Hockey, Email, and Content: Turning Prospects and Customers Into Fans

Extremely successful organizations don’t just serve their customers – they wow them. Their goal isn’t just to turn email subscribers into customers or customers into repeat customers, it’s to turn them into fans. Fans who value the relationship they have with the brand – and who are vocal advocates both on- and off-line to influence their family members, friends, and colleagues to feel the same.

Email is uniquely suited to helping with this mission. Sometimes it’s as simple as a thinking of content that would be of value; other times it involves some level of personalization. If your organization is looking to wow your prospects and/or customers, here are some examples to make your own.

jeanne-winter-classicThe idea for this article came out of an amazing experience I had earlier this month thanks to a brand that continues to wow me and deepen my relationship with them.

If you’re a hockey fan there’s a good chance you watched the Winter Classic, which pitted my Washington Capitals against the Chicago Blackhawks on New Year’s Day. What sets the Winter Classic apart from most other hockey games is that it’s played outdoors; in this case it was held at Nationals Park here in Washington, D.C.

I was there live and it was a thrill – Troy Brouwer, one of my favorite players, scored the game winning goal with 12 seconds left in regulation.

But as great as that was the truly amazing experience came later.

On Saturday, January 3, the Capitals invited season ticket holders back to Nationals Park. This time it wasn’t the players on the ice; it was us!

The Washington Caps offered many of us the thrill of the year – the chance to glide around the outdoor rink where the Winter Classic was played.

Each skating session was an hour long; it was much less crowded than a typical ice rink, which make it that much more special. We took pictures and videos and had a great time! It was truly a gift.

So you can’t give your email subscribers a skating experience in their inbox (although I would argue that the video I recorded as I took a lap comes close). But here are some ways you can use email to wow your customers and start turning them into fans.

Sometimes all it takes to make an email subscriber feel special is to expand the content you’re providing them. Performing an inventory of the content that you have is a good first step; it’s one of the things I always do in the discovery stage of strategy engagements.

Here’s the question you’re looking to answer: What content do you have which might provide additional value to your email subscribers?

Since we’re talking sports, let me share two examples from the Washington Capitals email program.

The Capitals offer a rather nice buffet dinner before every game; there are carving stations and the selection changes from game to game. Obviously they know in advance what will be served, but in the old days it was seen as internal information and wasn’t socialized with season ticketholders.

But not anymore. Before every game I receive an email (example below) with the full buffet menu. I like it; my friend Doug loves it. He went through a phase when he was watching what he ate so knowing in advance what would be available helped him plan his meals leading up to the game.


The Capitals also send out a “Game Notes” email before each match-up. It’s a simple email that leads to the full text of the content on their site. It gives you a quick overview of the game, the key match-ups, and other information to improve your experience. It’s like Cliff Notes for those of us who are interested but don’t have time to intensely follow all the media leading up to a game (example below).


I don’t know but I would imagine that the game notes come from the coaches who are strategizing about each game. The information may not have been written down in this way before, but it did exist internally; the decision to share it with fans is very smart.  

So take a quick look at the content you have internal to your organization – and see if there are ways to wow your prospects or customers by sharing it with them.

Until next time,


Homepage image via Shutterstock.

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