = 30% off one piece

28 = 50% off one piece

2 = $100 gift cards

Here are some other prize ideas. Keep in mind, some of these can be on the prize wheel, too – and I’m getting to that fun and interactive idea in just a sec!

- $ off a purchase ($5 off $25)

- One free piece of pottery up to $_______

- A free birthday party for 8 children ($___ each child above 8)

- BOGO (buy one mug, get a second one free; same or equal value)

- Pottery for two (date night, BFF’s; two people each get a free piece of pottery up to $__)

- One free to-go kit

- Consider the upcoming season and promote ornaments or seasonal pieces


Card giveaway: maybe mid-July through late August. Consider ending the promotion when school is back in session. Also consider when people can bring their winning cards back in to redeem (you don’t want too much time from the end of the promo until they can redeem it).

Would you want winners to redeem winning cards immediately? It’s certainly a possibility, however, if the name of the game is to get people back in your store when it’s slow, I would say no.

What should happen during the promotional time period when you're handing out scratch off cards (four to six weeks)

Take photos of people with their winning cards. You may want to save photos of people winning the BIG prizes until the end so others aren’t discouraged. Send emails, post in social media - continue to get people excited (and as long as the big prizes haven't been redeemed, mention that!).

Now – the prize wheel!

This is where the scratch off promotion gets even more engaging and takes your customer's curiosity and excitement up a level. Instead of knowing immediately what they won, they have to wait and come back to spin the wheel! Have a large percentage of your prizes be one spin of the prize wheel.

Here are a couple sturdy and fun recommendations for a prize wheel. You can cover the center circle with your logo and create prizes for each segment of the wheel.

- The winner gets one spin for a prize when they come back to paint during the redemption period, NOT the day they scratch off their card. This means they must come back to spin the wheel and claim their prize (and use their prize that day).

- One spin per card.

- No do-overs.

- And not too many rules, but be sure what's important about the wheel's rules and prizes is clearly posted.

- I don’t recommend giving away a class or future event as a prize on the wheel, as you want them to stay that day and spend money.

Marketing your scratch off promotion

- Start promoting the cards a few weeks before the kickoff. Share details on your website, emails, social media and in your store. Build up the excitement of the prizes, the prize wheel and all the fun around your summer event.

- Have a small bowl of pennies at your POS with a sign “Go into the kiln and see what you won!” or some clever verbiage that corresponds with what you’re calling the promotion.

- Post quick videos of customers scratching off their ticket and their reactions.

- Post pics giving out cards with fun verbiage, “What will she win? There are still many great prizes left!"

- Hosting team building or Ladies Night, classes and events during the promotion? Make sure everyone attending gets a card during their event.

- As you get to the end of your promotion and it looks like you may have extras, give one to each camper and/or children in a family or customers browsing. You’ll leave money on the table if all of your scratch off cards aren’t handed out (and people will want to know who won the big prizes).

Now the good stuff: getting those winners back in your business!

- Share reminders to redeem their winning cards on your website, emails, social media and in your store.

- Post videos of customers spinning prize wheel.

- When a customer redeems their winning card, make sure their email is in your system!

- And, since we’re all about repeat visits, capitalize on that second visit in the Fall to bring them back AGAIN over the holidays. What can you do to get them in AGAIN?

On the admin side

Create SKU’s for each prize to track redemption rates. Make them all start with the same name/code followed by the discount. For example: CARD25off; CARDfreemug; CARD5off. This will help run reports quickly and easily. Keep a list of these at your POS for reference.

Training your staff

- How to promote the cards.

- How to give the cards out.

- How to redeem them in your POS. Where do you keep the redeemed cards – maybe in a basket under the counter? Also what info do you want on the card when redeemed, like writing the date it's redeemed and the staff’s initials.

- Consider an incentive for the staff: when half of the cards come back, everyone gets a free mug or $25 credit, etc. You want as many cards back as possible!

Wrapping up and evaluating the scratch off card promotion

- When the promotion is over, run a POS report and take notes on:

- How many cards were handed out

- How many were redeemed

- how many of each SKU were redeemed

- How much were the total sales for all SKU’s

- Customer feedback

- Social media feedback

- What worked well and what to do differently next time

- Get with your staff and get their feedback

- Post one final wrap-up email with a collage of photos from the promotion, thanking your customers for a fun summer.

Order your scratch off cards from my promotional products partner

Matt Strausberger, Show Your Logo

1-888-253-5800, ext 1035

Matt has put together an amazing package for printing these scratch off cards:

- Minimum order is 250 scratch off cards (price depends on number of cards)

- 4-color printing on both sides

- No set-up fee

- After the order is approved and placed, plan for the cards to arrive in 9-14 days (includes shipping time)

- Low shipping rate in continental US

Members of The Creative Retailer receive an EXTRA 10% OFF their scratch off card order! Look for an email with the promo code to use when ordering.

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