What's your #1 Marketing Method of choice?

Lets keep this simple. Two questions:

Question #1 - Which method of advertising do you believe has brought you the greatest OVERALL INCREASE TO SALES? With this question we are ignoring the amount of money you spent on the advertisement. Maybe a TV commercial? Radio ad?

Question #2 - Which method of advertising has created your greatest return on your investment? We will ignore free advertising like facebook, twitter, etc. and focus only on paid advertisements. Maybe this is something like box toppers?

Please feel free to elaborate on responses and explain what has worked best for you!

(I assumed a thread like this has been done before, but did a quick search and couldn’t find much)

Marketing is often a cumulative effort…Sometimes multiple things must be done in tandem to get the best results…In my mind the top few are:
1 - Door to door delivery of menus…
2 - Wrapped delivery vehicles…
3 - Good signage on building…
4 - Fridge Magnets…

When you say door to door delivery of menus do you mean a direct mailing of your menu to each home, or something like a door hanger sleeve with your menu inside that you have someone bring door to door?

Also, has anyone ever tried a TV commercial? If not, have you heard anything about how they have worked?

Direct mail hands down

I try to spend about 40k a year on direct mail. Works great for me. I love it

#1 My biggest return was trying out for the national championships. 2000 People tried out, and 6 made it to the final 3 rounds. They were picked up by a TV show and did a 1.5 hour special. That nearly doubled sales and added about $110,000 in profits over the next 7 months. Sadly, the repeat-ability of this is pretty slim.

#2 Facebook - Every year, I have a 4th of July party and a Canada Day party. 4th of July gets a bit of action, but the last time I did a Canada Day event on facebook (cost = zero), it generated $2717 in sales in one night. Repeat-ability is very doable.

#3 Press Releases - People don’t do enough of these. It is free, and the returns hit almost immediately. The trick here is the more you send out, the more you get picked up. One every two months is a good pace.

More traditional marketing:

#1 Database Direct Mail. Best response rate: 32%. Cost: $110, sales generated $10,822. My response rates averaged at 16-18%. That high of 32% was a one time occurrence.

Side Note: You really need to look at marketing and think about the different aspects. new customer generation, and customer retention are the big ones, and require some very different ways to market too.

Interesting that the assumption is that FB is free. After a couple of years and thousands spent I assure you that it is not. For a FB campaign to work really well, you need to be doing FB advertising to drive membership and most likely using some free product or other activity. For a specific promo like Superbowl or 10-10-10 I can create a pretty big night for a couple of hundred dollars.

Top producer regardless of price: Direct mail with agressive offers.

Top performance in cost vs results:

  1. Personally calling top repeat customers to say thank you.
  2. Personally going to all hotel and condo front desks (we are in a resort town) twice per year to schmooze and give out pizza comp cards.
  3. Box toppers (easily lowest cost per order generated, but you have to wonder how many of these orders you would get anyway)

It is not an assumption. Making a facebook event is perfectly free. Go back and read it again if you need to.

It was a banquet style dinner with drinks included. $36 per person. 300 invitations generated 75 guests.

I googled it and found this tutorial on making events.

Did I make an event and leave it in limbo? Hell no. I have been building a list of customers and fans for years. When you take out ads on facebook, you are targeting new customers. When you are marketing to existing customers (a very different game), it is a different game because you already have a relationship established.

Seth Godin does a great job of explaining this in his book, Permission Marketing (You can get the first 4 chapters for free here).

There are many incarnations of this…It can vary from flyers in the Sunday newspaper or door hanging or addressed bulk mail (or many other methods)…All have varying costs and varying results…In my area the newspaper cost 4 cents each and addressed bulk mail can be up to 40 cents…

It has been a long time since I did this for real (but I have my eye on another shop)…I used to work for a place that divided the delivery area into 6 zones and did menus to each zone every 6 weeks…No coupons, no super deals, just a nice looking menu…That was changed up every so often…

The important thing is to test and measure…And change things up when your results start to change…

@ Pizzamancer: I was not responding to your post. I was referring to the original post where the OP mentioned “free advertising like facebook”. Your event sounds nice. Congrats.

FB, if maximized, is not free. If you are active in just the free areas such as posts and events you are trading your time rather than $$. It can certainly be a good return on the $$/effort spent. My point is that the free activities can be leveraged substantially with the use of FB ads.

FB advertising is good for reaching new customers sure, but it is also great for targeting your existing fans in a way that will reach them much more effectivly than daily news feed posts. We sometimes use ads that are tageted at our fans. For a hundred dollars or so I can have our ad appear pretty much every time a fan logs into FB for a couple of days.

We also chose to jump start our fan base with ads which worked very well. I guess we would have gotten to the same place eventually without spending that money but I think it would have taken much longer. We are currently at 1750 fans. When you consider that this represents about 20% of the facebook acounts in our area, I think most would agree that this is pretty good penetration and great leverage on our continued use of the free aspects.

I did not mean to start a squable about FB… I see a lot of businesses that get into using it that think it is a free marketing tool and do not get much out of it and I interpreted the OP that way. Sorry if I missed the mark.

Our sales were up 26% for 2011 over 2010. I attribute much of that to the thousands of dollars I spent on FB ads and FB related promotions.

Nobody ever seems to talk about “press the flesh” marketing. Going business to business, door to door to tell people about your business. In my experience nothing has a stronger bang for the buck then introducing yourself as the owner and enthusiastically telling them about your place and how much you would love for them to come. Then you give them a free coupon for something and promise to come back in 30 days to ask them how everything was.

It is probably the most difficult way to market but for me it has been the most successful and least expensive.

Thanks for clarifying that Bodegahwy. Now I see what you were talking about. I totally agree with what you said.

My event worked for the sole reason that I spent many hours previous to that cultivating my facebook follower list. $ wise it was free, but there was a lot of sweat equity that went into that free.

Actually squabbling over facebook might be a very good thing. If enough people cay, “You are doing it wrong.” and follow up with an explanation of what they are doing, we might find some hidden gems.

I understand Facebook has its pay for services, but there’s also much to gain from having the simple fan page.

Bodegahwy, not to get off topic (and congrats on your recovery), but I’d say your 2011 recovery was more due to the general economic recovery and not due to FB ads. I dare say, most of us saw a general pick-up last year.

Pizza2007, when were you last here?

Restaurant sales for our entire city were up 3.7% in 2011 over 2010. I think it is fair to say that something other than a rising tide was at work when we were up about 25% in that environment.

Source: http://steamboatsprings.net/departments … ax_reports

Biggest boost: direct mail with aggressive coupons
Best bang-for-buck: Door hanging menus myself. I can do about 100 houses an hour, more doors if it’s apartments. If I do this at a time of day when I don’t have to pay someone to be at the store instead of myself, it’s dirt cheap to do.
TV Commercial: Mine starts Thursday, I’ll tell you how it goes.
Worst ROI: Newspaper ads. I ran an 1/8 page ad for 6 days with aggressive coupons, I got two back.

Sampling. Nothing beats putting your product into the mouth of a potential customer.

The above post almost sounds dirty…

How do you use direct mail, since you spend so much and what do you think your ROI is? Also, do you send mailings weekly, monthly, etc…?

I spent about $40,000 for my 4 stores every year. Every time I sent a mailer, I wished I was in the US to get lower postal rates. It was actually cheaper to mail my post cards from Hong Kong to Japan than to do it locally.

Post card postage cost: 50 yen (61 cents or so).
1500 postcards is about $930, but I got a 5% discount if I sent out over 2000.
Printing was anywhere from 3-10 cents each.
It took a few hours just to print the address on each post card.

100% database mailer to existing customers. Usually 30-60-90 mailers, but I did do a few 45 day mailers to everyone. My highest return was 26%, but the average was closer to 18%.

At 18% the ROI is:
Marketing cost: 930
270 orders with a higher than normal average of about 3200 Yen
Sales generated 10680
Minus about 55% for FLC left 4800
ROI: $3870