Danger On The Doorstep
The attack came suddenly and without warning. It surprised me on my own doorstep. I could actually "feel" it with my hands before I even realized what it was. I managed to get back in the house and slam the door, but it was still with me. Now, I realized what this predator wanted – my money! I yelled. It screamed. I marshaled my strength and ran a zigzag pattern. My heart was pounding. Finally the battle turned in my favor. I had the upper hand.
In less than 20 seconds, I had made it all the way to the garage and tossed this unwanted door hanger in the trash and secured the lid. The battle was over as quickly as it began. As usual, not once did this door hanger tell me "why" I should order. Not once did it try to gain my trust. It just kept mindlessly screaming "$9.99!" "Best in town." "Dough made fresh daily." And it quickly lost the battle for my money. Yet the predators still come. Fueled by hope. Sanctioned by prayers and crossed fingers.
Now, I'm not picking on door hangers or junk mail for that matter. But, I want to point something out. You can never, ever make a "personal" connection with someone with an ad that just says, "Buy from me". Once you "connect" with people by explaining to them why it is in their own self-interest to buy from you, you'll have friends that enjoy doing business with you.
Let Me Explain . . .
Saturday, February 7th my eyes popped open at 6 a.m. sharp. But, since I was waking up in Columbus, Ohio, that meant it was really 3 a.m. my time. I had that weird buzz you get when you're not quite sure you've even slept at all. But, it was time to get up and head over to the convention center to hook up with Big Dave, Tom Lehman, and Jim Laube. We were all giving seminars that day for dozens of eager pizzeria owners. They came from as far away as Puerto Rico, and Canada and they wanted to know two things; 1. How to save money. 2. How to make money. Well, guess what? Marketing will do both. In fact, people were blown away when I graphically illustrated the awesome power marketing makes available to them.
Small improvements in your marketing will make almost unbelievable increases in your profits. Let's take a look.
Lets put out 5,000 door hangers. Get a 2 percent response and you're left with a $100 profit. That's a whopping 20 percent return on your money! So, let's ignore it because that's not even close to the staggering returns you can generate.
Notice the "fixed cost" of $500 for our door hangers stays the same, but look what happens when you get a 4 percent return. Profits skyrocket to almost $900. That's an 800 percent higher return than your previous $100 profit.
And, with a 6 percent response to your door hangers, your profits will increase by 2,400 percent over your original $100 profit and, that's a 500 percent return on your $500 cost to put out your door hangers.
Now, please keep in mind, these jaw-dropping increases are possible because your fixed cost in getting out the door hangers (or any ad) remains the same whether you get 1 response, 10 responses, or a 110 responses. So, how do we get the big increase in our response rate?
Well, one of the quickest ways to really reach people is to let them in on some "inside" information. People love to peek behind the curtain and see what's there. Back in 1919, Schlitz beer approached one of the great advertising minds of all time, Claude Hopkins. Their beer sales were in 15th place. They asked Claude Hopkins if he could help them. Claude agreed to meet with Schlitz and tour the brewery. He was fascinated with what he discovered. Claude returned two months later with an ad campaign.
His ads told of the crystal clear water from a special artesian well. They told of the one "mother" yeast cell that produced all the yeast for fermenting the beer. It was the result of over 1,500 experiments and produced a very distinct fresh, crisp taste. He told of how the bottles were sterilized 12 times to ensure purity, so that nothing would interfere with the clean taste of the beer.
They Ran Shrieking in Horror!
The Schlitz people looked on in horror as Claude outlined his ad campaign. They explained to Claude that this would never work. They told him, "All beer is made the same way." Claude Hopkins calmly assured them that people would be fascinated with the "behind the scenes" look and, that no other beer maker had ever told the story. Schlitz relented and let the ads roll out. Six months later Schlitz beer was the #1 selling beer in the nation. From 15th place to 1st – almost overnight!
Keep in mind, all beers are made pretty much the same way, but, what Claude Hopkins had done was to convert the features that went into making beer, to the benefits people gained when they cracked one open and drank it…mainly, clean, crisp, distinctive taste. And, by and large, pizza is pretty much made the same way too. You put sauce on dough then you add toppings and cheese and bake it.
But . . . What If . . .
What if you were the first to tell people: "The tomatoes we use in our sauce are grown in the lush San Joaquin valley in Northern California. And, since tomatoes love sunshine, they get plenty of it. The growing season lasts about 77 days. Only the finest, juiciest tomatoes make it into our sauce. Once we've blended the tomatoes into a rich sauce, we add 13 different seasonings, over two pounds in all. We cook it over a slow fire, stirring every six minutes for one full hour. And, I'll tell you, when it's done, the aroma will make your eyes roll up. My mouth waters up just thinking about it! Anyway, I promise you, this sauce is loaded with flavor! Not just sugar and tomato paste like the others use."
Use specifics to tell your story:
- 77 days
- 13 seasonings
- Two pounds
- Slow fire
- Six minutes
- One hour
And notice how, "this sauce is loaded with flavor" says great taste, without wasting your breath saying "the best sauce in town."
Now, if the number 15 selling beer in the nation could shoot straight to number one in six months just by telling their story, do you think it's possible you could gain an advantage in your marketplace by letting people in on some "inside" information? By telling them some unique story that nobody else has told before? By telling them "why" your pizza tastes great instead of just screaming that it's "The best?"
You need to craft an interesting story. Then you must put it on all of your ads; Door hangers, flyers, box-toppers, etc. Put your offers on the front, your story on the back. You've got to take advantage of the fact that people love to buy. They hate to be sold. Don't "sell" them. Let them come to their own conclusion "why" they should buy from you.
Here's another example . . .
"At 7:15 every morning, I begin making the dough for our famous crust. I use specially filtered water at exactly 89 degrees. The yeast we use comes from a special strain stolen from a bakery in Italy in the 1700's and smuggled into this country. Hey, I didn't steal it! After all the ingredients are added, I mix it for nine minutes and 17 seconds with my 1956 Hobart mixer. (Yeah, 1956 is the year it was made). After mixing, it goes into the walk-in to "proof." I keep checking it. When it's just right, I form individual dough balls. One of them will be for your pizza. Is all this work a pain in the butt? Yeah, but, our customers absolutely "rave" about our crust, so I don't want to let them down. Is it the best crust in town? I think it is, but, I know this for sure, it tastes better than that frozen "chain store" crust with the cardboard taste." Now, is that a wonderful story or what? Does it tell people that your dough might just taste incredible? Absolutely! While "Dough Made Fresh Daily" falls flat on it's face, everybody claims to do the same. This little story makes you unique. It makes your dough story believable and it does it by being SPECIFIC:
- 7:15 a.m.
- Filtered Water
- 89 degrees
- Special Yeast
- 9 minutes 17 seconds
- Old Mixer
You've also added "our customers rave about it." That's somewhat claiming to be the "Best." But, it's not you doing the boasting; it's your customers. And, in the last sentence you've piled on the benefit of "great taste" and painted the chain stores with the "cardboard taste" brush. Specifics are great. They make your wonderful story believable and you do have a wonderful story to tell.
Give your ads a fighting chance. Tell your story. Make a "connection" with people. Let them know "why" it is in their best interest to get pizza from you