Jessie, owner of Posie’s café explains on her blog: “ Today one of our most loyal customers, Lucinda, came in and asked if she could use her Groupon that had expired the day before. I felt terrible, but I had to say no. She came to tell me later that she was really disappointed and that she never wanted to come back. I explained to Lucinda, and now to all of you, how Groupon works for businesses, and why it has been the single worst decision I have ever made as a business owner…”
Jessie made the mistake of starting a promotion that could never make her money. The more business she got through the promotion the more money she lost. She ended up counting the days until the expiry date so she could pull the promotion .It’s too easy to make this kind of mistake. Let’s take a moment to discuss the right kind of marketing: sustainable marketing.
What is sustainable marketing?
Sustainable marketing contributes to your long term business value. Sustainable marketing pays for itself from first use. Sustainable marketing concentrates on getting customers to come to your restaurant in the first place and then keep returning. Sustainable marketing is not so interested in one off orders. Sustainable marketing builds your brand because that’s where the value of your business lies.
Another kind of marketing is tactical marketing. This picks up orders and bookings where it finds them. Groupon mentioned above is an example of tactical marketing. There’s nothing actually wrong with tactics: restaurant goers tend to be opportunistic and we need to find customers where we can. However, do make sure that your tactical marketing pays for itself first time, as there likely won’t be a second time. Second, put your main effort into switching these orders into long term customers – ie your sustainable marketing. This is where a sustainable marketing system in your restaurant or takeaway comes in.
What does sustainable marketing look like?
It is devoted to increasing your business value. It promotes your brand and your restaurant whether they order online, book by phone or come off the street. It gets customers to return again and again through email and Facebook.
How to convert tactical orders to sustainable customers
Very simple: point your customers towards your loyalty programme or Gold Club. Whether they have come off the street, via Groupon or Just Eat for example, they will benefit from the one-off registration promotion. This encourages them to return and we now have their details to continue marketing to them.