week 6, ready to launch advt. little help please!

what a great forum, a wealth of info from experienced operators. We are on week 6 sales are now at about $4200 a week, have not done any advt yet. crew of 6 is fairly well trained and am about to launch on advertising and begin doing delivery. My location is excellent on a high volume, high visibility street, free standing building with good access and good parking. Located half mile from college with 5k enrollment in a growing town of 40k. am going to invest about 2k a month for the next 4 months. to this point I have invested over $275k in property, equipment, starting inventory. I must be at 10K a week by our 6th month or the 7th month it goes up for sale. Breakeven point is 5k a week ( assuming 35% food cost and all other expenses factored in) What I would like from experienced operators is with a budget of 2k a month in your experience what is the best way to advertise that will get the highest response and bang for the buck. what have been your best promotions. All responses will be greatly appreciated

2K is 20% of expected gross sales & over time is perhaps not the best way to budget your marketing campaign…

I’m sure you’ll receive a lot of advice, but here’s my plan…

Develop a 4C postcard that introduces your store to the community…you can buy a mailing list and get a mail house to assist…find a gimic, or your point of difference and build your marketing around that difference…i.e. “Better Pizza. Better…” or what I use “We deliver MORE than pizza”

Saturate your mailing area, by carrier route, 250-500 cards a day…be careful not to drop so many that you can’t meet demand…worst part of any marketing campaign is to fail to meet expectations…

Other good option mailers are postcard magnets or newsprint menu mailers…

30 days after, begin a dedicated door hanging program…get your specials and menu out there…

after you have hit your market area, follow-up with your personalized postcards to you new customer base…

you’ve spent a fair amount on attracting new customers, now market to those who have tried you…

Thanks for input, on mailing by postal carrier route, are mailing lists available that way? does post office supply or do you use a mailing list company? My Idea on the budget of $2000k per month is to get me where I need to be quickly, after I reach target then I felt I could develope a consistent followup marketing program, via direct mail, doorhangers, maybe radio spots etc
Eli

Eli,

Here’s a little info for you on the direct mailings. This is what I do:

  1. Call your local direct mail houses and find out who will give you the best deal. I use www.mailcci.com . They’re based in Wichita, but they mail everywhere. They print and mail stuff from Carleton Sheets brouchures to Cox Cable bills, to stuff for the little independent pizza shop like me.

  2. If they’ve got a mailing list, you’re good to go. If not, go to steps 3 & 4

  3. Go to www.melissadata.com and search for carrier routes by zip code

  4. Order the zip code list (about $10/1000 addresses).

  5. Get your postcard designed. Microsoft Publisher is a pretty easy program to use and that’s what I use to desigin most of my marketing, sitting here at this same computer.

  6. Send your design to the printer to get them printed. Hint: you want to print “shells”, which is a mass quantity that will lower your overall price per piece.

  7. After you’ve gotten all this organized, you want to:
    …Send the mailing list to your direct mail distributor via e-mail.
    …You want to send these postcard “shells” to your direct mail distributor (or have them get it printed as most have pretty good contacts and can get things done cheaper than you).
    …Set up mailing dates.

When I do my mailings, I hit two carrier routes at a time, combining the carrer routes so that my total pieces per mailing is around 1,500. By doing this it makes it a little more affordable. However, it also gives me a better grasp on which areas are my “sweet spots” and which areas aren’t so great with the response.

I understand you want to budget $2,000/month towards advertising but do the two carrier route approach and you can better evaluate your strongholds as well as your “areas with potential” as I’d like to call it.

Also, on the budget of $2000/month:

Don’t spend money for the sake of spending money. You’ve got to remember Rome was not built in a day. I noticed in your post you stated your break even was at $5k/wk but if you didn’t have it at $10k/wk by month #6, it goes up for sale… Why would you do something like that? I don’t think I understand your situation. Increases of 20% per month are mind-boggling, but even at that rate you’ll only be at $8709.12/wk based on the numbers you put up earlier.

Eli, you’re in a good situation. You’re doing decent sales without delivery. You’ve got a college campus, you’re on a busy intersection in a free standing building, and you’ve got a population of 40k. Don’t put unneccessary restrictions (like selling in 6 months if you’re not doing $10k/wk) on this business. Start your delivery business and take what the market gives you. Then design a marketing campaign to consistently pull in new customers every week.

My rule of thumb: Have at least one marketing event every week.

-J_r0kk

Your post office can tell you where your toutes are, and how many addresses are in each route. for sturation mailing (to every address, and not to individual mailboxes) that should be sufficient.

Whatever you do, you need to get into the residence halls of that college. Students area target rich pizza environment. Contact the Student Union or Residence Life departments and find out if you can offer coupns to their students. I am sure they get offers sometimes, but something especially for their student populatino should be well received. They can use it as value added for their student programming. See what sort of things you can do to get involved with their programming to get your name in fromt of students, faculty and staff.

I used to work in Residence Life in a small college. We lived for freebies and promotions from local companies.

Don’t get caught up too much on number goals for the sake of having goals. Remember that something like 75%+ of restaurants go Toes Up within the 1st year, and something like 90% don’t make it 18 months. Don’t go setting artificial goals when the deck is already difficult to play . . . . unless there is a real $$$ situation to deal with.

Thanks for the response guys, As far as time factor is concerned as long as thier are positive increases in sales volume I would stick it out longer. I in the past have opened and sold various businesses, usually I have found that a well funded business with proper demographics good accessibility and parking and proper marketing should do well from the get go. Mind you I am treading on new ground with this pizza/subshop concept.
I am very results orientated and try to analyze everything from controlling food costs, to food quality, to employee efficiency, to how many steps does it take to put this pizza together, and how can we do it better and faster, etc, etc, etc. I design a concept after seeing what everyone else is doing, streamline it, ultimize efficiency and get it on a roll. I put 100% effort into it and give it sufficient funding. after I have given it about 4 quarts of my blood, and all my free time for about 6 months, I say ok baby its time to pay me back and I become very offended if she doesn’t give back. ( Ilike to think of my business as a mistress, she gets more money and time than my wife and will probably cost me more than a divorce if she doesn’t work out! lol)

anyway thanks for the feedback I intend to take your suggestions and utilize them. big billboards on bldg and our sign menu saying we deliver, controlled targeted mailings, find a way to hit the college kids and maybe a little jingle for the radio to boot. Lets see how she flies!