What to do

I’ve got some money that I want to use to the wisest… Trying to build more business. What marketing tactic would be the smartest… I know broad question but do I send menus or coupons out in the chronicle? 9300 addresses for about 500 or should I be looking more at direct mail? Or should I spend more money on stuff likes magnets, pens and just keep doing door to door? What do you guys think catches more new customers?

Hard to say. What works in my small market isn’t best for yours.

I’d consider doorhanging as a first assault. Whenever and wherever you can get it done. I find direct mail to be less effective in larger markets than mine. We can get lots of word out inexpensively to our 2000 addresses, but our return is still only about 15%.

I would look towards some opportunities at fairs and events where you can get involved and/or sponsor. Getting your food intoi mouths is easier when you are right there giving it to them. But it is more labor intensive and time involved.

For paper marketing, I’d say do a 2-prnged thrust of existing customers increasing sales and then adding new customers. Get a great new offer for existing customers on the boxtoppers and doorhangers. Something that gets them into the shop 1 or 2 more times this month.

For new customers, it seems coupons and flyers are simple, and as effective as anything else. We don’t do so much advertising this way, but get out and participate in anything the community has going on. We hand out menues and materials as well as maps. We’ll be doing school nights in the fall . . . maybe you can do the same for local colleges or sports boosters who are ramping up this summer.

No single approach is right for every area/month/season/offer etc and until you know what really works for you a wise man may consider doing a range of things at the same time to gauge the response rate.

  • May be door hang just around your store rather than a bigger area
  • a smaller ad in the paper
  • send new customers a coupon in the post with a welcome letter.

Hope that helps.

Have to agree with Nick. Every market is different.

From what I have learned and read about, it is best to saturate a small area when you are working with limited funds. I have not had any great success with any one method but I have built up my customer base which is really what you are after. Select a small area and hit them with direct mail and then twice more with door hangers. Then hit every household in your new database once a month going forward. Then move on to another small area. Rinse and repeat.

It is better to hit a few people repeatedly rather than many sparingly. Sometimes people just have to get familiar with your name before finally taking a chance on you.

Make sure you get “every” form of medium costed out and know there break points/discount levels. I.E. I did a small section of 5000 households with direct mail and was following up with doorhangers. They told me hanging 5000 doorhangers is $575, $675 for 10,000. Now I am doing 10,000 by direct mail so I can take advantage of the doorhanging savings. You don’t save anything in postage when doing direct mail but your cost per piece for printing sure goes down.


I’m sure over the past several months you’ve been tracking your marketing. What gives you the best return? What gives you second best return?

If you want to pour excess amounts of cash into marketing stick with what works for you at your shop. Don’t change things just to have a change. Everyone’s right when they say each market is different. Here’s an example:

We have one store in Emporia, KS. We put a half page ad in the sports section of the newspaper on any week and get our collective butts handed to us every time it’s run. In my store in Junction City I put a 4 color wrap around the front page of my local paper the day of the Superbowl and got maybe 10 orders from it. I remember being soooo excited about it. I think I even posted in here what I’ve done so others can try to do the same thing before the big day. Hopefully, theres was a bigger hit than mine. Kay, It’s hit or miss. What’s good in one town may not work in yours.

So… you know what works in your area. That’s what you want to do.