How to get Business Traffic Flowing

Dear M & M: 

What’s the best way for me to drive customers into my restaurant on slow days?   How do you suggest I get traffic flowing in when I need it the most? 

– Darren

Dear Darren:

Great question! This is a problem experienced by almost every business, restaurant or not, at one time or another. Here are some thoughts on this from Gil Nelson owner of Blastmybusiness on this topic.  The first step when embarking on a marketing campaign is to understand who your ideal customer is and then craft campaigns that speaks directly toward them.  Marketing messages that are too general usually prove to be ineffective. Here are some questions you’ll likely want to ask as first steps in focusing your message: Who is your target audience? What problem do they want you to solve for them? How bad do they want it? (What happens if they don’t get it?) What unique benefits does your product or service offer? (Why buy from you?) Where can they access/be a part of/purchase your solution? This is a creative effort, so be sure to jot your ideas down on a notepad and don’t worry about editing in the short-term. Just get those ideas down for later review/edit.

The goal here is to create a marketing campaign that continues to generate leads over the long-haul. “Planning your work, and working your plan” has always been practical advice when it comes to marketing. Marketing with a publication schedule is a great way to keep your brand in front of the public and to keep it fairly steady flow of traffic coming into your establishment. But, all the planning in the world won’t help you get the word out to your fans when you need it most if you don’t have the right technology. As powerful as other marketing channels are, none of them; not television, not radio, not the newspaper, not any of the traditional marketing channels can reach a target audience and get a better response rate than text message marketing.  In fact, this type of permission-based list is by far the most effective marketing channel available today if you want to reach the majority of your list at the push of a button.

Few things are more personal than your phone. Today, people travel with three essential items, their keys, their wallet, and their phone. Building a list of highly qualified and interested prospects and customers you can reach out to through their phones is incredibly powerful. Once they’ve CHOSEN to receive text messages from you, you should experience a very high rate of participants that redeem your offers and a very low opt-out rate. Text messages are opened more often and get read more than e-mail. E-mail, for example, can also be blasted to the list at any time, but the open rates for e-mail is generally only 14 to 20%, meaning that only 14 people out of every hundred ever read your e-mail, whereas about 90 of those same 100 people will read your text message within 15 minutes of sending. In other words, if you got a mobile VIP club, and you’re experiencing a slow Tuesday, you could “blast” a special offer to the list, that’s only good for today, and expect that 90% of your list would have read the message within the next hour.

If you have a compelling offer that addresses your audience properly, chances are that a significant percentage of your list will come to your place to redeem or consume your offer. SMS text message marketing has been available in the US for about five years and is more popular than ever with businesses and consumers alike. Text message rates have dropped substantially making it more affordable for small local businesses to take advantage of this powerful media. Some of the other advantages of using text message marketing are: Building a List of Opt-Ins Is a Business Asset with Real Financial Value – Increased Open Rates Give You More Chances to Make the Sale – Increase Visitors and Sales – Increase Frequency of Visits – Increase Dollars Spent Per Visit – Reduce Advertising Spend –  Reducing no-shows up to 80% with Appointment reminders. The key to list building success is, making it simple and easy to join your list. Using table tents, point-of-purchase signs and displays, and educating your staff and management about how to verbally promote your offers will help you build your list. To see text message marketing in action, and to learn more about how to build your permission-based mobile VIP list of customers, join us on November 6th at Cochise College, for the fast paced 2 hour Free workshop that will show you how to kill it with mobile.  Contact the SBDC 520-515-5478 to register or find more information.

 -M&M

To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation(EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email  hollism@svedf.org .

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