advertising suggestions???

I just opened a new pizza shop in late july. The build out and equiptment took most of my $$ so I was only left with a few thousand for advertising to start off. So far we have done one mass mailer (20k homes) some doorhangers, a newspaper article, and facebook promotion. The first months sales have been lower than expected. What will it take to really get things moving?? Im hoping to do 7-10k weeks in the near future. FYI We are located in a shopping plaza with fairly high street traffic and household income is above average. We have carryout, delivery, and a dinning area for about 25 people… -Thanks!

RiZe,

Congratulations on your new pizza shop! First off I highly recommend staying away from Newspapers and the likes unless it’s free press (I think from the advice that was given to me that most of the people here feel the same).

Door hangers work great, especially for slow periods when you need a driver on the clock but not necessarily at the store. Left right door hanging works wonders (delivering a door hanger to the house on the left, right, and if time permitting others immediately in the area when taking a delivery). Let the neighbors know so when your delivery talks about it, they’ll have coupons readily available.

Mass mailers are great, one thing I quickly learned is that doing large quantities every now and again is a money pit (you may get 1-2% back). However taking that quantity, (we’ll take your 20k) and instead doing menus (the nice large kind with full color glossy paper) tri folded with coupons at around 1,000 a week for 5 weeks, then switching to post cards to the same people, then maybe coupons with a perforated magnet, and keep switching it up. The important thing is to use a different piece, to hit the same people over and over as opposed to going for the large quantity. Again I think most everyone will agree that the repeat deliveries and quality of the pieces trumps the quantity.

As for the Facebook, make sure to have an active Fan page for the business, and constantly engage users. Every time they like, comment, share, etc on a post it is free advertising as it shows up in their news feed to friends and keeps you top of mind. Also check out a small thing I did on facebook offers (viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13566), I just did one and saw a great response for very minimal cost (taking out my immediate food cost and labor on each product, I actually doubled the money I spent which to me is a win).

Also loyalty clubs are a must! I have been using Repeat Returns (http://www.repeatreturns.com) and have been very satisfied with it, but cheaper methods work as well. Simply using a card and hole punch, or writing it down in a log book. Just find some way to give an extra thank you for customers who choose you, and they’ll start to enjoy purchasing from you even more as they work their way towards free rewards. Try to implement this into an e-mail contact club as well (also done through Repeat Returns), to keep sending them monthly (at minimum) specials via e-mail as well as specials for holidays and special days in their life (birthday, anniversary). They will speak highly of you for remembering.

And don’t under estimate the power of free food and word of mouth. Give away samples of your product, donate to community events, schools, etc. Get people talking about your product (in a good way of course) and people will naturally come in. Just recently I started a campaign where every Mon - Thu morning I delivered free pizzas to businesses down my main road (I’d pick 2 - 3 each day). That was about 2 months ago and I tripled my lunch sales. As to how long they will remain like that is uncertain, but I plan on going through each business and then repeating. Each time dropping off a fresh menu and handful of coupons for the employees.

Lastly, perhaps the best advertising method (in conjunction with word of mouth) is you and your staff. Be consistent in the product and service you provide. Great customer service can save an all right meal, but the best food in the world can’t make up for poor customer service. I myself would rather go to a place where I know I will get consistent food and service, than a place where it may be great, or may be horrible depending on the day and who is working. Keep your employees smiling, saying please and thank you to the customers, remembering names (when and where possible), and carry on polite small conversations as time permits. It is the small things like that, that really make an impact in the way people think about your business.

If you need any help with printing pieces etc please let me know. I don’t sell print materials as a business on here, but I do local marketing and printing where I live so I can give you my cost + shipping on post cards, flyers, etc. Just a way to try to help out others who are doing whatever they can to make it.

Good luck to you and I hope I helped!

Thanks for the fast response! You just earned yourself another like on facebook! Check out our page too! facebook.com/RizePizzeria

My direct mail company will only mail a minimum of 20,000 at one time. Have you used mail shark? I was looking at their flyer and it seems like the prices are pretty outrageous for the # of pieces that you get. My employees and I are hanging door hangers on foot. We can only get a couple hundred done in one day if the weather is nice. I usually get around 5% return on the door hangers witch isnt too bad but I just cant physically distribute the amount I need to every week. Do you guys use any coupon books? We can keep the customers coming back… but first we need to get them in the door!

RiZe,

Josh from Mailshark actually frequents these forums, and while I have not had direct contact with him it seems he is fairly helpful in explaining things. One thing to keep in mind about the prices is, that it is a business and you are paying more.

In order to see the cost as reasonable, you have to fully understand what it is they do. For starters, let’s take the base cost of Printing and Postage, which at minimum (if you can find cheap printing) for a post card or nice full color flyer, etc you’re looking at .20 - .22 per piece (.145 for postage and between .055 and .075 for printing).

Then you have the design. They already have a lot of designs on hand that just need to be tweaked, but if you were able to find a graphic designer to do the work for you at a reasonable rate, you would pay between $100 - $200 per design (depending on the details). So assuming a new design every 10,000 pieces (at 1,000 pieces a week), you have an extra .01 - .02 per piece. (Now we are at .21 - .24/ea piece).

Then to do the every door direct mail you have to fill out paper work each mailing, and bundle up all the flyer. Assuming you did this yourself, you would have to count the flyers by hand (because you most likely do not have a machine that does it, and weighing it can cause you some problems with the post office, at least in my experience, if it is off by a couple pieces which it easily can be). You are looking at about an 30 - 45 minutes each mailing. Now varying on how much you think your time is worth, this equates out to another .01 - .02c each piece.

So the cost to do this, on your own would be between .22/each piece ($220/week) to .26/each piece ($260/week).

I believe the flyer I received from Mailshark puts them at $309/week for mailers advertised or $321/week for each week actually mailed out (they hold off 2 weeks on mailing but stretch the bill through the whole year).

So in reality you are only paying $60 - $100 a week for their services on 1,000 flyers. What do you get for that? Peace of mind without having to worry about it, use of claimed (I say claimed because I cannot say for sure as I have not used them) strategies for mailers in the best areas, with the best designs, and best coupons. It is basically having an on staff marketing representative for $60 - $100 a week.

Side Note: The more you do, the less it is extra for each piece obviously.

So for some people, it is worth it, others it is not. Ask yourself if you have the time and will commit to keeping up on the designs each change period, research effective promotional offers from competitors in the area, track and try different areas to determine where my best return will be from, and keep rotating the different pieces to keep the customer engaged.

If the answer to all of those is yes, then mailshark is probably a waste of money for you. If the answer is no, then you’ll potentially be throwing away money, and would be better off paying the little extra to have someone do it for you.

Hey Rize,

Josh from the Mail Shark here. I am not sure that I need to elaborate on Uncle Nicks response as he hit the nail pretty much on the head with many of his points.

However, I wanted to let you know that I would be more than happy to talk with you about our services. If you received our brochure, you have a brief overview of what we are offering but I can elaborate on everything that we offer and give you a more transparent picture of what is involved, etc.

Regards,

Josh Davis
Vice President of Sales
Mail Shark
4125 New Holland Road
Mohnton, PA 19540
Direct: 484-948-1611
Mobile: 484-269-3715
Web: http://www.TheMailShark.com

Mail Shark recently was recently ranked the 368th
fastest growing company in America by Inc. 500 Magazine.

Thanks to all our loyal customers for your business and support!

I’ve done my own direct mail since day 1, but if I could do it all over again I would hire a company like Mailshark to do it at the beginning at least.

Paying that extra amount over the printing and postage ensures that your pieces go out on time, every time. One of my biggest stumbling blocks starting out was not getting my marketing out consistently because I was stretched so thin. I spent several years with very inconsistent marketing, and with frequency being the most important aspect of a campaign… well, that wasn’t good.

It’s no problem for me today to do it myself because I have a system, know what days I need to order printing for a specific drop date, know the best ways to work the post office, etc., but I probably left a lot of money on the table at the beginning.

Counting my time to count, bundle, sort, load my car, drive to the post office, WAIT at the post office, drive back… I bet each drop of postcards takes me at least two hours of work.