Jessica Miller: We’ve been open for a little more than three years. Our customer feedback is amazing, including 4.9 stars on Facebook. We’re doing great on Google and Yelp, too. We’ve also done direct-door marketing, giveaways and Facebook ads. We’ve gotten involved with the community. And yet we’re still struggling. This is a town full of residential neighborhoods, with a lot of places to eat—such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell—but no direct pizza competition. We aren’t on the main strip, so I fear our location is the problem. We’ve cut our food costs and work seven days a week, but we still struggle to make it. Help! Any marketing ideas?
RobT: Go back and check your yearly sales since you opened. If they’re going up year over year, just sit tight. I remember that years one to three were a challenge for me. I started seeing better numbers after year four. Also, check your food costs again and make sure nothing is out of whack.
Mondo: I agree with RobT. As long as your sales are still increasing each year, hold tight. The beginning is a grind. When we started, we sometimes wouldn’t even do $100 for the entire day. We are four years in now, though, and as long as sales are still trending in the right direction, I’m happy. When starting out, the best ROI for me was Facebook advertising. Once I started spending $20 a week on Facebook, I started getting more traffic. We did some postcard mailers, too, but those were really expensive and actually worked too well! On the weekend after they went out, we would get swamped and didn’t have the staff to handle it. Then, within a week or two, that extra boost in sales would be gone and we’d be pretty much back to square one.
JTMiller09: Here are a few ideas to help you drive traffic to your store: 1) Develop a marketing calendar. It’s your road map so that you don’t get lost. 2) Take free pizzas to five businesses in your area every week. 3) If there are hotels nearby, pay the desk clerks in gift certificates for referrals/sales. 4) Provide bounce-back offers to local dry cleaners, oil change businesses and full-service car washes. 5) Partner with the local schools in any way possible!