Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What Can Local Store Marketing Do For Your Business?


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What can local store marketing do for your business?
Simply said, local store marketing builds sales.  But unlike the temporary sales spikes that advertising and couponing can drive, local store marketing helps create a loyal customer base that drives long-term on going  sales.

Executing your LSM plan.
The basis fora good local store marketing program is to: build new trial (first-time guests), increase guest frequency, check averages and party size. The question is; how can you accomplish this?

Local store marketing can build brand awareness within the community.  This should result in new guests visiting for the first time.  It is critical to remember that first impressions are difficult to change.   The way potential guests perceive your concept will determine if they will visit in the future.  There are tell tale signs that a guest is new.  Train your staff to recognize the signs and encourage them to roll out the red carpet for these special customers.

Although new guests are an important part of your business, you shouldn’t allocate the majority of your marketing budget to winning them over.   Finding new customers is the most expensive marketing activity there is.

Next, work on WOWing and retaining regular guests.  And make sure to increase frequency by building relationships with your existing patrons.   Use in store promotions and offer loyalty and rewards programs to promote return visits. If a guest visits your restaurant once a month, get them to visit twice – and you’ve just doubled your sales.

Increasing check averages is an often overlooked way to building sales. Imagine what would happen to your sales if every server was able to sell one more drink, appetizer or dessert to each table. Suggestive selling only happens if your staff is informed and enthusiastic about the menu.   Find a system that allows them to taste menu items – they will be more likely to sell  in a convincing way.

Last but not least take a good look at increasing party size.   Convince  your regulars to spread the good word about your restaurant.   Find a way to reward them when they come in with a group in tow.  Refer-a-friend program, and  large-party incentives such as a free appetizer for parties of 5 or more can also boost customer counts and sales.

When thinking local store marketing don’t forget your employees and vendors.
Treat employees and vendors as your internal guests.   An employee who loves their job will speak volumes about your restaurant.  A vendor that you build a relationship will spread the word about your place.  Create an environment where employees feel valued and vendors are friends.

Community partnerships
Examine your target demographic and partner with organizations that interact with those consumers. Are you trying to attract families? Sponsor a local sports team or school. Want business professionals to visit your restaurant?   Build promotions that entice business people to stop by at lunch or after work. Partnering with a well supported and local area non-profit organization can create invaluable media coverage and community goodwill.

Commitment is more important than tactics.
Your operations team, from regional managers to franchisees, must be committed to executing your local store marketing program. A successful marketing program should be strategically implemented so it doesn’t burden the restaurant operations. By introducing local store marketing tactics one at a time, you can gauge each one’s effectiveness – follow up and measurement is important. Local store marketing is a long-term solution and should be treated as such.   You won’t see instant results, but the sustained sales you generate will make it all worthwhile.

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