Franchise

One More Chapter in a Great Story

One More Chapter in a Great Story

About six months ago I wrote about a small, bricks and mortar business that had successfully implemented and was enjoying the fruits of an online system that increased word-of-mouth marketing for their business. You can read the original post here. In a nutshell, the business is a haircut salon for men--a Sportclips franchise to be exact. The owners, Chuck and Joan Matheny, were using Promoterz to 1) Collect feedback from their customers, 2) Establish an "opt-in" email relationship through which they could communicate directly with their customers, and 3) Give their customers an easy way to tell their friends about their store. Top line result: more than a 20% increase in revenue.

Here is a new chapter in their saga:

Corporate SportClips introduced and has been encouraging franchisees to promote a "Season Ticket" concept. Customers willing to pay for six haircuts in advance get a free upgrade to MVP service on each of those haircuts (MVP includes a hot towel and shoulder massage among other things). Because several hundred of the Matheny's customers have asked to receive updates about the store by email, promoting the Season Ticket with an email seemed like a natural. Think about the value of Chuck's email list: because he had reached out to his customers and provided a way for them to opt-in, he could now communicate with those that wanted to hear from him directly and at absolutely no cost. He didn't have to wait for them to come into the store or pay for an expensive ad.

Rather than just encouraging the customers to come in to a store and ask for a Season Pass, we decided to put the technology to the test and offer the customers a quick and simple way to buy the card directly online. The email included a "one-click" buy button. Customers could opt to have the card mailed to them or come into the store and pick it up. The test has been a great success. Several customers have purchased online and the orders continue to come in. Cha-ching! A new online revenue stream for a bricks and mortar business.

Small test--significant implications. Here is a small "old industry/bricks and mortar" business that has figured out a way to use the internet--not as a glorified yellow-pages ad, but as a tool to generate new revenue streams, increase repeat customer visits and collect new leads--all of which have a direct impact on the top and bottom lines.

The real "no-brainer?" The Matheny's used Promoterz to do all of this. The cost: $50 per month per store.

The Power of the Talking Bubble

The Power of the Talking Bubble

Remember the talking bubble from the cartoons? It occurs to me that there is a lot of power in that bubble. In fact, the whole intent of word-of-mouth efforts is to get your business in your customer's bubble.

How much money do we as business owners spend getting our ads up in lights, in a magazine, on TV, or online? Fact is, consumers are more jaded than ever and better at ignoring all that expensive advertising.

The real power is not up on the billboards or on the airwaves. The real power is in the bubble.

When you pass out a Promoterz bounce back card you automatically build an accurate customer list, increase repeat sales, increase referrals and prevent lost business. Pretty powerful little card. Learn more

The Miracle of the Reservoir

The Miracle of the Reservoir

I grew up in the west and now live in Arizona. There is a simple rule for growing things out here (this rule applies everywhere but is more obvious in the arid west): if it doesn't get water it doesn't grow. Early settlers fought their neighbors over water rights knowing that land without water wasn't worth a plugged nickel. In addition to fighting, they went to work and figured out ways to divert and contain spring runoffs, rainfall and the flow of rivers and creeks to use in dry times. They built dams that created reservoirs then built a network of canals and ditches to get the water to the fields. Wallah! Arid desert became fertile farmlands. Fly over the west today and the benefits of the reservoir and resulting irrigation are obvious in the green irrigation circles that dot the land.

Now think about your marketing and advertising efforts. Paying for advertising can feel like paying somebody to do a rain dance--you're not at all sure what you are going to get. But sometimes there is no choice. So you pay and with some luck some new customers fall from the sky. With a lot of luck maybe a lot of customers fall from the sky. Then comes the moment of truth: do the customers run off like a flash flood leaving only a little green in their path? Or have you built a customer reservoir that they peacefully flow into to be tapped again and again ensuring green for many years to come?

How do you build a customer reservoir? First let's be clear, the reservoir metaphor only goes so far. While it is possible to build a dam to trap water, trying to trap customers is a recipe for disaster. Your goal is not to trap but to create something customers want to be, and remain, a part of. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Be remarkable-Find out what is most important to your customers and then be absolutely amazing at it.

  2. Be inviting-Identify your customers and invite them to be part of something great. Make it easy for them to join.

  3. Be persistent-Make the effort to stay in touch regularly, if you don't someone else will.

  4. Be contagious-Make it easy for your customers to tell their friends about your business.

  5. Be attentive-Ask your customers what they think, listen to what they have to say, and continue to make your business even more remarkable.

The early western settlers learned quickly that without reservoirs they couldn't survive. The same is true of business today, rain dances alone aren't sufficient.

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

A Tale of Four Failed Restaurants

A Tale of Four Failed Restaurants
What is the most compelling thing about your business from your customers' perspective? Is it remarkable?

I visited my home town recently and noticed that four, fairly-new restaurants were out of business. Restaurants going out of business is certainly not news--it happens all the time--but these four should have survived and thrived, but didn't.

Case #1: Joe's Crab Shack. Located at perhaps the busiest intersection in the area, Joe's opened just two or three years ago. Joe's is a chain of restaurants. As the name suggests, they serve crab and other seafood in a fish camp atmosphere.

Case #2: Lucky Buns. I believe this was a local entrepreneur's project. Built a beautiful building (see picture) on a nice busy street near a freeway off-ramp. The food was hamburgers and ice cream.

Case #3: Chevy's. Also seemed to have a great location and built a nice building. Chevy's is part of a chain and serves Mexican food.

Case #4: Juanita's. Another Mexican restaurant. Pretty good location in a busy commercial center. They built a very nice building to provide that "old Mexico" feel.

All four restaurants opened with great fanfare and significant crowds. Within a few years they were all closed. Why? I have no inside information. I haven't talked to the owners or any one else, but I have a hunch. In addition to remarkable facilities, good locations, and plenty of publicity they all had one significant thing in common: mediocre food.

I lived in the area when all four restaurants opened. I ate at three of the four exactly once. I never ate at the fourth because I had friends that did and told me it wasn't that great. In the restaurant business location and atmosphere may bring them in, but it is the food that brings them back.

How does it apply if you are not in the restaurant business? Make sure you know what will bring your customers back and then focus on making that aspect of your business remarkable, the rest will take care of itself.

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more

The Power of Staying in Touch

The Power of Staying in Touch

In the cluttered marketplace we compete in, I don't think the power (and necessity) of staying in touch can be overemphasized. I learned the lesson again last week--thankfully in a good way. It had been a while since I had heard from one of our clients at PromoterZ and so I sent him an email and invited him to go to lunch. We had a nice chat, I asked for feedback on our service and he had a few suggestions (I'm happy to note that we followed through on them). I ran a new idea we're working on past him. He liked the idea and agreed to let us test it with his customers. Then he mentioned that their franchising operation is taking off (looking for a good franchise opportunity? Check out Entrees Made Easy) and there might be an opportunity for me to tell some of their new franchisees about PromoterZ. Turns out the timing was perfect, and I'm scheduled to present to some of their new franchisees next week on how to turn customers into promoters.

So what did I get for my $30? Our product, PromoterZ, is now better thanks to his feedback, we have a place to test our new concept (more on that in future posts), and I have the opportunity to tell new franchise owners how much PromoterZ has helped Entrees Made Easy. Where else could I have got that kind of return on my money? Thanks Brandon!

They say it costs 5 to 10 times more to sell to new customers than it does to sell more to current customers, and yet what percent of our effort is spent looking for new customers vs. pleasing and staying in touch with our current customers? I was able to take Brandon to lunch, but that is not always geographically possible. A phone call works great. It can be as simple as, "how are things going?" Use technology where you can. Without exception, each time we send out our newsletter we get one or two phone calls from customers--they had been meaning to call but never got around to it until the newsletter arrived in their inbox. Here are a few other ideas:

• Send 1st timer customers a special thank you
• Send birthday greetings
• Send a newsletter
• Send Holiday greetings (Did you know today is Chocolate Eclair Day?)
• Send thank you notes

Finding new customers is tough and expensive. Once you've got a customer, hold on to them by staying in touch. I can guarantee you if you don't, somebody else will.

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more
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