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Dependable Direct Marketing Techniques for Restaurants

Aug 7, 2008
There are many direct marketing techniques that a restaurant owner could choose from, but why not use the tried and true - - and the most dependable. The reason the strategeies described below have survived the 'test of time' is both because they work and because they provide a return on your investment of time and money.

Perhaps the oldest of these techniques is mail, although in today's Internet vernacular it is often referred to as 'snail mail'. Snail mail enables direct communication via colorful brochures, well-crafted letters and flyers as well as special coupons. Although these pieces are static, they have response rates that vary from 1% to 3% and sometimes up to 5%. Mail campaigns can be expensive because of the print costs, the cost and time involved with stuffing envelopes, and the postage. Additionally, there is a lot of waste because recipients just discard the mail package and generally don't take the time to send a request to be removed from the distribution list.

Rapidly gaining on snail mail is electronic mail, or email, because it has several significant advantages. Costs are lower, graphics can be included, and consumers generally opt-in to the list thereby giving you permission to market to them. Opting in conforms with most of the anti-spam laws as long as you provide info on who the email is from, a physical address, contact information, and, most importantly, an easy way to opt-out of the email campaign. If a consumer unsubscribes, this becomes a real benefit because it ultimately leaves you with a highly qualified email list. Email is now becoming a very dependable way for a restaurant to reach it's customers.

Related to snail mail is traditional fax marketing. Faxes come as black-and-white documents, typically one page, that the receiver can choose to either accept or discard without ever reading them. As with snail mail, there is a lot of waste because recipients just discard the Fax and generally don't take the time to send a request to be removed from the distribution list. It is important to note that many states have some very strict rules and hefty fines for sending unsolicted faxes making it neccessary to only fax to a permission-based list.

We have all received the dinner time telemarketing call that is incredibly annoying. It is annoying because it is ill-timed and also because you know it is a sales pitch for something that oftentimes you have no interest in. More successful is a different type of telemarketing call that is permission-based, educational and makes an offer for a 'no strings attached' program, service, book, coupon, complimentary meal or seminar that is directly related to your interests as a result of previously having done business with the company making the call. When done right, telemarketing can strengthen the relationship with your customers because of the personal contact component that an impersonal mail piece simply doesn'y have.

The importance of using a commercially available restaurant management checklist to serve as a guide for managing your restaurant's operations cannot be overstated. With such a tool, you greatly enhance your ability to provide consistent customer service, meet your financial objectives and be focused and organized as well as operate your business more efficiently.
About the Author
Jim O'Donnell of Jaguar Consulting, Inc. in Kingston, NH provides marketing and business development services for small business and has developed a Restaurant Self-Assessment Checklists designed to help restaurant owners and managers achieve a higher level of growth and profitability. He can be reached at (603) 642-8338, JimODonnell@JaguarConsulting.com, or http://WWW.Checklists4Business.com to view all available checklists.
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