If most of your trade is (or is going to be) local, maybe even the office lunchtime fraternity, advertising in the press may not be your most productive, cost effective option.
Your local paper may boast of a readership of 80,000 – but 99% of those may not even be your target audience. There are many reasons why people buy a paper. How many people do you know who only buy it for the sports pages, or the motor-mart? My experience (depending on the type of establishment) has usually shown a poor return for my pound.
And how much of that readership is really in your catchment area?
Marketing, however, can be very targeted. My last venture, the trade came mainly from people already in town, especially people who work there & buy lunch locally. On 2 occasions I rode around the town centre on a bicycle in the evening with a big carrier full of my professionally printed menu, attached to it- a special offer leaflet with a powerful hook. ‘All Jacket Potatoes Half Price With This Voucher!’
My fillings were varied (offering something different!) & the quality was excellent.
I did a letterbox drop of every business in a 2 or 3 minute walk from my lunch bar. This type of marketing is very effective at drawing in lots of new trade – but the secret is,… you have to be GOOD! There’s no point in give-away’s if people aren’t going to come back & use you ongoing at your usual prices.
The loss in profits from such marketing strategies is a lot less than the cost of an advert in a paper that doesn’t reach your target audience as effectively.
I would hope you would agree – money well spent!?
This type of Direct Marketing costs very little, except labour. At ‘half price’ I’m giving away most of my profits, but it hasn’t cost me anything. As a result, MANY new customers came in to try my food, most of which became regular customers until I sold up. Alternatively, an advert would’ve cost me £100’s- and some new customers may- or may NOT have come in to try me.
On all marketing material, make sure your phone number is prominent, stating clearly that ‘phone orders are welcome!’ If they can phone ahead & only have a half-hour lunch break, it can save them considerable waiting time.
This will rank you highly, as most café’s/lunch bars don’t do it. My lunch trade went up 20% (ongoing!) the first time I launched this marketing campaign.
It is also important to understand that when you do advertise, announcing your presence, you become ‘fresh meat’ to all the marketers in your industry. Including suppliers of groceries & equipment wholesalers & retailers.
It is very important that you understand that they are not experts in how to run your establishment, but just want to sell you everything they possibly can. Be sure about what you really need. Don’t be pushed!
This will also include people trying to sell you advertising. They will all tell you why their publication is The Best for you. None of it is as good as it sounds. Do your own research, & if you do advertise, do so in a way that allows you to monitor it’s success, ie. a voucher system which proves they came from a particular advertisement. If you run ad’s in a number of publications, it clearly shows you which ones work, and which ones are a waste of money. At least that way, you only waste it once.
On the subject of advertising, one avenue worth pursuing, is negotiating a feature story. I have achieved this successfully a number of times.
If you have a worthy story, grand opening, new menu, refurbishment etc, your local press may be interested in running a story, with photographs. (Sometimes insisting you pay for a small advert on the same page.) You’d be surprised at how often they are looking for local news to fill their pages.
Whatever deal they offer, NEVER accept their first price. You can be pleasantly surprised at how negotiable they are. (Not always, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know.)
If you do get a story printed, my advice is to include a readers offer, just another opportunity to attract some more new customers. Just be ready to ‘secondary market’ them. (This is detailed fully in the complete programme.)
Targeted Marketing in your immediate area for the best return on your pound.
But there’s no point in give-aways unless you’re sure you’re good enough that some of them will continue to use you at your usual price. How good are you?
Offer a phone order service – not many do!
All advertising rep’s will tell you why their publication is the best for you! Be sure about what you need. Monitor results.
Write an article for local publications. They’re often looking for ‘stories.’
ALWAYS negotiate a better price.
For more in-depth information on this including full details on how to implement secondary marketing, & how to write an article or press release, apply for the full Café Academy Programme NOW.