Every restaurant owner’s dream is to have a growing base of loyal customers, a predictable, solid profits, and a steady cash flow you can count on.
You’ve tried loyalty programs, advertising, and social media. I know you’re constantly bombarded with the next New Thing. But in my report:
5 Ways to Convert More Website Visitors into Longtime Loyal Customers, you’re going to discover something different.
Notice, I didn’t say something new. New never lasts. I said something different. What I’m going to show you is something different than anyone else is talking about these days. These are time-tested fundamentals of marketing. And these fundamentals work even better today, online, than they ever did before.
Coupons and specials opt-in
Downloadable and Printable Menu
Some people are motivated by the menu, the prices, the pictures of the food, the about us, but everyone who has visited your website as a result of seeing your Groupon or your coupon ad is motivated by Specials and Coupons.
Asset Management Awareness Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
National Caffeine Awareness Month
National Brain Injury Awareness Month
National Celery Month
National Craft Month
National Credit Education Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Kidney Month
National Noodle Month
National Nutrition Month
National Peanut Month
National Women’s History Month
National Music in Our Schools Month
National Social Work Month
Famous February Birthdays
3/3 Alexander Graham Bell
3/12 Mitt Romney
3/20 Kathy Ireland
3/24 Sam Ballmer – CEO of Microsoft
3/26 Larry Page – co-founder of Google
3/29 Sam Walton – known for Wal-Mart and Sams Clubs
3/30 Celine Dion
Universal Human Beings Week
National Write a Letter Appreciation Week
Will Eisner Week
Telecommuters Appreciation Week
National Pet Sitters Week
National Cheerleaders Week
National Consumer Protection Week
National Procrastination Week
Newspapers in Education Week
National Read and eBook Week
Teen Tech Week
National School Breakfast Week
Women in Construction Week
March 11 – 17
National Sleep Awareness Week
Girl Scout Week
Brain Awareness Week
March 18 – 24
National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week
National Animal Poison Prevention Week
National Fix a Leak Week
Health Information Professionals Week
March 26 – April 1
National Cleaning Week
National Physicians Week
3/1/2019 National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day / National Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day) / National Employee Appreciation Day
3/2/2019 National Old Stuff Day
3/3/2019 National Anthem Day
3/4/2019 Marching Music Day / National Hug a G.I. Day
3/5/2019 National Cheese Doodle Day / Fat Tuesday / National Pancake Day
3/6/2019 National Oreo Cookie Day / National Dentist’s Day / Ash Wednesday
3/7/2019 National Cereal Day / National Be Heard Day
3/8/2019 International Woman’s Day / National Proofreading Day / National Day of Unplugging
3/9/2019 National Meatball Day / National Barbie Day
3/10/2019 National Pack Your Lunch Day / National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day / Return of Daylight Savings
3/11/2019 National Promposal Day / National Napping Day
3/12/2019 National Girl Scout Day / National Plant a Flower Day
3/13/2019 National Good Samaritan Day / National K-9 Veterans Day
3/14/2019 National PI Day / National Potato Chip Day
3/15/2019 National You Think Everything is Wrong Day / National Dress in Blue Day
3/16/2019 National Everything You Do is Right Day / National Quilting Day
3/17/2019 St. Patricks Day
3/18/2019 National Awkward Moments Day / National Sloppy Joe Day
3/19/2019 National Let’s Laugh Day / World’s Social Work Day
3/20/2019 National Proposal Day / Spring Begins / National Ravioli Day
3/21/2019 National Common Courtesy Day / National Farm Rescuer Day
3/22/2019 National Goof Off Day / National Puppy Day
3/23/2019 National Near Miss Day / National Chip and Dip Day
3/24/2019 National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day
3/25/2019 National Medal of Honor Day / National Tolkien Reading Day
3/26/2019 Epilepsy Awareness Day
3/27/2019 National Joe Day / National Scribble Day
3/28/2019 National Something on Stick Day
3/29/2019 National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day
3/30/2019 National Take a Walk in the Park Day / National Virtual Vacation Day
3/31/2019 National Crayon Day / National Prom Day
In this article, I’m going to share smart coupon marketing strategies you probably have never heard of nor considered before.
Traditional print coupons and also digital online coupons are both a great way to advertise your restaurant. Read and learn;
What do I mean by “making your coupon marketing 10x more effective and much more profitable?” Here are some ideas you you may have never considered before.
Sell what you want to sell most! So many restaurants are marketing coupons for $5 off or $10 off certain size orders. This works, but coupons can deliver a bigger message. They can be used to create awareness of specific items: new items, seasonal items, more expensive items, more profitable items, the items you feel are your wow items, the menu items you love to make and serve.
Introducing customers to these items gives them reasons to come back more often, provides more ways to find something they really love at your restaurant, and more reasons to tell others about your place.
Create a coupon that sells a combination of items. This increases the size of the order while also getting customers to try items they may have never ordered individually.
While most coupons offer a $5 and $10 off coupon, I recommend offering a $25 off coupon too. The $5 off coupon usually requires a $25 purchase and and $10 off coupon usually requires a $50 purchase. Each represents a maximum discount of 20%. If you include a $25 discount coupon for an order of $200, it has the effect of catching attention. $25 is a big discount and it seems very generous. However, this discount is a maximum of 12.5% and it may be the incentive which gets a group of people to decide to eat at your place rather than somewhere else.
I just talked about the visual aspect of what a $25 coupon can have on people when they’re deciding where to eat. In the same theme,
It’s a fact, the word “FREE” gets attention. It’s magnet for the eyes and therefore, gets customer’s attention. FREE Dessert, FREE soft drink, Kids eat FREE, Buy 2 get one FREE, these are all attention-getters. When advertising in print along side of other businesses, your FREE coupons will surely draw attention to your ad.
Some people are “coupon people” and some aren’t. Some people make their choices around where they can get a discount. Some don’t. Don’t burden yourself with worry because you’re afraid everybody will be getting discounts if you have coupons on your website. #1. It doesn’t happen. #2. Promote your restaurant with the kind of coupons which make you happy when people redeem them.
“Coupon people” go online and use the word “coupon” when deciding where to go to eat. They’ll search “coupons for Chinese food,” “coupons for pizza,” “coupons for sushi,” or coupons for Indian food,” for example. They make their buying decision based upon where they can get a discount. If you want your restaurant to show up in those searches, you definitely want to have a dedicated page on your website to display and deliver coupons.
Your coupons should help you build a valuable customer list. Get the Name, Email Address, and Birthday so you can keep in touch and continue to send them offers directly.
Today, we can use technology for marketing automation. Done right, coupons can help you build a massive customer list and reach them with friendly messages and offers they welcome in their email box.
Email marketing works. Statistically, email marketing provides one of the biggest return on investments of any marketing strategy in history. When people give you their contact information they are giving you permission to send them your offers. This is a gift, and most independent restaurants are missing out on this golden opportunity.
Yes, coupons on your website are always available, BUT, isn’t it nice when people come back often? I always tell my clients, make your coupons so that when they’re redeemed, you don’t get mad, you get glad! Unlike loyalty programs, coupons on your website don’t require you to buy equipment, train your staff, print punch cards, or pay high fees for a membership or enrollment. Some restaurant owners who run print coupons in the direct mail packs complain because they only see certain customers once a month when they run the coupon. I say, tell them to run the coupon on their website and they’ll see the customer more often. As long as you’re giving modest discounts with your coupons, everybody wins. It ends up working just like a loyalty program.
Want to Join Our Email List for Information About Our Specials and Coupons? Every customer should be aware of the opportunity to be on your email list. Customers who use Groupon and every customer who redeems a coupon is already interested in money-saving opportunities. Most of them will agree to join your list for the promise of future invitations to your restaurant which include a money-saving coupon or news about specials and events. Do this with a link on the Home page of your website: CLICK HERE FOR SPECIALS AND COUPONS. It works.
Customer frequency (a key factor in customer lifetime value) is a vital measure of a restaurant’s success. Keeping in touch with email, with or without a coupon, keeps your restaurant in top-of-mind position and effectively increases the number of times a customer will patronize your restaurant.
According to Gather, an event and restaurant marketing firm, the average size party at a typical full-service restaurant is 3.7 guests.
Let’s do some simply math. An average restaurant can accumulate an email list of 1000 customers in a matter of months. If you have 1000 people on your email list and if only 1% of your email recipients respond-and if these customers who respond show up with 3.7 people in their party, this is 37 more people served. If your average sale is $20/person, you’re generating $740 in revenue. Do this once weekly and now you’re looking at the probability of increasing revenue over $3000/month. How quickly will you get to work building your list to 2000, 5000, 10,000? (And you can!)
One of the reasons you advertise is to keep your name in front of people so they don’t forget you. Some call this branding. Another reason you invest in advertising is to attract some new customers. Every time you advertise in print or online with a Groupon-style deal, a certain number of people who see your ad will visit your website. This is especially true of the potential new customers.
A new reason to advertise: to Build Your Customer List
New customers who see your ad will visit your website because they want a to know what to expect. They want to see your menu, take a look at your dining room, and your parking situation, among other things. Now is the perfect time to get these new people to sign up for your email list.
CAUTION: Nobody wants to be on your mailing list. They DO want to be on your Coupons & Specials list. The best way to get people to join your list is to provide coupons which require the customer to enter their first name, email address and birthday month (leave birthday month optional).
I recommend moderncoupon to be your coupon distribution system. It’s a done-for-you online coupon distribution and email marketing automated tool which also provides other great benefits like Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing.
Full Disclosure: Small Business U. is a marketing agent for moderncoupon. I get to see all the coupon activity of our clients. New customer acquisition and the frequency of repeat customers is dramatic. If you want to find out how we use moderncoupon to help independently-owned restaurants, call 1-866-799-2825 or email me directly at email@example.com
Valentine’s Day can be a very big day for a restaurant. Want to learn how to make it even better? Here’s a Valentine’s Day marketing idea I invented a few years ago and found it very effective.
I recommend you have a special Valentine’s Week special offer for several reasons:
How do you let your customers know about your week-long celebration of “The Love” holiday? Email. Email them 2 weeks before the holiday, a week before, the day before, and the day after, and always remind them the end date so they still know they have a chance to celebrate with their sweetie.
As mentioned above, you should also use Facebook, Yelp, Eventbrite, and Craigslist to market this event. Why not? It’s free.
Want some help with any of these ideas? Just send me an email: Andrew@smallbusinessu.org. SUBSCRIBE to get notified of every new blog post and my email Newsletter.
Use These “Holidays” and Topics to Fuel Your Social Media Posts,Emails, and In-Store Promotions
Adding themes and topics to your marketing messages get more attention, encourage sharing, and add more reasons to engage with your audience. Your audience is also more likely to read, share, and talk about your business too!
Free and Open Source Software Month
American Heart Month
An Affair to Remember Month
Black History Month
Canned Food Month
Creative Romance Month
Great American Pie Month
National Bake for Family Fun Month
National Bird Feeding Month
National Cherry Month
National Children’s Dental Health Month
National Grapefruit Month
National Heart Month
National Hot Breakfast Month
National Library Lover’s Month
National Macadamia Nut Month
National Snack Food Month
National Weddings Month
2/6 Ronald Reagan
2/7 Charles Dickens
2/14 Michael Bloomberg
2/17 Michael Jordan
2/18 Enzo Ferrari
2/22 George Washington
2/24 Steve Jobs (Cofounder of Apple)
2/25 George Harrison
2/28 Randi Zuckerberg
Feb 3 – 9
Women’s Heart Week
National Patient Recognition Week
Solo Diners Out Week
Feb 10 – 16
Burn Awareness Week
Boy Scout Anniversary Week
Freelance Writers Appreciation Week
Feb 17 – 23
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week
Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week
Feb 24-March 2
Take Your Family To School Week
Random Acts of Kindness Week
2/1 Freedom Day (Freedom from Slavery), Bubble Gum Day
2/2 Groundhog Day / National Wear Red Day
2/3 Missing Person Day / National Day the Music Died
2/4 Homemade Soup Day / National Thank a Mail Carrier Day
2/6/ Frozen Yogurt Day / National Girls and Women in Sports Day
2/7 Send a Card to a Friend Day / National Periodic Table Day
2/8/Boy Scouts Day / National Kite Flying Day
2/9 Pizza Day
2/10 Cream Cheese Brownie Day / National Home Warranty Day
2/11 Inventors Day / National Clean Out Your Computer Day
2/12 Plum Pudding Day
2/13 Tortellini Day
2/14 Valentines Day National Organ Donor Day
2/15 Singles Awareness Day / National Gumdrop Day
2/16 Almond Day
2/17 Random Acts of Kindness Day
2/18 Presidents Day
2/19 Chocolate Mint Day
2/20 Love Your Pet Day
2/21 Sticky Bun Day
2/22 Skip the Straw Day
2/23 Dog Biscuit Day
2/24 Tortilla Chip Day
2/25 Clam Chowder Day
2/26 Tell a Fairy Tale Day
2/27 Retro Day / National Polar Bear Day
2/28 Public Sleeping Day / National Tooth Fairy Day
Your existing customers are your best opportunity to increase your sales and create predictable cash flow, income, and profit. Build a list and keep in touch. Need help with this?
This article is aimed at owners of Restaurants, Retail Stores, Ecommerce Stores, and Service Businesses who sell a selection of products or services.
To keep it a little shorter and simpler, I’m going to refer to all products and services as “Items.”
You know the old 80-20 Rule: 20% of your items represent 80% of your sales (or profits). It’s probably also true that you like selling 20% of your items more than the other 80%.
Why would you like to sell certain items more than other items? Could be:
Does selling more of your favorite items sound like a nice concept? Well, it’s possible…and it’s easy. Why? because it’s an easy marketing approach and it works.
Most businesses show off ALL they can do, and all they have. They’re so proud of their scope of selection, but marketing every THING and marketing to every ONE isn’t usually the best strategy.
I know it’s tempting to try to get the most out of your marketing dollar by telling ALL the things you have to offer, BUT focusing on ONE ITEM (or one category), your favorite, can break things wide open for you.
The best way to sell anything you want is to get Google’s attention. Even a “little guy” like you can do it.
When Google shows your business on the 1st page of search results, you’re going to get more calls, and more customers for that item.
In keeping with the theme of the title of this article, start with the items you want to see the most: the ones you’re famous for, the ones you love, and the ones that make you the most profit.
Chances are, only a tiny fraction of your competitors will catch onto this any time soon. This is your chance to get a jump on the rest of the crowd.
This process is pretty easy but like anything worthwhile, it takes time and effort.
Every product or service you sell, especially the ones you like to sell most, deserve their very own web page. When people are looking for something very specific, whether it’s The Best Blueberry Pie Near Me, or “Install a Whole House Electric Generator in Haddonfield, New Jersey”, the website which has a page dedicated to this ONE product will stand a greater chance of appearing in the search results.
Combined with the work I’m recommending in your Google My Business page, this is a powerful 1-2 punch. It’s also a long-term marketing investment that’ll likely pay dividends for years to come.
When you invest in building a Rock-Solid Online Presence™, it serves you for years. It’s a long-term investment that pays you back over and over again. In most cases, it even gets better over time.
If you need someone to help you along with this, it’s well worth it to get someone with experience and the smarts to understand your business, your products and your audience. (ummm, that would be me and my team, so if this makes sense to you, let’s talk it over. Ask Andrew, CLICK HERE.
Marketing January, 2019 Holidays
National Bath Safety Month
National Blood Donor Month
National Braille Literacy Month
National Hobby Month
National Hot Tea Month
National Mentoring Month
National Oatmeal Month
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
National Slow Cooking Month
National Soup Month
Jan 3 – J.R.R Tolkien
Jan 8 – Stephen Hawking, Scientist
Jan 17 – Benjamin Franklin
Jan 17 – Muhammad Ali
Jan 22 – Guy Fieri
Jan 29 – Oprah Winfrey
January 1 – 7
Diet Resolution Week
Silent Record Week
New Year’s Resolution Week
National Pizza Week
Universal Letter Writing Week
Home Office Safety Week
January 15 -19
No Name Calling Week
National Soccer Coaches Week
Hunt for Happiness Week
Sugar Awareness Week
Clean Out Your Inbox Week
National School Choice Week
National Irish Coffee Week
Catholic Schools Week
1/1/2019 National Hangover Day / New Years Day
1/2/2019 National Personal Trainer Awareness Day
1/3/2019 National Humiliation Day, National Fruitcake Toss Day
1/4/2019 National Trivia Day, National Spaghetti Day
1/5/2019 National Whipped Cream Day
1/6/2019 National Cuddle up Day / National Technology Day
1/7/2019 National Bobblehead Day
1/8/2019 National Winter Skin Relief Day
1/9/2019 National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
1/10/2019 National Bittersweet Chocolate Day
1/11/2019 National Milk Day
1/12/2019 Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day
1/13/2019 Make Your Dreams Come True Day, National Rubber Ducky Day, National Sunday Supper Day
1/14/2019 Dress Up Your Pet Day
1/15/2019 National Hat Day
1/16/2019 National Fig Newton Day
1/17/2019 Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day
1/18/2019 Winnie the Pooh Day
1/19/2019 National Popcorn Day
1/20/2019 National Cheese Lovers Day
1/21/2019 National Hugging Day, Dr. Martin Luther King Day
1/22/2019 National Blonde Brownie Day
1/23/2019 National PIE Day
1/24/2019 National Compliment Day
1/25/2019 Opposite Day
1/26/2019 National Spouses Day
1/27/2019 National Chocolate Cake Day
1/28/2019 National Have Fun at Work Day, National Kazoo Day
1/29/2019 National Puzzle Day, National Corn Chip Day
1/30/2019 National Plan for Vacation Day
1/31/2019 National Backward Day, Inspire Your Heart With Art Day
For too long, I’ve seen social media marketing “experts” burning their clients’ money on nonsense…posting for the sake of posting but with no real strategy. That’s why social media has been a big letdown for most small business owners. A big investment of time and money, with little return.
In this post, I’m going to provide 7 tips that’ll make your efforts on Facebook and other social media sites easier, more effective, and provide a more measurable return on your marketing investment. (These are not in any specific order.)
Social Media Marketing Tip #1
Your customers who are Facebook users have an average of at least 500 friends. Many have 1000’s!
For businesses whose customers come into your physical location, the check-in is an excellent way to reach lots of people. It’s perfect for restaurants, retailers, personal services (hair, nails, spa, massage, yoga, fitness), healthcare providers (chiropractors, dentists), and more!
The Benefit of Social Media Check-Ins
When your customer is at your location and they check-in on social media, hundreds of their Facebook friends and Instagram followers could see this as a post on their news feed.
Your business name, along with a map showing a pinned position of your business, will show up on the post — which would say something like: John Adams is enjoying lunch at Sophie’s Diner in Quakerville, PA.
You have now made an impression on potentially hundreds of people, for free! And the fact that John has made this post is equivalent to a testimonial. It’s called “Social Proof” and it has the power to influence other people’s decisions.
If it’s good enough for John, it’s good enough for me.
I recommend that you post a few small signs throughout your business that encourage your customers to check-in on Facebook and/or Instagram. They can do it while in your place of business in less than 30 seconds!
To get even more participation, you can add an incentive such as a $5.00 off coupon or some cheap giveaway. This is high-quality advertising and it’s worth a few bucks. Heck, you might find out it’s one of the best tools in your marketing toolbox!
Check-ins that include photos (and especially selfies) are a home run!
Social Media Marketing Tip #2
Facebook LOVES to show live video, so if you have the guts to “go live” your message could get a lot of traction. If you don’t care to go live, posting a video is still a great idea.
I recommend that every business has its own (free) YouTube channel. Not only is YouTube one of the top social media platforms, it’s also the #2 search engine behind Google! Simply post an informative video (not a commercial) onto your YouTube channel.
It doesn’t need to be a professional quality production. The value is in the content, not the presentation, and your smartphone is all the equipment you need. After uploading your video to YouTube, you can upload it to Facebook and any other social media sites you use, and also embed it onto a page on your website.
Videos make you more trusted and place you in a position of expertise; with more opportunities to be shared online and referred to offline.
For some great ideas on how your business can leverage video, just Ask Andrew (click here).
Social Media Marketing Tip#3
All the social media sites have a Search Bar at the top of the page. People use these search bars to find people, but they also use them to tap into people’s posts about certain topics.
In your posts, consider what people might be looking for when they’re looking for a business like yours. Use a keyword phrase in your post which people might use when searching. For example, Electrician in Philadelphia; Best sushi in Edison, New Jersey; Pregnancy massage in Atlanta.
Social Media Tip #4
A call to action (CTA) is the most important part of advertising/marketing. Your post should always have a photo and they should always have a CTA. The CTA should be in the form of a link back to your website where you have an offer. The offer should be an incentive for your visitor (potential customer) to opt-in to your email list or to claim some sort of offer. You should still be capturing contact information as part of the offer.
The opt-in, the act of claiming a coupon, or some other offer, is the tangible and measurable element of marketing. Measurement is usually NOT what your social media marketing professionals are too eager to provide because they might expose their failure to produce a justifiable return on the money you’re paying.
If you need any help with any of the ideas here so far, you can click here to Ask Andrew for help. There’s no charge to get my feedback.
Social Media Tip #5
Repurposing content means using one piece of content on multiple platforms. You may be thinking “Yikes! What does THAT mean?” Well, let me just give you an example:
I’m going to post this article on the Small Business U. blog. Then I’m going to link to it on a Facebook post, a Twitter post, and a LinkedIn post. Then I’ll post it on Tumblr and maybe another microblogging site. I quite possibly will make a video on the subject and post it on YouTube, and then embed that video onto this post at a later date.
Repurposing turns your content into a more valuable asset. I create content once, use it on several platforms, and it stays online almost indefinitely, which can potentially serve me and my potential customers — forever!
Social Media Tip #6
You can have events no matter what business you’re in, and these events can be promoted for FREE online on any number of channels. An electrician can have a Smoke Alarm Event or a Home Energy-Saving Event. A restaurant can have a New Menu Event, a Blueberry Event, a Chocolate Lover’s Event. A Massage Therapist can have a Hair-Skin-Nails Event or an Aromatherapy Event.
My point is that an event need not require tents, banners, music, or a juggling act, but you can still get your event and your business on the computer screens of potential customers.
Events can be promoted for free on
All of these sites get plenty of traffic, so your event will be seen by lots of people.
Social Media Tip #7
Are you located in a shopping center?
Do you attend networking events?
Are you a part of a business organization or association?
Do you belong to a country club?
When it comes to your marketing efforts you don’t have to think BIG. Instead, think LOCALLY.
Work together with other business owners with whom you already have a relationship, and also reach out to form new connections. By collaborating with one other, you can expand your customer base because you’ll be reaching new people.
A smart idea is to get together and agree to Like and Share each other’s social media posts. Their friends will see your posts, and your friends will see their posts! The more that your posts are Liked and Shared, the more they will show up on other people’s newsfeeds.
And be sure add a compelling Call-To-Action to your photo. It will increase the potential of more traffic to your website, and will build your customer base even more!
And that’s what it’s all about.
Author: Andrew Mazer, Founder of Small Business U.
Contact Andrew at Andrew@smallbusinessu.org or sign up for THE ONE GOOD IDEA NEWSLETTER for great Small Business Marketing and Management Ideas.
The purpose of any business is to acquire and keep customers. Customer acquisition is rather expensive (advertising). Customer retention is rather inexpensive (marketing).
According to Dan Kennedy, renowned marketing expert and business philosopher, we lose customers because:
Advertising is what you do to get people in the door. Marketing is keeping them coming back for more. Communicating and demonstrating appreciation to customers is paramount to retaining customers.
Customer retention (and therefore, higher customer lifetime value) relies on 2 things:
A good customer experience doesn’t have to be at Disney World levels. Just meet expectations. I think everyone wants to be served promptly and they want the food to be good (on par with the price) and they want their order to be accurate.
A good customer experience means your service should be polite, and your place should be clean…EVERYWHERE…floors, walls, tables, chairs, outside, and especially the restrooms. I strongly recommend your employees be trained and required to make eye contact and say “THANK YOU,” and I recommend you lead by example.
Today, it’s pretty easy to stand out. Following these basic expectations can actually make you exceptional. This level of service will get you some high review scores.
Good communication is the Holy Grail of customer retention. There’s simply too many choices in the restaurant business. Your competition is every other restaurant in the vicinity. The power of their marketing, the ability to get your attention is your challenge. National chains and franchises have massive marketing budgets for TV & radio advertising, direct mail, and newspaper inserts.
But YOU have things THEY don’t. Read on!
Sign up for THE ONE GOOD IDEA NEWSLETTER for great Small Business Marketing and Management Ideas.
You, the owner, and your story is important to a lot of people. It cultivates emotional connections. Unlike the chain restaurants and franchises, whose owners are shareholders and investors, YOU have a story. You have a reason for being in your business. People love stories. It’s how the human brain is wired. Whether you started your business from a personal passion, or if you took over the family business, a paragraph or 2 creates a story…and connections.
Do you use your grandmother’s recipes for inspiration? Have you picked up great ideas from your experiences to other parts of the country or other parts of the world?…More connections.
What about your family? Is your spouse involved with the business? What are your interests? Pets? More connections. “Dog people” love dog people. Golfers love golfers. Adding photos of yourself, your family, and your pets make you likable, friendlier…a friend.
One of the most valuable assets you can have is a list of your customers with their name, email address, and birthday. It’s so easy to accrue a list just by offering a free birthday meal and an occasional email announcing your specials, promotions and events. A restaurant email list can grow from Zero to 1000’s in a matter of months. Tens of 1000’s in a matter of years.
Smart and successful restaurant owners keep in touch regularly with relevant information, an offer, a Thank You, and a Happy Birthday and Holiday wishes. This gentle communication, when you have hundreds, or 1000’s of customers on your list, will keep you in top-of-mind position.
Lots of restaurant owners don’t want to send emails because they don’t want to be “a burden” to their customers. This is nonsense because if they didn’t WANT your email message, they would have never given you their email address in the first place.
Every time I think about this subject, my cousin George comes to mind. His father started the Elgin Diner on Mother’s Day, 1961 . George eventually took over the diner after his father died. Although George spent plenty of time in the kitchen, what I remember most was the time he spent in the dining room greeting customers and treating them like friends.
I think every owner should cascade around the dining room, make his or her presence known because your customers like it. Ask them if everything is okay, like George did. He owned a diner, not a 5-star steakhouse, so if this technique worked for him, it’ll work for you too.
I know for a fact that the Elgin diner didn’t just have REGULAR customers, they had LOYAL customers, many who ate their multiple times PER WEEK.
Treat your customers like their the love of your life. If you can’t, you’re guilty of indifference which means you’re probably in the wrong business.
Author: Andrew Mazer, Founder of Small Business U.
Contact Andrew at Andrew@smallbusinessu.org or sign up for THE ONE GOOD IDEA NEWSLETTER for great Small Business Marketing and Management Ideas.
A majority of small business owners share a similar attitude about email: they don’t like it, and they don’t want to use it for marketing purposes because they don’t want to “burden” their customers with it.
Permission-based marketing is a gift. We’re living in a world where we’re usually trying to avoid the bombardment of marketing messages by using a DVR, satellite radio, Netflix, and YouTube. However, when people GIVE you their name and email address in exchange for the promise of providing some sort of value (and that’s the only reason they’ll give it to you), they’re giving you permission to send them your email messages. They have essentially raised their hands and said, “Send me your advertising.” I’ll say it again: This is a gift.
Keep in touch with your customers with email because you need to keep your promise. They gave you permission because you promised something of value. “What’s in it for me?” This is what people want to know before they give you their email address. But the best reason you want to keep in touch is because you want them to remember you the next time they’re making a decision to buy whatever it is you sell. You also want them to remember you the next time a referral opportunity comes along.
I will give you 3 quick examples of the value you can provide with email messages:
Keep in touch to maintain top-of-mind position with your customers. Provide good and valuable information because it positions you as an expert.
Tip: Consider teaming up with a non-competitive business who serves a similar clientele so you can share ideas and cross-promote.
This is an image of one of our client’s email messages as it appears in my inbox. This independent health foods and supplements retailer has huge competition. They send out informational emails frequently to both inform their customers and promote products. If the subject line of an email doesn’t strike a cord with the recipient, they will simply ignore it or delete it, which is fine. The message is still effective in keeping the retailer in top-of mind position and a trusted authority.
The average email open rate is under 30%. Do you think that’s bad? It’s not! It’s a lot better than most other forms of media, plus here’s something else about email you may have never considered: the name of the sender and the subject line get seen by MOST of the email recipients. Even though they don’t consume the entire email message, you have still reminded them you exist, and you’re keeping in touch as promised.
Sending a weekly or bi-weekly commitment to email marketing is a big one. Although a great portion of email marketing can be automated, it still requires planning, writing, and a little bit of creativity.
Friends, keeping in touch with your customers pays big dividends and I highly encourage it.
If you need any help with setting up an email marketing system for your business, CLICK HERE to start the conversation.