Getting your concept in front of the right people is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. It’s all about finding that perfect customer, and turning those customers into loyal and repeat users. In fact, according research released by Bain & Company, a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent. To get better insight on how to find those new and loyal customers through local marketing, here are three tips for success.
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Reaching Out to Potential New Loyal Customers
New movers within a community are adapting to their new neighborhood and seeking businesses that will become “their places.” These are the restaurants that they will visit over and over again with their families, friends or on the way home from work weekly. Because new movers have no local business loyalties, quick-service operators have a huge opportunity with this audience if they get them before they are committed to other concepts. But how do you find these customers? According to the New York Times, a precisely timed advertisement, sent to a new homebuyer, can change someone’s shopping pattern for years. When you reach them, you have to give them a reason to try your product or service. Offer them something free—a fan favorite menu item. By offering them a no-strings-attached gift they become more likely to redeem the offer, have a more positive customer experience at your restaurant, and feel a sense of loyalty to your business. These types of positive experiences will keep them coming back again and again.
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Creating and Maintaining a Positive Reputation in the Community
We’ve seen it before, one bad review can bring a restaurant concept down and have long term effects on the business’ reputation. Multiply that bad review by 10, 20 or even 100 bad reviews—these will surely break a business. It’s important that your marketing plan includes actively maintaining a positive online reputation and brand image. According to a local-consumer review survey, 97 percent of consumers have checked online reviews before visiting a business. Check social networks and review sites often and make sure that if customers are telling you about their experience you are responding to them in a timely fashion and meeting their needs. If conversations are going beyond a one-off answer, take the situation offline and ask them to email you directly, outside of the public’s eye. Most importantly, no negative review should go unanswered or unrecognized. Turn negative reviews into a positive by showcasing your commitment to providing great service and customer support. On the other end, you should be encouraging guests to leave positive reviews for your business online. Offer incentives to guests that relay their positive experience to other customers. This engagement will help you grow your business organically while maintaining a positive image in the community.
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Effectively and Creatively Communicating to Existing Customers
While there is always going to be exciting opportunities to gain new customers with newcomers in a community, every quick-service concept still has a responsibility to maintain a good relationship with their existing customer base. Generally, retention of customers is easier and less expensive than acquisition of new customers. Consider ways to strengthen relationships with loyal customers to ensure they have a great experience every time they come into your business. Take notice of repeat orders or trends with repeat customers and offer them deals specific to their favorite menu items. When the holidays are coming up, reach out to them with discounts on certain items or special offers just for them. Make sure to stay engaged with your existing customers outside of your business as well using email and social media marketing tactics. Keeping these customers in the know and up to date on your business will ensure that no customers are falling off from lack of presence or outdated information on your social media outlets.
Brian Mattingly is the founder and CEO of Welcomemat Services, a digital and disruptive direct mail marketing company specializing in targeting people who have recently moved. Through Brian's leadership, the brand has grown to over 60 franchise locations with national coverage and was named the #1 Advertising Franchise in 2017 according to Entrepreneur Magazine.