FishbowlRewards is a unique, affordable, innovative program that provides small businesses a powerful yet simple way to keep their customers coming back again and again. It provides a method of advertising that is more “targeted” than any other advertising medium. And, though it is simple, it utilizes e-mail to reach their customers right at their desktops.

Businesses are provided with an attractive sign that will be placed near their checkout location or in their lobby. That sign asks customers to drop their business cards (or registration forms, if they prefer) into a “fishbowl” which is located next to the sign. Each business card or form deposited must include an email address for that customer. Customers have proven eager to leave their business cards because, by doing so, they become eligible to win a drawing that will take place monthly (a free lunch, etc.). The small business provides the product, service, discount, etc. that is the prize for each week’s winner. The business owner regularly gathers the business cards that have been collected in their fishbowl and submits them to XR1. XR1 enters all such names into a database from which the company’s “email patrons” mailing list is created. As the weeks pass, the list will continue to grow until hundreds of people are receiving the monthly email message announcing the Grand Prize winner, and offering EVERY participant a promotional special designed to encourage repeat business and build a bond with that customer.

In consideration for these services, XR1 is granted two things. First, we are contracted as the exclusive provider of such email services for that business. We are also granted the right to sell companion advertisements that will follow the client’s lead ad in all emails sent. While national advertising is not excluded, such ads will typically be sold to other area businesses (via Cornerpost), which do not directly compete with our client’s business. We own all lists developed -- although we have a conservative, privacy-friendly “opt-in” policy -- and assume all responsibilities for and liabilities associated with the administration of the program. We retain the right to sell these advertisements to the noncompetitive entities of our choice at rates that we deem appropriate.

In a nutshell, FishbowlRewards is an incredibly powerful, yet simple, tool for helping our small business clients retain customers. It converts brick-and-mortar customers into a powerful, data-rich (with information derived from business card data) e-mail list. This is a powerful tool for our clients, but also provides a great opportunity for nearby small businesses to advertise synergistically in our e-mails, providing the same kind of cooperative marketing that is the basis of traditional malls or shopping centers.

Finally, the consumers receiving these e-mail have proven to be highly receptive; they are receiving e-mails from restaurants or stores that they’ve frequented and are always receiving two, three or more coupons or offers that are convenient to their demonstrated purchasing habits.

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