Been in bus for almost 2 years now doing ok!!! Would love to do better and I know it can but need some new ideas. I see alot of you are doing bus with your schools. i would like to get into that but i don’t know what things can be done. What else can be done to drive rev up. my expenses are in line, now it is just a matter of driving sales up!
Here are some great ideas to getting volume up in your store. The biggest factor affecting the success or demise of an advertising idea is planning and follow-up. If you can plan a great advertising activity and follow up to make sure it’s done to your specifications, there should be no reason for it not to work:
Bulk mail - This would include companies like Advo, Mailsouth, ValPak, Shopwise, Money Clippers, etc.
Direct mail - My strategy is one carrier route per week. Two carrier routes per week when sales generated from this activity have risen to the point where they can pay for the extra carrier route. Three carrier routes, then four after that.
Doorhanging - One of my fail-safe plans. In summer months I do zero direct mail marketing because my efforts go into doorhanging. Once winter approaches we’ll address the direct mail strategy again.
Menu taping - Tape menus (or any other kind of marketing material) to the doors of businesses in your area. When they get to work in the morning they’ll see it and it can spark some lunch sales.
School nights - Simply said, if you can get these set up, prepare for a butt kicking. We’ve already started working on ours. Last year we averaged about 1.5 school nights a week, raising our average sales about $1,500/week.
In my opinion, a solid marketing campaign should have the following characteristics:
Quantity - If you’re going to promote something, make sure it’s on a big enough scale where you will actually see results. A minimum of 1,000 pieces would be a minimum standard.
Quality - You’ve got to offer quality specials on quality material. Yes, you can generate decent return on a handwritten sheet of paper but you want to portray yourself as a major player. To do this you’ve got to spend a little extra cash and develop a full color piece with a product shot, and good price-point specials to generate customer awareness.
Exposure - You want to expose your business to as many customers via print advertising in a calendar month as possible. Yes, money has a lot to do with your consistency and you might be forced to advertise only bi-monthly. However, if you truly want your advertising efforts to snowball and to generate customers on top of other customers you’ve got to produce an advertising plan in which you have one major p each and every week.
Advertising is just a numbers game. You have average percentage returns on each and every medium out there. Some will do better than others but there will always be a return. With each campaign created, a portion of those customers will be new and trying you out for the first time. Of those, about 40% will try you again. So it’s safe to say that if you market on a weekly basis with a minimum of 1,000 pieces you will not only generate new orders but you will generate new customers as well, therefore expanding your customer base and ensuring success in the future.
In conclusion, it’s not exactly WHAT you do, but how often you do it. Structure an advertising campaign in which you have at least one “event” per week and your sales will soar.
You may want to think about an Instant-Win promotion. We recently worked with a pizza chain that increased sales by 9.88% in 6 weeks.
The game card is designed to reward current customers while creating a “buzz” on the street about the promotion. Customers are surprised and excited to receive the game card upon purchase. And because this is not advertised elsewhere in the media, there is a bit of “secret magic” to the whole promotion.
The customer either discovers it for themselves by visiting the store during the promotion or has to be told by someone “in the know”.
The idea is to make the customer feel special and welcome in your establishment and build commercial friendships. With so many chains lining the streets of suburbia these days, you need to find a way to make your customers loyal to your brand. Bounce-back incentives like the Instant-Win Scratch-Off card is an inexpensive yet powerfully successful tool if placed carefully and correctly.
The game cards also require the customer to fill in their contact information so the your restaurant can build a database to use for future promotions.
Our company provides consulting, legal support, state registration, filing fees, graphic design, printing and shipping as well as ongoing marketing analysis reporting and promotional materials - starting at 1,000 game cards for $0.25 each, I think it’s an appealing price that makes it accessible to the small business owner.
I looked around on that website and found no indicator of price range or setup fees or anything. Red flag to me and my experience that it is more than my little shop will want to pay. All the R in the world won’t milk the I our of my current bank account and cash flow if it takes me 8 months to bring in the return
Thank you for the vote of confidence, Royster! I’m glad you got a good return on your game cards.
And Thank you, Nick. Your feeback is vey helpful. Maybe we should include pricing on our website but we don’t want to be compared to a printing company. Our fear was that small business owners would stop by the site, take our price and bid out the project without considering all the services we do offer in our quote.
I also didn’t want to make it seem that I was only here to sell you something. But since you brought it up and I’m trying to prove my point here. . .we do offer quantities as low as 1,000 game cards at $0.25 per piece. That’s for our stock game card (the front looks similiar to Willy Wonka’s Gold Card - remember the movie in the 70’s?) with your store logo, address, phone, website printed on the back. We cover all the legal support, state registration, filing fees in 48 states (FL & NY require surety bonds which is an extra charge). I still work with you to help select the best giveaways based on your menu and you have access to me 24/7 during the run of the promotion in case any questions or concerns come up. I think that’s a pretty good value for $250.
We also work with chains that do want a custom card and then you’re talking a much bigger investment but they can spread it out systemwide so the cost is still reasonable.
I hope I explained myself and won’t get booted for making a sales pitch. That’s not my intent at all. I’m here to learn about what’s important to you as a pizzaria owner so that I can serve my current clients better. Hopefully, I can contribute ideas and suggestions as well. I love working with the small business owner (my husband handles most of the chain restaurants we work with and they are definitely a breed of their own).
I do very much understand the cut-throat business of printing out there. Some many unscrupulous toads go around shopping services to the lowest, skeesiest bidder rather than taking the best services and creating a business relationship. I am all for best price available, but there is a professional way to go about it and a skeesy way to go about it.
What you have done is now whetted the interest of smaller local independents (at least mine). For that sort of outlay, I can include one of those cards in a direct mail campaign something like the million dollar letter and make a really big deal of it with some local marketing add-ins. That sort of entry-level info is what I look for with vendors, and then contact them for in-depth info. Usually it is not even worth my time or yours if it is not within the zip code of something I can afford . . . regardless of the exceptional services that come along with it.
You can do a direct mailing piece using the game card - but why? I hear this all the time and I always scratch my head in wonderment. You’re already paying for the game card, why would you pay to promote the promotion with a direct mailing that may or may not be greeted with the same enthusiasm as it would be with the folks that are already familiiar with Nick’s Pizza and love the product?
I’d much prefer to see you take the game cards and sponsor some community event (Octoberfest?) - have a booth or pass out samples of your product along with a game card. NOW you’ve got em’! They’ve tried the pizza, they like the pizza and you’ve given them a reason to visit your store. Plus, you’ve positioned yourself as a real community supporter.
We’re working with a single unit operator here in our home town that wants to sell 3,000 pizzas in three days. We helped hook him up with a local charity group that will sell the game cards (check with your local town hall to see if you need a permit for this type of promotion) and he will fulfill the prize giveaways. It’s going to cost him $750 for 3,000 game cards, the charity will then sell them at a buck a piece, which will net the charity $3,000. He’ll get press coverage, “good guy” status and hopefully, a slew of new customers.
For those that just want to stick a toe in the water (think spliting the cost of the game cards), we can co-brand the back of the game card with up to four companies listed on the back. We did this for a Chamber of Commerce back in March. They had a photographer, an upscale restaurant and a bar & grill sign on to the promotion. All three were very happy with the promotion. This is definitely an option but understand that while you’ll pay less, you’ll only have one prize on the back of the game card. Depending what the customer wins, it may be driving business to another location instead of bringing them back into your store.
Okay, I’ll get down off my soapbox now. I love the creative part of my job and I really enjoy coming up with unique ways to launch the promotion. If I can save my clients some money in the meantime, that makes it that much better for everyone concerned.
So, Nick. . .should I send you a brochure? ::winx::
Please do. Our little town of 2500 would possibly have one huge collective heart attack over a ‘gambling’ promotion Really, my wife could really make a great marketing event out of this sort of thing when the time comes.
I’ll send private message with our mailing address. It may or may not be something we finally do, but we do want to look it over and see how it will fit into our fall or winter marketing extravaganzas.
The client gets to decide the odds of winning. Some clients have 50% of the cards say “Sorry, Please Try Again” and some have all winners:
20% First Prize Winners
30% Second Prize Winners
50% Third Prize Winners
Or any combination they choose, depending on what they decide to giveaway. You can also have 1 or 10 (or any number, really) of Grand Prize Winners. Again, it’s completely up to our client and I’ll advise you on what I think will pull the best results.
Under the scratch-off area, the game card reads “First Prize” or “Second Prize”, ect. It also tells the customer to turn the card over to see what they’ve won. On the back of the game card ALL the prizes are listed. The customer can see what they’ve won and also see what else they COULD win if they keep returning to your store during the promotion.
That’s a valid issue, Nick. We’ve heard that before with some of our clients. If you think that’s a legitimate concern, the game cards may not be a good fit.
A customer actually commented “This is like going to the boat!”
They were excited but I understand that not everyone feels that way.
However, there are two responses I can pass along.
If all the cards are winners, then no one loses. In gambling there are always winners AND losers.
Because we work with the oldest and largest legal firm in the country (Winston & Strawn - they handle the McDonald’s Monopoly game), they make sure we keep each promotion fair, square and legal. Legal in this sense of the promotion means it can’t be confused with gambling. There are four different criteria involved in gambling and a lot of legalise! Our game cards only involve two of the four, therefore this is not considered “gaming” under the law.
We’ve had clients that have run Instant Win promotions before and could have easily gotten stung by the law because they did employ certain tactics that made their Instant Win promotion gambling or game of chance. In some states, the penalties could kill a small business (fines and certain restrictions on your business).
I take my company and our product very seriously and I try not to cringe when someone says “Yeah, it’s just a Scratch-off card. So what?” But I’ve learned over time to just smile and say, “Uh um, it looks that way, doesn’t it?”
I’ll send something out later today, Nick. No pressure. Neither Greg (my husband and partner) or I are very good at sales. We’re good at promotions and working with people but we both hate selling. Ack!
Checked out your website, heard Tom speak about the Chicago Tribune article vs. Scratch off. The ad was 2 for 1. My question, was the scratch card given to customers through the same advertising medium as the 2 for 1? I am not sure if I like the comparison because of the many variables, my opinion, give some more details about each like costs, etc.
I agree that in-house marketing is the way to go.
I think your company sounds interesting and I may have my PR consultant give you a call for more info.
The “2 for 1” ad ran in the Chicago Tribune during the same week that the restaurant was running our Instant-Win Bounce-back promotion. The restaurant had one coupon from the Tribune redeemed that week, compared to 156 Instant Win game cards that were redeemed.
We do have cost comparison analysis that show the ROI is much higher with our game cards as compared to media advertising or direct mailers. I’d be happy to send that information to you and/or your agency.
As I mentioned to Nick earlier, we feel the Instant Win promotion is a success because you’re handing out the game cards within your “Four Walls of Marketing”. Only those already familiar with your restaurant receive the game card or find out about the promotion because of someone that has visited your restaurant. “Word-of-Mouth” advertising is cheap and very effective.
Our clients are consistantly seeing 10% redemption rates within the first week of the promotion. That means 10% of the customers that came into the store when the the promotion first began and then returned for a second time in that week to redeem their game card! As the promotion progresses, the redemption rate and same store sales continue to grow as the “buzz” drives in new customers.
Back in January, we launched a promotion with a pizza chain (voted one of the fastest growing chains in 2006) that increased same store sales 10% in an 8-week period utilizing our instant-win scratch-off game cards. These cards were only distributed in-store at the Point-of-Sale. The client was so thrilled with their results that they are currently running the promotion again and plan to run it 3-4 times a year.
Please feel free to PM me with any additional questions or if you’d like me to send you a brochure (include your mailing address, please).