Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria: Home of Johann Strauss, Wiener schnitzel, and the waltz. Being the digital nerd that I am, I kept my eyes peeled for how the Viennese incorporated email in their daily life and marketing. One of my favorite uses for an email opt-in was through Citybike Wien, a chain of bicycle rental kiosks located throughout the city.
There are a number of similar bicycle rental chains throughout Europe and bike-friendly parts of the United States, but I was amazed as to how easy it was as a tourist to rent a bike. A simple one-block walk from my hotel in downtown Vienna (aka Wien) led me to a rack of about twenty brightly-colored bicycles, equipped with headlights, brake lights, and sponsor logos on the baskets. At the center of the rack was a teller, similar to a computerized parking meter, where one could rent a bike.
The kiosk has the option to list prompts in a variety of languages, including English, German, Italian, and French to name a few. With a swipe of a credit card, you begin the registration process for your own pedal-powered vehicle. First, the prompt requests for you to create a user name and password, which will be used for future rentals. Then, (and here comes my favorite part) it gives you the option to enter contact information, including email and an opt-in for a newsletter. Once you’ve entered your information, which takes all of three minutes, you select your bike, the stall unlocks it, and you’re on your merry way.
The benefits of this program are numerous for both tourists and commuters alike. I was able to see the entirety of the downtown district of Vienna via their spacious bike paths for only one euro an hour (with the first hour free!). There are a number of Citybike Wien stalls throughout the city, so you can easily return the bike at any stall conveniently located nearest your destination. If you choose to keep the bike for a full day, you will be charged no more than four euros, which is a bargain compared to taxi fares and transit prices within the city.
As you can see, I was more than thrilled with the convenience and affordability of this mode of transportation. However, I was looking forward to seeing the perks of signing up to receive their email newsletter. It has been nearly a week since I opted-in, but I have yet to receive any helpful tips, discounts, or even an autoresponder from Citybike Wien confirming my subscription to their newsletter or rental of their bicycles – All of which would have been a great way to utilize their email list.
I also noticed when visiting their website, they provide great step-by-step instructions on how to hire a bike, maps and apps listing their rental stations, and the ability to register for an account or Citybike card. However, despite all of this useful information, there was not one opt-in form and I had to seek out their website to find this information. Also, if I chose to sign up to receive emails through the website, I would have to provide my credit card information to create an account before I was asked for my email address to subscribe to their newsletter. For a company that makes it so simple and quick to rent a bike, they sure do make it difficult to receive a newsletter.
Inbound Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts