Advertising help/ideas

I need some help, I opened my pizzeria about 10 months ago and im very slow, I dont believe it is a quality issue as we use some of the best products. And people do call me after they try us to say it was the best pizza they have had etc, etc, etc… However we are in a small shopping complex that the only other tenant is a diner and launderymat… we have no foot traffic… There are 2 other pizzerias that have been open 10 plus years but offer pan pizza and not tossed…I have done some direct mail postcards and that generated some business. I know this place has potential but I am frustrated. I dont really know what the best advertising or what to do to bring business in… I still have people coming in that didnt even know we were here. I must add too that there have been at least 5-7 other pizzerias in this location over the past 15 years…

How does your price point compare to the other places?..

Despite your quality, is your pizza still a product that folks want?..I have been in some places that had very “suspect” pizza but they seemed to be selling a product folks wanted to buy…

Have you done “excessive” door hanging?..Often, this is one of the most effective marketing methods…Find a team or church group that needs to raise funds…Sometimes for a few cents each they will door hang for you…

Good luck…

I’m sure you already have, but be sure to read the “Help New Place” thread. It’s pretty much about you, too.

That’s what I was going to say. Jump in there and join the discussion, it will probably be more lively than having people post in two different threads.

What about car traffic? Are you situated on a busy road? Make up a sign that says “FREE samples (today only)”, prep some food, put on your uniform and shake that sign out by the road like there’s no tomorrow. Sample, sample and then sample some more.

No real traffic of any kind? Try what Indie Pizza did…

Also get on the Million-dollar letter bandwagon. Convert your downtime into customers one letter at a time until you don’t have downtime anymore. Let potential customers know about your “hand-tossed” point of differentiation and anything else that might set you apart from the competition.

What about local press? Maybe a story about a local guy trying to “break the curse” of an infamous location would be newsworthy. Or buy some Throw Dough and let everyone know how you’re trying to win a spot at the World Pizza Games - talk about a point of differentiation!

Lots of churn in your town? Try Moving Targets to get a shot at those new residents before the competition does. Or give a meal away free with Birthday Connections in the hope that they’ll bring the whole family in for dinner.

That’s all i got right now… time for bed.

What is your advertising budget right now? If you can afford to do a mailing, I would recommend sending out the million dollar letter like Brad mentioned (click this link to see this letter: … letter.pdf). You might have to tweak it a little to fit your shop. I offered free bread sticks, free 2 liter of Pepsi and 2 free toppings with the purchase of a large pizza. This letter is a great way to introduce your place and get people to try you out risk free. Send out around 1,500-2,000 a week until you have reached every home in your area. Make sure to include your menu with it.

Here’s a few more things to try:

  • Get 500-1,000 door hangers out a week with aggressive coupon offers.
  • Mail postcards to all new customers with a bounce back offer.
  • Box top every pizza box with less aggressive coupons.
  • Start an email campaign. Put out a fish bowl and collect entry forms for a free pizza drawing. Choose a winner each week. Before you know it you will have a huge email list. Use a company like Constant Contact ( to email this list weekly.
  • Pass out free pizza daily to area businesses.

Also while it’s slow right now, use the down time to your advantage. Pick up the phone and start calling people who have recently ordered from you. Thank them, ask them how everything was, and give them something for free next time they order. This personal touch will go a long way with a lot of people.

I combine these two. My box toppers do not have coupons - they advertise for people to go to our website and join our e-mail list if they would like to receive coupons. That’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Is it just me or does the million dollar letter sound desperate? At least a mailer looks like you want to spend money .IMO

I feel the same way. I modified it really heavily and still only used it for about 3 weeks, I just didn’t like the image it was giving out.

I started saying simple things that look more confident, basically saying “here’s a really good offer, we have great food and I want to be sure you’ve had a chance to try it” and leave it at that.

Agreed. I tried the MDL and did OK on it, but it paled in comparison to the first time I sent out professional looking full color menus by themselves.

You’re right, it is a little needy. I think it’s due for a “tougher” rebranding…

“Are you threatening me?

I didn’t think so.
Clearly you don’t know who I am so allow me to introduce myself.”

Dear Neighbor,

Hello, my name is Guido Vitiligo and I’ve recently turned over a new leaf after my last prison stint and opened a little mom and pop pizza place - Knuckles Pizzaria.

But, since every place claims to have the “best food around” – and even though I’m sure you’ll make the wise choice and order from me – I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Seriously, I would take me up on this offer if I was you - I addressed this letter myself, so I clearly know where you live.

So I’m going to make you a pizza and you’re going to try it and taste it for yourself. Hey, I’m a nice guy, so I’ll sweeten the deal just a little.

So, what I want to do is call me and take me up on this irresistibly delicious offer – you don’t want to risk not trying my pizza!

I’ll even throw in a FREE Order of a Dozen Breadsticks – I’m generous that way. If I have to further tempt you with two FREE fountain drinks - I’ll even do that too! But that’s it - don’t get too greedy now!

Now nobody want to put their neck on the line and since I know you’ll be absolutely delighted (nobody has complained yet), I’m going to guarantee your satisfaction. If you don’t just love my pizza, come on in and we’ll have a talk together and straighten the whole situation out.

All you need to do is order one of our delicious Extra-large pizzas and the rest is FREE! You don’t even need a coupon, cause I’m a man of my word.

So come on, give us a try! Take a look at the menu I put in here – choose which one of the dipping sauces you’d like to go with your FREE breadsticks and which two kinds of fountain drinks you’d like for FREE – then give us a call.

And, if our pizza doesn’t live up to your expectations – if you don’t enjoy it in every way - well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I know you’ll make the right decision.

Hope to see you soon – sincerely,
Guido Vitiligo

P.S. Please – take us up on this offer tonight! I’ll be expecting your call. The FREE Breadsticks and two FREE drinks are yours with the purchase of a Extra-large pizza at menu price – and don’t let me catch one of those chain guys with the car topper idling in your driveway!

I won’t even need a bank loan - I’ve got some “creative financing” all lined up.

where is everyone buying there door hangers, postcards, and color menus from. I have done direct mailing through idearc, it was like 600 dollars per thousand… I really have not been aggressive with door hanging so I think I will order some door hangers and send my delivery drivers out with them… As for the MDL letter I agree it kind of sounds desperate… I did get some good news, sorta… I just heard a few local pizzerias were going out because of failure to pay sales tax. I guess the State tax department went in and checked there POS and saw they did not pay the correct sales tax…

Postcards: … icing.html
4x6 full color both sides…5,000 = $112.99…10,000 = $223.99

Door Hangers: … icing.html
4.25x11 full color both sides…5,000 = $299…10,000 = $538.20

Flyers: … icing.html
8.5x11 full color both sides-100# paper…1,000 = $99…2,500 = $175…5,000 = $269…10,000 = $477 … ntprod23-4
8.5x11 full color both sides-60# paper…5,000 = $307.5…10,000 = $415
80# paper…5,000 = $411.63…10,000 = $553.25

*Both companies do an awesome job!

Has anyone got some recent research on how effective various sizes of postcards and/or fliers are?..It has been quite a few years since I owned a pizza place but from my recollection we got a better return on 11 x 17 tri-folds than 8 1/2 x 11 tri-folds…So even though they cost more (on an per piece basis) when you looked at the cost as a % of sales, they were a better investment…

Italy- you tried mailers and it didn’t work?

i did 2 mailers too the same 1000 addresses and i had about 12-15 percent return. I did another to a differant 1000 addresses and got back like 3-5 percent if that…

We have something called Penny Saver where I am and they just quoted me 50.00 per thousnd printed and mailed, as an insert in thier magazine that they send out. 8x5 x 11 .

We have never done the MDL.

Door hanging, direct mail, boxtopping (specials or a 4 color menu), coloring contest, birthday program are our best forms of advertising.

They work best when we do them and do them consistently. Our problem is when we get on the period of just talking about doing them.

We do have an insert in an area newspaper for one of our stores. It is very cheap. The other locations paper costs 3x’s as much for an insert. If you can get it at a good rate it is worth it.

Just doing something and do it regularly. You will quickly find out where your best return is.

I predict that a single letter mailed to a potential customer base will be a flamboyant disappointment and waste of money a vast majority of the time. That is what I call ‘advertising’. I find it ineffective, lacking in understanding and devoid of creativity.

Now. I did not intend to insult anyone or be heavy-handed. What I want is to introduce MARKETING PLANS. What I have found the most effective means of getting people to notice us and buy from us is developing a long term (maybe three months at a time) strategy of getting our name, product and message in front of as mnay people as we can as often as we can. That last part is an indispensible concept that many new business people miss. Repetition and time lag between seeing your message will make a huge difference in effectiveness and making an actual purchase response happen.

We all hear from customers that they have heard people talk about us, seen our ads, seen the flyers and knew about us for months before calling or coming in. It we had been “one and done” advertisers, those customers would quite possibly NEVER have called. Multi-facted and multi-launched plans will do the best. The below is just a quickie example that may or may not be great. It illustrates the rolling market plan, though. Week 6 would possibly start a new neighborhood, or repeat the process or something.


Week 1
Doorhangers in neighborhood 1
boxtopper with bounce-back offer that works for other customers, too
Free pizza coupons for Red Cross blood drive donors

Week 2
Doorhangers in neighborhood 2
Newspaper insert in Sunday paper
Boxtopper with bounceback and new product

Week 3
Doorhangers in neighborhood 3
Doorhangers in neighborhood 1
Meet with schools about free pizzas for student reading program
Letter and offer to top 50 customers list from POS

Doorhangers in neighborhood 2
Bulk mail menu to Neighborhoods 1 2 and 3
Flyers and menus to local businesses

Week 5
Doorhangers in neighborhood 3
Radio advertisement spots (buy “unsold stock” spots)
Flyes and menus to local hotels (schedule with manager to bring free samples to staff)
Expo on the Greens at Chamber of Commerce annual Golf Tournament

I just did a quick look at the FAQ thread . . . it really does have great old threads linked, doesn’t it?

I found this link to one short thread that showed an owner doing a real life example of a rolling plan