In our day-to day business dealings we come across a lot of pub, bar, club, coffee shop and restaurant owners. It breaks our hearts when we see many of these owners with good, or sometimes even great, ideas and concepts for their bars and coffee shops struggle to stay afloat or close just after a few months after opening. Many times, we see beautifully and expensively furnished coffee shops, pubs, bars and restaurants disappear so quickly into the never-never due to inappropriate attention to setting and implementing the right sales and marketing goals. We are absolutely amazed that people will spend so much money on furnishing their business and then fail because they did not plan properly. (For great sample marketing plans and an amazing marketing planning software view Marketing Plan Pro
. For a more detailed article on how to prepare your marketing plan click here
We have done a lot of research on this subject, since we (Mark and Alex, the founders of Mandrake.ATM) have a passion for coffee shops, bars and restaurants (we are still planning to open one of these in the future). Here are some great and simple tips to follow in order to avoid these pitfalls. Although the information we present here refers primarily to how to build pub, bar, club, or coffee shop sales, most of the principles and strategies we talk about here apply to any retail business.
Setting realistic and achievable sales goals is crucial to your business. These goals set the tone for your marketing plan, which is a map of how you are going to achieve those goals. In order to meet your sales goals you must know your target market (size of it and customer profiles) and establish the exact amount of money you need to spend on your advertising and promotion in order to attract (communicate effectively with) your target market. You also need to know the number and kinds of distribution channels you use.
Your sales goals must be, at the same time, challenging and attainable. If you want to increase your projected sales, you will also have to spend more money to achieve those goals. If you set unrealistically high sales goals, and spend a lot of money to achieve these goals, your cost-to-sales ratio will be very high and cause your profits to fall far bellow what you hope or expect.
If you underestimate your sales goals and you are, all of a sudden, swamped with customers (sweet worry to have with proper planning!), you might be unable to meet the demand and will lose out first-time or loyal customers to your competitors.
It’s essential to have a five-year sales plan that is broken down in five annual plans, and the annual plans are broken down in monthly plans. The monthly goals should be made of daily sales goals. Yeah, a lot of planning, we know, but this makes the difference between a great success and a failure.
MARKETING GOALS AND STRATEGIES
Marketing in a nutshell means how you communicate with your customers in order to achieve your sales goals. The marketing strategies are the means you are going to use to achieve your sales objectives. In any business that serves food and beverages, the marketing goals and strategies usually zero in on four main areas:
1. Getting new customers;
2. Keeping your customers;
3. Getting customers to spend more;
4. Getting your customers to come back more often.
In the next few weeks, we will cover some of the best strategies for giving your bar, pub, club, or coffee shop sales a massive boost.
Here we will focus on how to get new customers by using marketing strategy#1: CROSS-PROMOTIONS
GETTING NEW CUSTOMERS
Marketing strategy #1: CROSS-PROMOTIONS
This is one of the fastest ways to build your customer base and it’s remarkable to see how little it is used by so many in the Australian hospitality industry, especially by coffee shop owners. Americans seem to be much better at this. So, how do these cross-promotions work? Usually, you promote your new product through ‘free-coffee, beer, wine, alcoholic mixed drink, etc’ cross-promotions.
You will need to find a local business in your area, which is not competing with you for any of the products you are promoting, and that serves customers with a similar customer profile and get them to hand out a coupon for a complimentary coffee, beer, wine, etc. at your bar, pub, club or coffee shop.
Well-planned and implemented cross-promotions are a win-win situation for all parties involved. The business promoting your product benefits by giving a ‘gift’ to their customers, and your business gets access to the other business’ hard –earned customer base.
If the owner of the other business is interested in promoting their own products and services using your customer base, you can use your ATM Automated Teller Machine to print coupons on the ATM receipts, giving your customers a discount for using the services and products of the other business. This way your ATM (or ATMs if you have a few of them) becomes a great marketing tool in cross-promoting your business.
Plan your cross-promotions carefully. You don’t want to overstretch yourself. You have to give yourself and your staff time to get familiar with the cross-promotion, and respond effectively to the increased demand. You also want to monitor effectively how customers are responding to your cross-promotions, so every period (day/week/month) you have a cross-promotion should be followed by a period (day/week/month) where you don’t have a cross-promotion.
You also have to keep accurate records, so you know which coupons, handed out at which business, work best. Failure to do so defeats the purpose of your cross-promotion.
Also, keep your cross-promotion campaigns short, so you keep the excitement of everyone involved (customers, the businesses cross-promoting you, your staff, and yourself too).
Here are all of the steps to cross-promoting your product.
Make a list of all the businesses near you that serve the same or similar target market. For example, if you are a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, or a pub that caters to corporate types in the CBD, you can approach any non-competing business catering to corporate people in your area (the dry cleaner, the local gym, the book shop, the tie and shirt shop, etc.) and ask them whether they are interested in a cross-promotion deal.
Introduce yourself to the owner or manager of the other business and ask them if they would be keen on treating their customers with a complimentary coffee/wine/beer etc. Show them where their name will go on your coupon and tell them that you will cover all the costs for the campaign. Bring a sample of the products you want to cross-promote, so the owner and his/her staff can enjoy them. They will be more likely to do the hard sell for you if they have tried and like your product.
Ask how many coupons the other business wants to start with depending on their customer count and customer buying patterns.
Design a nice, noticeable coupon with your offer in large, bold letters at the top of the coupon and an explanation of the offer bellow. Include your address, phone number and a valid-until date. This makes sure that the owner of the other business hands out your coupons on time.
Find a cheap printing shop (quick print shop). Put eight coupons per page on your printing template to save money on printing.
Deliver your coupons to the other business personally and carefully explain the rules of how these coupons are to be handed out. You want the staff of the other business to be handing one coupon-per-customer. Make sure your coupons don’t lie around on the countertop of the other business, where customers can help themselves. Place a set of instruction near the cash register or in the staff room.
Follow up. This is very important. Visit the other business the second day in order to strengthen your relationship with that business and reinforce that both parties are going ahead with the cross-promotion. This will also give the staff of the other business a chance to ask you any questions related to the cross-promotion. This also gives you an opportunity to check that your instructions are being followed properly. After that, follow up at least once a week. Make sure the other business has enough of your coupons.
Advertise your cross promotion on the display screen of your ATM Automated Teller Machine. You can have ten advertising screens on our ATMs.
Many of the ideas presented here were adapted from the authors of Start and Run a Coffee Bar (Bellingam, WA: Self-Counsel Press, 2001), Tom Matzen and Marybeth Harrison. They have created many successful small businesses, including fast-food outlets, a language school, and a few coffee bars. Matzen is also a founding member of an international coaching organization for entrepreneurs called the Environment Committee of the Specialty Coffee Coach Inc.
Their book is a rich resource, packed with great tested and tried tips on all aspects of running a cafe or bar operation. Their ideas about customer service and marketing are absolutely amazing, probably the best ever written about coffee shops and bars. This is a must reading for anyone who runs or is thinking of running a business that serves food and beverages. To review this or smilar books on Amazon.com click here Tom Matzen and Marybeth Harrison.
Click here for a Great Sample Marketing Plan for a Pub, Club, Cafe or Bar .
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