Whether your sales are mediocre or meteoric, you still want to improve the bottom line. Despite your best efforts, however, if your sales chart is flat lining, perhaps your pizza marketing plan is missing a key ingredient. My suggestion is that you add a ladle of radio to your mix.
Before you say, "Radio is too expensive," or "I tried radio a couple of times and it didn't work," I challenge you to try a different approach.
Your goal is to sell more pizza. Radio is the perfect tool to accomplish that. If you add a dash of careful planning and a dollop of creativity, you should schedule extra help to handle the crunch.
Radio stations are notorious for bartering air time, or for offering "trade outs." Tell the station's sales manager you want to trade time on his station for meals at your shop. Instead of spending cold, hard cash for commercials, you can pay with delicious, hot pizza and refreshing cold drinks for his sales reps and their clients. Nearly everyone who comes in on that barter money is another potential customer.
Make sure the on-air personalities are allowed to take part in the trade and that you make friends with them. Give them free pizza and you're sure to get lots of free mentions on their shows.
If you possess an out-going personality, great! Set up a schedule with the station that will allow you to call at specific times to deliver your own live ads to offer listeners a limited-time special, good that day only, and ONLY if they mention they heard you make the offer on the air. Make sure it is a really extraordinary offer, not merely some discount. How about offering free pizza with the purchase of a drink? Have a lunch buffet? Offer free, all-you-can-eat pizza if you buy a salad. Don't worry if you lose money on the promotion. Focus on the lifetime value of a customer rather than today's loss. Your profit will come from repeat business, assuming your pizza is really good. If it isn't, or if your service is lousy, don't bother with this idea.
If the station has a local disc jockey or local talk show host on the air live between 11 AM and noon, call in your spots live. If there is no local person broadcasting live at that time, you will have to record your spots earlier that morning, but you want them to sound like you are calling in live. You should schedule three commercials between 11 and noon so listeners will be hungry and thinking about where to go for lunch. If you get swamped after the first spot, you can cancel the other two.
When you are on the air, be excited about your delicious pizza and the great value you're offering. Smile while you're talking. It feels strange, but we hear smiles and respond more positively to warm, friendly messages. Because radio is a personal medium, picture the face of a person you want to welcome into your business as a result of your offer and extend a personal invitation to that one individual. Your delivery will be more inviting and more believable. That listener will feel as though they already know you when they come in.
Don't be surprised when someone responds just as you're hanging up the phone. If your offer is really a good one, people will respond. That's one of radio's strengths: it's immediate.
When people walk in and ask for the special offer, you will know with 100 percent accuracy that the idea worked. If no one comes in: a) your offer wasn't attractive enough; or b) your delivery was weak; or c) people have a bad perception (real or imagined) of your pizza and/or your pizzeria.
To help ensure that these new prospects become return customers, give them coupons for discounts on their next visit. If the promotion is so good you're overwhelmed, be prepared. Have cards ready to hand out apologizing for the inconvenience; extend the same offer for later use at the customer's convenience.
Need another idea? Do a co-promotion with a radio station. Folks who listen at work are asked to enter a drawing for lunch for themselves and ten of their co-workers by simply faxing their name on company letterhead to the station. A drawing will be held once a week and the winners are treated to a special free lunch at your pizzeria. Your store gets mentioned every time the station broadcasts the promotion.
In the next issue, I will give hints on how to permanently implant your company's name in listeners' minds and how your radio advertising can sound every bit as expensive as the major national players for a fraction of the cost.
DICK MARENDT is president and CEO of ARCA Studios, an audio production facility he started in 1975. Voice talent, writer and producer, Marendt and his partner, Clyde Snider, have regular clients in nearly every state in the US and on Guam. In their four digital studios located in Little Rock (Arkansas), they create radio spots, original music and advertising jingles and telephone messages-on-hold; they also produce audio for TV and video. Prior to becoming a studio owner, Marendt enjoyed a TV and radio broadcast announcing career in Louisville, Kentucky.
TRY THIS RADIO SPOT
Just add your personality and a fair pizza deal. Feel free to take this 30-second radio spot to your local station for recording. Be sure to record the spot using your voice. You want the audience to know you are real, local, friendly and approachable. Good luck! And let us know how it works.
Here is a free Radio Ad Compliments of Arca Studios and PMQ
30-Second Pizza Shop Radio Ad
I'm about to make your life just a little bit easier.
I just made a decision for you about where to have lunch.
Hi, this is __________________ from ___________________.
We're cookin' up some hot, delicious pizzas and we'd like to bake one for you …(show excitement in your voice) and give it to you FREE!
Today only, come by for lunch and mention that you heard me on ______, and I'll give you FREE PIZZA with the purchase of _________.
Let me repeat that.
Today only, come in and buy a ______ and I will personally give you the pizza of your choice FREE … IF you tell me you heard me on _____.
In fact, I'll let you have TWO FREE OFFERS with the purchase of two _________.
(soften your voice) Now, don't spread this around, 'cause I can really make you look good with a friend or co-worker.
See, you offer to buy lunch today.
Chances are, they won't know about this special offer I just made to you.
Bring 'em in, tell them to have a seat and you'll order.
Then tell me you heard me on ______, and I'll only charge you for the ______.
You know where we are, don't you?
We're at _______.
I'm the manager, ________.
I'll be waitin' for you at ____________.