Making Dough With Diane: 11 easy marketing ideas to increase business

11 easy marketing ideas to increase business
Diane Chiasson
July 24, 2008
By
dianechiassonNowadays, pizza can be purchased in every way, shape, size and form imaginable from a convenience store, to your neighbourhood pub to a five-star restaurant. So how can you make yourself stand out in today’s competitive marketplace? A strong marketing campaign.

The most important element of any marketing campaign is to know who your customers are and where they come from. Once you have established your customer base, you can get on your way to making your customers feel special, and help you build customer loyalty and ultimately, increase sales and profits.

Here are a few tips to help you start your own successful marketing campaign:

1.  Create a customer database
In order to find out whom your customers are and to keep in touch with them, you first need to build a customer database. This can easily be done by offering a business card drop box or by having them fill out a form or coupon to be entered into a weekly draw. Make sure your customers fill out their name, telephone number, address and e-mail.

After you have accumulated this information, you can input it into a database software program like Microsoft Excel or ACT!.

2.  Develop a yearly marketing and promotional calendar
In my years of working with various clients, developing a 12-month marketing and promotional calendar is the only way to keep yourself organized. There are
different holidays every month that you can use to tie in your promotions, and it is crucial to keep track of what you have sent out on which day.

3.  Create a VIP list/club
Another great way to obtain a customer’s personal information is by asking them to join your VIP list. Tell them that by joining the VIP list, they will be able to access a special website with great coupons and discounts on it. Most customers respond well if they think they are getting a better deal than the average Joe.

You can also send your VIPs a card on their birthdays entitling them to a free meal.

4.  Contact your customers at least six to nine times
Once you have compiled your database, you need to get your customers to think of you when they want pizza. One of the golden rules of marketing is that it takes at least a minimum of six times of repeated messages before they remember to buy pizza from you.

This can be achieved through an e-mail, a telephone call, a postcard, a letter or an ad in the local paper.

5.  Deliver flyers and brochures in your neighbourhood
Research has proven that most people dine within a 3- to 5-km radius of their home, so you should arrange to have flyers and brochures delivered within a 3- to 5-km radius of your operation on a regular basis.

Ensure that you have created an eye-catching, colourful and identifiable brand and/or slogan for your operation that is clearly printed on every flyer or brochure you send out.

6.  Send out personalized postcards
Postcards are an economical way to get in touch with your new and existing customers to show your appreciation for their business.

For first-time customers, send them a personalized thank-you postcard immediately after their visit offering a free slice of pizza or a discount on their purchase the next time they visit the store.

You can also send out postcards to all your customers in your database offering a great promotion on one of your slower nights to drum up business.

Make sure you print the first name of each customer on the postcard. You can either print their names on a label or have their name printed directly on the postcard.

Most printers today are able to print postcards using the information from your database.

TIP: Oversized postcards tend to be more effective.

7.  Use your e-mail and fax machine
Once you have started collecting e-mail addresses from your valuable customers, you can send them a weekly update of all the lunch and dinner specials you will be having that week.

In order to gain additional business from local offices, you can program your fax machine to send out advance notices/menus of your lunch specials 30 minutes to an hour before lunchtime.

8.  Offer a frequent-buyer card
This strategy is nothing new but has proven to work over and over again. By offering your customers a free slice of pizza for every six or seven slices purchased, you can easily build customer loyalty and encourage repeat visits.

9.  Cross-promote with local stores in your neighbourhood
Get together with non-competitive businesses and merchants in your neighbourhood like the video store or an ice cream parlour to develop a marketing program to refer businesses back and forth to each other.

For example, if you team up with your local video store, you could offer a two-for-one rental when someone buys a pizza from you. You can run this promotion for two weeks and then reverse the promo the following month so that the video store offers a two-for-one pizza coupon when someone rents a video from him or her.

You can also trade mailing lists with these stores to increase your customer database.

10.  Charity and/or community promotions
Very often, a charity or non-profit organization will call on you to donate to their cause.

Instead of handing over a big chunk of money, you can prepare a customized booklet of discount coupons for the charity or organization to sell. The charity or organization would keep a portion of the money raised from sales of the coupon booklets.

In this situation, everyone is a winner. You gain potential new customers, the charity or organization makes money, and the customer gets a booklet of money-saving coupons.

11.  Make direct contact with your customers
As often as possible, introduce yourself to your customers when they come into the store. Customers will feel an instant bond to your store if they know your name.

Although it takes time to chat with your customers, they appreciate the fact that you are listening to them. Some customers may even have some great ideas that you can use.

For more than 25 years, Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been working with North America’s leading restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail owners and operators to deliver truly unique dining and shopping experiences for all their customers. Diane is recognized as an industry leader in providing innovative and creative foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design and marketing concepts. You can call her at 416-926-1338 or 1-888-926-6655, fax her at 416-921-6994, contact her via e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit herwebsite at www.chiassonconsultants.com .



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