If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve been traumatized by online customer reviews. Many consumer review websites offer no help when it comes to responding to complaints (seriously, making me pay to leave a comment is just bribery), while others even hide your well-earned reviews from the world. Experiences like these uphold the unspoken truth that review websites are designed solely for their own benefit rather than to help consumers or business owners.
There is an awful lot of information out there about how to advertise your small business. But as Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, would ask, how do you put First Things First?
On the 3rd Saturday of every month, my gym replaces the regular boot camp classes with “Rest & Recovery”. The loud rock music gets swapped out for relaxing, instrumental melodies, everyone grabs a yoga mat, and then we stretch and foam roll for one full hour. The following Monday, trainer Tre is back to ‘stupid hard’ workouts and pushing us to our limits to reach new goals. (Don’t believe me? See for yourself.)
Michael Gerber is one of my favorite authors. In his E-Myth series, he explains that there are a number of "myths" about entrepreneurship. Foremost, is the idea that small businesses are started by people deciding to risk capital to make a profit. It is about someone "finding a need" and delivering a solution. It all sounds very calculated and wall-street-esque.
The coupon craze has risen to new heights. While consumers have always wanted to save money, Google Trends shows that interest in the term “coupons” has more than doubled since 2004. And, according to research from Hawk Incentives, 97 percent of consumers look for a deal when they shop, and 56 percent are more likely to look for a deal in 2017 than 2016. Survey after survey points to the same trend: Americans are still crazy for coupons.What follows is some more research diving into the details of coupon usage.
Paul has spent the last 3 hours searching for "small business advertising" on Google. He's tried Facebook, Google AdWords, and even hosted a community event, but he's still in need of new customers. So, Paul texts his neighbor Quinn to see what advertising he's been doing since Quinn's pizza shop has been busy non-stop lately. Quinn texts back, "Direct mail and coupon advertising." "There's no way!", says Paul. "Print is dead. Nobody looks at that stuff!" Six months later, Quinn's pizza shop is still busy and Paul is still searching for new sales.
Six months ago Rick invested in register tape advertising for his restaurant. After hearing success stories from other restaurant owners, Rick expected to get a quick return on his investment. Now six months have gone by and only one new customer has come in from the campaign. Determined to find the source of the problem, Rick goes to the grocery store to see the receipts first-hand. Much to his surprise, Rick's offers aren't nearly as good as he thought they were! His $2 off an entree pales in comparison to the other offers, and the colors he insisted on using are muddy and unappealing. Realizing he's made a huge mistake, Rick rushes back to the restaurant to call his Marketing Consultant, ask for forgiveness, and get his coupon advertising campaign back on track.
Establish a Foundation of Trust
As an insurance agent, building familiarity with consumers well before they need your service is an integral part of making the final sale. An established foundation of trust can make all the difference when a person's policy expires or a life-changing event occurs and they're looking to buy from their friendly neighborhood agent. To lay this foundation, you need to put your business front and center of consumers' attention.
The setting: your local grocery store. The scene: Alice Walker has entered the store and grabbed a shopping cart. She opens up the seat of the cart to set her purse down. There she sees an ad for Charlotte Wilson, Realtor extraordinaire! Alice continues her shopping trip, adding items to her basket, and each time her eyes catch a glimpse of the ad. For the next 47 minutes, Alice repeats the routine, grabbing, placing and seeing. She stops and talks to friends and neighbors, checks out, and the last thing she sees when returning her cart is Charlotte Wilson, Realtor extraordinaire! At work the next day, Alice learns that one of her colleagues is planning on selling her home. When asked if Alice knows a good realtor, she says, “Have you heard of Charlotte Wilson? I see her everywhere.”
American restaurants collectively spent $6.4 billion on advertising according to research from 2013. With so much being spent on advertising we have to wonder, "How much of that $6.4 billion is spent on advertising tactics that actually work?"
Whether you're investing money or time, your restaurant should focus on tactics that are proven and profitable for your category of business.
Let's review three types of restaurant advertising that have a great track record and are easy on the wallet.