As a rule, I’ve never liked reality television shows. But because of some of the email I’ve been getting, I’m more than happy to make a big exception.
It’s ABC’s “Shark Tank,” which has become one of the few must-sees on my schedule. In case you’ve missed it, the basics are pretty simple. Entrepreneurs seeking money for their business or idea make a pitch before a lineup of six “sharks” — potential investors — who then have to decide whether to make an equity offer or bow out.
There are questions about the product, the business model, actual profits, even the character of the entrepreneur. There are lump-in-your-throat moments when budding businesspeople talk about their struggles and what’s inspired them to innovate. There are cheers from the winners. And there’s lots of dramatic music.
It’s seriously addictive. Last fall, I started watching replays on CNBC, following the cover story and interview we ran with FUBU founder (and shark) Daymond John.
Some of the programs date from as far back as 2009, when it premiered. So I started to think about some of the products and services that tried to get funding. Did the victors make it? Did the rejected contestants succeed anyway without help from the sharks?
While watching the show, I’ve been looking up the business hopefuls with my smartphone. I check out their websites, and because Who’s Mailing What! looks at email, I sign up for that too.
Here are some quick takes on what I’ve seen so far for businesses that didn’t succeed in hooking any of the sharks. Please keep in mind this isn’t scientific, just my two cents.
1. Leverage Shark Tank
Quite a few companies advertise their appearance on “Shark Tank” on their websites, which is pretty smart for several reasons. These shows are constantly being repeated, which advances consumer awareness.
Eco Nuts manufactures and sells natural soap nuts for laundry use. It often refers to “Shark Tank” in its emails, like a recent one announcing a sale: “Shark Tank Special: Buy 2 Get 1 Free.” It also announced the upcoming date for its appearance to be replayed.
2. Create Community
Another “Shark Tank” reject is Naja, a lingerie brand. As shown on the company’s segment, it employs single women or heads of household to sew its garments at above-market wages. That message appears at the bottom of each email.And many of Naja’s emails highlight famous women in history while making only a minimum sales effort.
3. Keep Yourself Top of Mind
Within moments of signing up for its email, I received a confirmation request. It was soon followed by an email thanking me and offering a 10 percent discount on my first order. How many other people watching either the original segment or the follow-up were sent an offer?
I’m going to continue looking at what these and other “Shark Tank ” companies do to market themselves with email, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Do you watch the show? Do you follow any of these companies after they appear there, win or lose? Let’s talk.