Overwhelmed by Digital Marketing?

digital marketing overwhelmIf you’re a small business owner feeling overwhelmed by digital marketing, stop, take a deep breath, and read on. This is the Part 1 of a 10 part series in overcoming the frustration you feel over doing the digital marketing you already know you need to be doing for your business, but are too overwhelmed by the number of strategies and marketing opportunities available to you.

For small business owners, digital marketing can quickly start to become overwhelming. There are so many opportunities there for you to explore, but just how do you actually go about taking advantage of those opportunities and fitting them all into your schedule? You are probably also wondering which digital marketing strategies you should you be using,  how do you go about implementing them successfully, and how can you track the results of your campaigns so you know what’s working and what’s not.  It can be overwhelming and frustrating!

If that’s you and you are feeling more than a little weighed down and confused by digital marketing, you’re certainly not alone. There are some studies out there that reveal some surprising to some, facts that suggest many small business owners are feeling overwhelmed and aren’t achieving the results they would like from their efforts. In fact, on a regular basis, business owners tell us that this problem can become so paralyzing for them that they end up doing nothing at all.  Despite the many opportunities digital marketing provides to small businesses to get their message out there, many of them have dismissed the idea of using it all – which is a huge mistake.

If you fall into this category and are feeling that digital marketing just isn’t for you, let’s look at how to get a handle on that overwhelm.

Here’s how we suggest you tackle it:

Stop and Regroup

When you feel overwhelmed by digital marketing and you’re feeling confused and frustrated, the best thing you can do is to stop what you are doing and regroup. It is important to recognize your need to re-set your psyche and then take some time out to refresh your mindset and come back stronger… with a clear head.

Step away from the computer. Especially if you’ve reached that point when you are no longer productive and continuing to work is just counterintuitive, so consider doing another task for a few minutes when you get frustrated. You’ll feel much better for it and will be able to come back to the task with a clearer focus.

In addition, working in short bursts is a great way to maximize your productivity levels and minimize overwhelm. For example, you might do fifteen-minutes of solid work and then take a short five-minute break. We’ve got a whole ebook of marketing strategies you can do in 15 minutes or less.  You can find that here.

Just Start With the Basics

In order to prevent overwhelm, it is important to familiarize yourself with the basics of digital marketing. Read up on the subject and then put together a plan of action that can be realistically achieved in your current schedule then schedule the time to do it! Take action!

It’s also certainly worth mentioning that many business owners make the mistake of trying to carry out every digital marketing method under the sun, when they would actually be much better off focusing on two or three strategies that are most effective for their business. The quickest way to overwhelm is trying to do everything! Choose a strategy and then track the results. Depending on your business, what works for others may or may not be for you.

If you downloaded our free ebook, choose a couple of ideas that you like and think about how you can make that work for you.

Continue to Part 2 in our series “Overwhelmed by Digital Marketing”.

Digital Marketing Challenge 2018

Happy New Year!

I’m so excited about the year ahead! I don’t know about you but I  just love new beginnings. A new year means a fresh start, a clean slate, new opportunities to grow our businesses and yes, CHANGE. I stopped dreading change a long time ago. Change isn’t bad, it’s just doing something different. Learning new ways to grow both personally and professionally are good things.

Introducing the 2018 Digital Marketing Challenge!

Here’s The Plan:

We’re going to start a 10 part series on “Breaking Through Digital Marketing Overwhelm” that will continue through the end of the month.

Since January is Get Organized Month, we’re going to start by getting your business’ digital marketing planning calendar started. The challenge in January is to get organized, decide on a theme for your promotions, and to begin creating a “marketing plan” for each month of the year using the skills we are going to teach you. There will be a lesson each month where we will discuss which platforms will work best for each months plan. We’ll get you started implementing your plan with ongoing support from me, my team, and from the other challenge participants on our Facebook group. We’ll also cover what strategies and platform(s) seem like the best bet for your specific business and for each item on your marketing calendar.

The Digital Marketing Challenge is free but can help you earn *thousands of dollars in additional revenue each year!

*I am required by law to give this Legal Disclaimer: Of course I can’t guarantee the actual profits you can expect as each business’ results will vary.  Everything depends on YOU and your ability to follow through with what you’ve been taught. The bottom line is, if you take action on what we teach you, you will see profits from your efforts. Like everything else is life, it’s takes effort to make money in any business.

Who is the Digital Marketing Challenge for?

For those small business owners who have had a “I can’t do it”,  “I don’t know how to do it”, or “I don’t have the time to do it” digital marketing mindset, this is your year to change your thinking! This is your year to shine and excel with your business’ digital marketing. This is the year to break-through those fears about using digital marketing practices in your business!  You already KNOW that digital marketing offers so many GREAT opportunities to connect with the people all around you who want and need your products and services. You also know that without digital marketing, you are missing opportunities to meet your prospects and customers, right where they are, on their mobile devices. Everyday that you procrastinate you are losing prospects, sales, and profits each day that the door to your business is open.  You must stop letting fear keep you from giving your business the benefits of what digital marketing can do for your business and stop letting your customers choose to do business with your competitors.

So, to that end, this year, we are going to systematically, define the best digital marketing opportunities, strategies, and platforms for you to use and we’re going to give you a challenge that is sure to increase profits from month numero uno! We will begin on January 15th, 2018 and we will complete the initial training by the end of January. Then, we’ll meet once a month, on the 1st Tuesday of each month for the rest of the year.  During the monthly meetings I’ll help you develop the following months marketing plan and we’ll use different strategies and platforms each month.

No worries, no stress, we’re going to help guide you along. Are you excited yet?!?

What You’ll Need to Participate:

  • A business.
  • A website for your business.  (NOTE: we can help you with that if you don’t already have one)
  • A computer or other digital device.
  • An open mind.
  • 30 minutes of time each day. It should go without saying that you will need to commit some time to this.  I think 15 -30 minutes a day will be sufficient for now. Go ahead and block off 30 minutes a day for each working day in January on your planner. Once the plan is in place, 15 minutes a day is all you should need from then on out.
  • A Planner.  I personally use this one and I like it a lot. It’s got everything you need and none of what you don’t need.  It’s inexpensive and I’ve been happy using this one for the last three years. You can use any planner that has room for each day’s marketing tasks, a place to keep track of your ideas, and a section for keeping track of time commitments.
  • A sharp pencil and an eraser are the only other investments you’ll need to make your marketing plan calendar. I prefer this mechanical pencil but any pencil and eraser will do just fine.  Note: You may not know this but I’m somewhat of a office supply hoarder. I love office supplies! Did you know that with Amazon Prime, you can get your planner, pencil, and many other items (not just office supplies) in just 2 days, with free shipping, and without leaving your desk!  I use this service so often and there are many other cool benefits associated with Amazon Prime like movies, music, free Kindle books, and special deals on products you already buy anyway just to name a few of the benefits.
  • Download my free eBook called “How to Increase Your Local Business’ Sales in Just 15 Minutes a Day.” This little book is full of marketing strategies that you can implement in 15 minutes a day or less. You can get that here. Since we’ll be using this throughout the entire year it’s a good idea to go ahead and print your copy of the book so you can make lots of notes in it when you see ideas you want to use and to mark things you want to remember.
  • Be a member of our Facebook group. It’s free too!

My January marketing calendar includes these events: 

I’ll be utilizing the following “holidays” to demonstrate how to use online digital marketing promotions to grow your business.

“Get to Know Your Customers Day.”

“Better Business Communication Day.”

“Have Fun at Work Day.”

If these are are a good fit for your business as well, great!  We can build your marketing calendar around these too. I think these promotional days will work for just about any kind of business but if you aren’t sure, go ahead and find a couple of other promotional days in January that you feel are better for your specific business. A good place to start finding events of all kinds is a website called “Days Of The Year.”  Go on over there and see what’s coming up that fits with your business and that your customers will find interesting. I’ll show you how to use these “holidays” to engage with your prospects and customers.

Ready or not, let’s get started! You’ll be glad you did it! 

Leigha

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget to download my free eBook  “How To Increase Your Local Business’ Sales” in Just 15 Minutes a Day.” Inside you’ll find 73 ways to market your business in just 15 minutes a day or less. We’ll use this book every month to plan marketing strategies so if you haven’t already, get your free copy here now. Also, once you’ve downloaded the book, you’ll get all the Digital Marketing Challenge updates sent to your email’s inbox so be sure to use your best email when you order the book so you don’t miss a thing!

Part 1, “Overwhelmed by Digital Marketing?”, is here.

Mobile Search is Changing Consumer Buying Decisions

Mobile search_buying decisionsBusiness owners must stay current with how consumers are making buying decisions and today mobile search clearly has a role in how they are doing that. In times past, advertisers used to dump all of their marketing budget into phone book ads, print ads in newspapers and magazines, radio spots, and if their budget permitted, even tv commercials. After all, other than word-of-mouth, that’s where advertisers got people’s attention. It was where people looked for information.

In more recent years, as advertisers learned that people were firing up their computers to research things like major purchases, school and career choices, and where to find the home loan they needed, they began putting a lot of effort into getting their websites found online through paid ads and search engine optimization. Since 2009, when I began helping local business owners with their internet marketing needs, I’ve compiled a lot of data for my clients about how and what people searched for from their computers and mobile search wasn’t even a thing. I still do traditional seo today however, with mobile devices now mainstream and in the hands of almost everyone,  business owners need to understand how people use mobile search from a mobile device is different.

Mobile search is changing things in a lot of ways and business owners who understand how device owners are using their devices will definitely have an advantage over their competitors.
Business owners today need to BE the resource for searches coming from mobile devices and they need to know HOW people are searching in order to be that resource effectively.

Mobile device owners are now accustomed to turning to their devices for a quick mobile search to find useful advice, across a much wider range of topics. Google puts it this way, “To inform any decision, we only have to turn to our phones. That means today’s consumer defines what’s high versus low consideration for herself, so marketers across categories have the chance to influence these curious and investigative shoppers with helpful advice”.

No Decision is Too Small to Use Mobile Search 

With information at our fingertips, we are searching for advice on practically everything we need or want. Nobody wants to get an unfavorable mortgage, buy a lemon while car shopping, or make the wrong choice for a school or career.  The big decisions are more obvious but no decision is too small.  The daily little decisions matter too. Nobody wants to buy a crummy product of any kind whether it’s cosmetics, an umbrella, or a t-shirt.  The point is, whether it’s value, style, or quality we care about, nowadays anything we’re considering buying—no matter the category or price—can be, and is likely to be, researched by doing a mobile search first. We can turn to our phones to get the answers we need to make the right decision and buy the right thing.

Google says they see this clearly in search data. Not only have mobile searches for “best” grown over 80% in the past two years, but searches for “best” have shown higher growth among “low-consideration” products than “high-consideration” products. In other words, we’re becoming research-obsessed, even about the small stuff. You can read more about this from Google here.

Think about a product you use every day: your toothbrush. Maybe you don’t give it much consideration, but plenty of people do. Google says that mobile searches for “best toothbrush” have grown more than 100% over the past two years. And this is not a trend limited to dental hygiene.

mobile search for best

Some other categories that show growing “best” searches on mobile devices.

As you can see, this is  really exciting news if you’re a marketer working within a traditionally “low-consideration” category. It’s now possible to reimagine your marketing’s role in helping consumers make decisions.

Mobile Search Is Personal

When it comes to seeking advice on what I will buy, what I research is personal to me. What I want to know isn’t necessarily what you want to know. Luckily with search, people can get really specific and still have confidence that they’ll get useful information.

Take shoes, for example. Yes, people want to learn about the best ones—and in some very personal and particular ways. Below is just a sampling of specific mobile searches that have been growing in this category.

mobile search is personal

Word-Of-Mouth Advice Is Still Important

We’ve always turned to other people to help us make decisions. And now more than ever, we tap into the expertise of others by searching online for product reviews and ratings, photos, and blogs. Others’ first-hand experiences help guide our product choices. We want to hear what others think and see their experiences—the good and the bad.

Searches for product reviews have been gaining traction for years. Still, in the past two years, mobile searches for “product reviews” have grown over 35% Not only that, but people are increasingly turning to mobile video to watch reviews. In the past two years, videos with the word “review” in the title had more than 50,000 years worth of watch time on mobile alone.

And back to those toothbrushes. Are people seeking reviews even for that basic item? Absolutely. Mobile searches for “toothbrush reviews” have more than doubled over the past two years.

Make your brand THE authority adviser

Google’s research shows that people are turning to mobile and actively searching for advice across categories, even for the small stuff. By making your brand easily discoverable and understanding when and where people are searching for guidance, you can ensure you’re there with the right advice whenever people need you.

We can help you with this.  Give us a call or schedule an appointment today for a free consultation to discuss how we can help your brand BE the authority consumers are looking for in your local market.

 

SSL Certificates & Business Website Security

Website security for your business has become a necessity.

If you have a business website, online security should be one of your top priorities. Whether you are buying, selling, or just surfing the web you need to be aware of whether your website as well as the websites you visit, are secure and safe for both you own safety and that of your potential customers.

secure website with an SSL Certificate installed

You are visiting a secure website with an SSL Certificate installed.

It’s always surprising when people tell me they don’t know how to tell if a website is secure. Google has been letting us know for some time which sites have been secured with SSL Certificates but if you don’t know where to look, it wasn’t as obvious as the new warnings are. Here is Google’s help page on this topic.

With the release of Chrome version 62, Google has just made it much easier and this image shows you what that looks like.

Not secure warning

Google  started sending out warning emails to business website owners in August 2017 as a follow-up to an announcement by Emily Schechter, Product Manager of Chrome Security Team, back in April.

Google began marking sites back with the release of Chrome v56, which was issued in January of this year. They targeted HTTP sites that collect user passwords and credit card details.

So now, business owners must secure the information being shared among their visitors and their web server, they must start incorporating an SSL certificate. Failing to do this is risky for both parties: sites that allow the sending of information in clear text may also allow its exposure through the Internet.

Ms. Schechter also provided website owners with a handy guide on how to enable HTTPS on their servers. An additional guideline on how to avoid the “NOT SECURE” warning on Chrome is also available for web developers.

We can be confident that HTTPS will be the new norm.

So, what does this mean to my business?

Bottom line… This means if your website doesn’t have an SSL Certificate, your website visitors will see a ‘Not Secure’ warning, like the one above  in the URL address bar.

With the Chrome version  62 release, websites with any kind of text input will need an SSL certificate.

When Do You need to Worry About SSL?

  1. If your website takes text inputs in the form of login panels, contact forms, search bars, etc.
  2. If your website begins with HTTP://

If it’s a YES to both these questions, you need to install SSL to avoid any risks or warnings. If you don’t implement SSL soon, your visitors will see a “Not Secure” warning on visiting your site.

What is SSL Certificate? And How it Works?

Think of it as an electronic passport. It proves you are – who you say you are.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.

If you don’t have the SSL certificate, a secure connection cannot be established, that means, your company information will not be digitally connected to a cryptographic key.

SSL Certificate has following information:

  • Name of the holder
  • Serial number and expiration date
  • Copy of the certificate holder’s public key
  • Digital Signature of the certificate-issuing authorityWhy SSL Certificates are Critical?

Here are some of the reasons to have SSL Certificates:

1. Encrypts Sensitive Information

The information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server. Any computer in between you and the server can see your credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, and other sensitive information if it is not encrypted. When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending the information to.

2. Protects You from Cybercriminals

They are clever!

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybersecurity damages will cost the world over $6 trillion annually by 2021.

It is impossible to escape the rising tide of cybercrime if your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate. They will identify weakness(es) in your network…mostly, when information is transmitted. Recently, the black eye masked people have been refining malicious strains that are specifically designed to capture data while moving between destinations. (Told you, these people are clever!)

You surely can protect yourself from this mess by installing SSL certificates that offer a vital means of defending against transit-based hacks.

3. Builds Trust & Brand Power

With SSL certificates, your customers will see visuals like lock icon and green address bar that indicates well-trusted encryption is in use. For your customers, seeing that on your website, will assure them that their information is traveling safely over the internet.

Build Trust & Brand

Undoubtedly, this will add brand power and boost the credibility of the brand.

In Conclusion

If you haven’t already installed an SSL certificate, Google has already flagged your website, secure it today with an SSL Certificate.  You can do it yourself or we can do it for you but whatever you choose to do, you must do it now.

If you’d like help with it, we can install it for you for just $149.00 for most sites. (e-commerce sites require a different kind of certificate and the cost is higher)

Call us today to schedule your SSL Certificate Installation. 843-647-0489 or Schedule an Appointment for a free 30 minute consultation.

P.S. If you know a business owner who has a website, please feel free to share this important information with them.

 

Local Business Marketing

Local Business MarketingToday, most local business owners realize that they must have a business presence on the internet.  They know that people search online for the products and services that they need and without a website, their business won’t be found by the people in their local market who are searching for the kinds of products and services they offer.  What they might not know is that for it to work, I mean to really work, it requires specific local business marketing strategies, local marketing expertise, and a well thought out web design that coordinates with their marketing plan.

Local business owners know having a website is not just an option anymore.  Unless you only sell your product or service to the very elderly consumer, forget the phone book and newspaper ads! People today search for almost everything they need online and not only that, they research their buying options there too.  More recently, fewer are doing it from their computers and many are doing it from their smartphones.

Many business owners we talk to have the same questions about how effective local search is? They want to know what business marketing strategies and platforms will work best for their business.  They need to know how consumer behavior is changing with the onslaught of today’s technology.

The answers, can be found in marketing studies that compile information about how people are using the internet.

[Read more…]

Small Business Promotion | Neighborhood Marketing Strategy

Neighborhood marketing strategyAnother small business promotion we like very much as a strategy is Neighborhood marketing.  Neighborhood marketing is a very simple and inexpensive promotion that will bring new customers into your own small business from local community organizations, institutions, and other local business’ in your geographical area.  Because they are part of your neighborhood, these customers are potentially repeat customers that will return again and again.  Neighborhood marketing works in nearly any type of business with a little brainstorming and it is a perfect marketing strategy for restaurants in particular.

Almost every business is surrounded by potential new customers if you want to take advantage of what’s already in your backyard with Neighborhood Marketing. Neighborhood Marketing is an easy way to get starting maximizing your neighborhood’s potential.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Map out a 1-3 mile radius from your business.
  2. Get in your car, or have your manager do it, and take a drive around the area you mapped out.
  3. Note all the organizations and other opportunities in your neighborhood you could begin marketing to. Make a list of them.
  4. Think about who you might already know there or, who you might know, who knows someone there.
  5. Brainstorm some promotional ideas and don’t forget how you might offer to help them. (quick lunch specials, take out orders, delivery, special dietary requirements, free pick up/drop off, special seating, loyalty clubs, etc.)
  6. Contact those businesses and make your offer.

Don’t forget to list these types of organizations and businesses.  They usually have many employees and some also have customers who are interested in your offer:

  • Apartment complexes
  • Auto dealers
  • Auto repair shops
  • Churches
  • Community Organizations
  • Construction sites
  • Hospitals
  • Military Bases
  • Office complexes
  • Plants
  • Radio & TV stations
  • Residential Subdivisions
  • Schools
  • Senior Citizen Centers
  • Shopping centers
  • Urgent care facilities
  • Other local businesses
  • and everybody else!

If you need help designing a promotion, give us a call we’re always glad to help.

Happy Marketing!

Small Business Promotions | The Mystery Giveaway Strategy

Mystery Gift giveaway promotion post imageToday, let’s talk about another idea from our growing catalog of small business promotions.  The “Mystery Giveaway”!

A mystery giveaway promotion is an easy promotion for your small business and provides an element of fun!

As the name implies, the item you’re offering is a complete mystery to the customer.  When the offer is a known item as an incentive, it gives customers the opportunity to decide if they want the free item and is it worth whatever is required of them to get it.  However, when the item is a mystery, you can build up the excitement without the customer passing judgment as to their desire to have said item.  They already want it simply because it’s free!  That makes this technique extremely powerful for any business.

What Kind of Mystery Item Should You Give Away?

There are a few different approaches you can take.  First, you can just give away something small and mildly useful. It should make your customer smile, but be fairly inexpensive.  For example, an odd electronic gadget, or a small book of quotes related to your industry.  If you’re a restaurant owner, free meals for a month or longer (one per week), is often a successful giveaway promotion for a restaurant. Or, on a grander scale, you could give away something that’s extremely useful, slightly more expensive and very impressive. The idea is to exceed the customers’ expectations. This generates a lot of goodwill and gets people talking about your business.

Mystery giveaway items can often come from stock piles of merchandise or leftover discontinued items.   This is a great way to make space for new products. It may be a good idea, before sending your old merchandise out as freebies, to make sure that the customer hasn’t actually purchased that item in the past.

Free Giveaways versus Purchase Bonus

You can use your giveaway in many ways. Generally speaking, you don’t want to just offer a mystery giveaway item to just everyone. You could limit your contest to regular customers, or to a specific group of people depending on the specific promotion. This kind of giveaways usually cost money to create.  So, you will want to be a little selective.  You can use it as a feeder for a sweepstakes, a contest, or even as a way to grow your list. For example, everyone who gets 50 likes on their contest page gets the mystery bonus.

You can also use a giveaway promotion as a purchase bonus. Whenever someone buys your product, they get the mystery item as well. Perhaps, you can even have a random rotation of mystery items.  This is a teaser because people never quite know what they’re getting.

Multiple Mystery Items: The Grab Baggrab bag image
Finally, you can give away multiple mystery items, grab bag style, by giving away a bunch of small things instead of one big thing.

The mystery item can add a great deal of style to your free giveaways. It can be used to build up excitement about a product or a launch or simply to clear your space of older merchandise. There’s a lot of room for creativity when you’re using this technique.

More Small Business Promotional Ideas:

If you are looking for more ideas on promoting your small business, be sure to download our free ebook: How to Increase your Local Businesses Sales.  You can find it by clicking here or completing the form on the left side of the top of this page.

Happy Marketing!

 

Local Restaurants Gift Card Strategy

local restaurant gift card marketing strategyThe largest gift-giving season is quickly approaching and local restaurants need a gift card marketing strategy now more than ever. Here’s why…

In a 2015 study, Toast, a renowned restaurant management technology firm, did a study that analyzed the gift card purchasing and redemption habits of more than 500 operations. Both digital and printed types of gift cards were included in the study.

After they analyzed the information, they segmented the data by restaurant type.  Each segment included at least 15 restaurants.

Here’s what they found:

  • In full service restaurants, customers with gift cards spent 72% more than customers without them.
  • Gift cards are a good strategy for holidays but overall, do well all year long.
  • Wednesday is the best day to sell gift cards.
  • Almost a third of restaurant gift cards are never fully redeemed.
  • Almost half of gift card users spent more than the value of their gift card.

Fishbowl, a software and services company for restaurants, provides a case study done in 2014, with a steakhouse client.  They reported that a gift card promotion driven by social media and email marketing campaigns increased their clients gift cards sales by 150% over the previous year’s sales. Even more impressive is that it was done in one day!

The clients sold their $100.00 gift cards for just $50.00 for just one day by aggressively marketing them online.

Here’s how they did it:

  • They sent a series of email messages to the members of the restaurants loyalty clubs.
  • They posted the offer to both their Facebook page and Twitter page.
  • They ran two paid Facebook ads that targeted new prospects in their local zip code area.

This resulted in thousands of gift card sales and hundreds of thousands in sales at a cost of about $0.70 per purchase.

Of course not every restaurant has all the pieces already in place to pull off such a campaign however, now is the time to get started putting things in place for this holiday season.

Gift card strategy checklist:

  • Decide on the tool. There are a number of different tools and options when it comes to a gift card program. Restaurants that integrate digital cards via their POS system have the added benefit of tracking their sales and seeing what’s working for them and how the cards are being used.
  • Link your cards to a loyalty program such as a birthday club or a craft beer membership. This will help sell more gift cards because they’re personalized to an interest group. It will also help you retain the user after the gift card is redeemed by having the ability to market future offers and specials to the customer.
  • Be active on your social media platforms so customers think of you on gift giving occasions.
  • If you aren’t already list building, get started now!

A gift card promotion can drive sales for you this year but more importantly, provide you with long term customer loyalty if it is done with a strategy planned with foresight.

If you need help getting started with a gift card promotion or getting your customer loyalty programs set up, call us for a free consultation.

 

 

Marketing for Locally Owned Restaurants

Most of the local restaurant owners I talk to tell me that they need some inspiration when it comes to marketing their restaurant.  They are doing the same things they’ve always done and not getting the results they need to be profitable, compete with the other establishments in their local market, gain new customers, and keep their customers coming back.

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the marketing methods we use in helping to change that for the restaurant owners that we work with.

Take a look at the image below.

This is an example of an actual monthly marketing planning calendar that a local restaurant owner could create.

weekly_planning

This type of promotion works very well in the restaurant business and I’m sure that you have seen large restaurant chains use some of these kinds of strategies.

Let’s take a closer look. (not too closely please. Yes, I do know that the word “sandwich” does not have an “e” on the end. 🙂

Key Events

Research key events that are happening both locally and nationally and think about how they apply to your business and what kind of promotional ideas might work well for your specific restaurant.  Be sure to include ideas that will help you with slow days and times.

Monthly Events

Many months will also have monthly event themes that will work well with your promotional calendar.  When creating a monthly marketing plan for a client, we start with monthly events, then fill in with weekly, and daily events.

In this example however, we didn’t find a monthly theme for August that we thought would compliment our restaurant’s promotional calendar. So, the key events are just weekly and daily events during this month.

Weekly Events

Our key event for this first week of August is “Simplify Your Life Week” and for that, we have decided to promote some take-out specials but you could do the same promotion for dining in.

Here’s the logic:

  • The number of women who work outside the home is consistently increasing.
  • It is still the women who do most of the cooking and they are tired after working a full day.
  • There is more disposable income for things like restaurant food in families where the woman works outside of the home.
  • Women make most of the food choices for the family.
  • Did you ever know a women who didn’t love a deal!

Did you know that at 5:00 pm when many women are getting off of work, they don’t have a clue as to what they are going to make for dinner?

Consider how a woman might respond to a text message sent to her at 5:05 pm while she is getting into her car to head home.  She sees that a restaurant she likes is promoting a take-out special, kids eat free, or free desert promotion, etc. What do you think happens?

Here are the specifics…

Somewhere between 4% and 14% of people will respond to a promotion like this by taking you up on your offer.  Let’s be conservative and say that only 4% respond.  If you had sent that message out to 1000 customers, you would have 40 customers ordering your take-out special and perhaps some regular menu items as well.

Now, the next part depends on your specific restaurant. But, for this example, let’s say that the average ticket of an order for a family of  4 is $40.00.  If my math is correct, our example promotion will bring your restaurant a return of $1600.00, minus the cost of the text messages, which should run about $80.00. That is a pretty good return on your investment. That’s especially true on a slow night! What would this mean to your business?

Now let’s take a look at daily events.

These kinds of events allow you to run promotions that bring in specific kinds of costumers.  In this example, we are targeting girlfriends, sisters, members of the Coast Guard, and people who like watermelon, chocolate chips, beer, mustard, and root beer floats.  The logic is this:

  • It’s always a great idea to recognize those who serve our community.  They will remember that you did that.  As Maya Angelou said, people will forget what you said, and they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This is a basic marketing truth and it’s also just a nice way to do business.
  • Most everyone enjoys a reason to celebrate and get together.
  • August is in the heat of the summer and these foods are natural choices for summer eating.

Promoting these kinds of events should be done on your website, blog, and social media pages and using great images is key.  Daily events can be used to actually bring in customers, or create a list of people who want to receive information, tips, your chef’s recipes, and offers from you.  Creating a list of people who either already do or, may in the future do business with you, is a smart idea.  This group of people wants to know what you’re up to and often share your posts with others who may not even know about you.

Good use of images is a vital part of getting people to share your promotions. Posts with images get shared 75% more often that posts without them.

sweet and spicy watermelon graphic

We hope this gives you some ideas of what’s possible in promoting your local restaurant.  That being said, we know that as a restaurant owner you already have to wear many different hats and that you just don’t have time to wear the marketing hat too.  We understand how busy being a restaurant owner can be and even if you already understand that marketing is a top priority, you don’t have the time to become proficient in the necessary skills yourself or the budget to pay someone in-house to learn it and and do it for you. That’s where we can really help you.

More Ideas

Be sure to grab a copy of our free eBook “Increase Your Business’ Sales. 73 Ways to Market Your Business in Just 15 Minutes a Day”. You can request that for free in the left column of this page.

If you need help

Whether you just need us to create a monthly marketing plan for you and you will take it from there, or you need us to create and execute your marketing plan we are there for you.

We would love to hear from you and we welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your restaurant’s marketing strategy.

Call us today at 843-647-0489 to arrange a free consultation.

Happy Marketing!

 

 

Calculating Average Lifetime Value of A Customer

calculating lifetime value of a customerWhat is a customer worth to your business?  Knowing what a customer is actually worth to you helps you determine what cost you might expect to pay in getting one and keeping them. If you don’t know the average lifetime value of a client, here is the simplest way to estimate it.  To get the most precise number, you also have to consider the cost of getting a new client and a few other factors but for our purposes today, this calculator will work just fine. If you need to know how to get the actual number see this article from Entrepreneur.

Here’s all you need to do for now.  Follow these easy steps to find out what just one new client is worth to your business.  Use this simple formula for right now, this will tell us what we need to know for now.

  1. First, come up with a dollar amount, your best guesstimate, of what an average customer or client spends per visit.
  2. Now, estimate an average of how many times you see that client per year.
  3. Lastly, on average, about how many years do you expect a client to stay with you?
Now we just do a little multiplication.

For our example,  Let’s say you said an average client spends $100.00 per visit and you see them 3 times a year.  Let’s say you take pretty good care of your customers and your business does a good job of retaining clients.  A conservative estimate might be  an average of 5 years.

$100.00 x 3 visits per year = $300.00

$300.00 x 5 years = $1500.00

So for purposes of this example, $1500.00 is the average lifetime value of your client.  That is what each of your customers are worth to your business and gives you an idea of what you might budget for obtaining new customers.

I’m sure your numbers will be different than those above but without a calculator, I like easy math.  You’ve got the idea I’m sure.  The important thing is for you to know what a value a new client brings so that you can figure out the ROI (return on investment) so you know where to spend the biggest chunk of your marketing dollars.

Happy Marketing,

Leigha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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