Filed under: Case Study, Clients, Email Marketing, News, Restaurants, Running a better business, Survey Feedback, Surveys, Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: affordable technology, better business, customer satisfaction, drive sales, guest satisfaction, ideas into action, loyalty programs, measurement and analytics, mobile data collection, mobile surveys, real time data, ROI, top ways
Recently we stumbled upon a great info graphic about the “10 Ways to Increase Sales in 2012” and we had the most unsurprising reaction- Oh, that’s so simple and interesting! Of course, that’s what info graphics are supposed to be- simple, straight-to-the-point, and interesting. While this top ten list certainly sparks interest, we wanted to contribute our thoughts on how to put these sales drivers into high gear this year! Using our clients as inspiration, and our Survey On The Spot tool as the platform, we’ve identified some ideas that any business could benefit from integrating into day-to-day operations and big-picture strategy.
#1 Use Analytics and Metrics
Analytics and metrics have never been more important to businesses as retailers continue to try to gather usable insights from their business efforts. However, it can be a challenge for “brick and mortar” businesses to follow along in implementing analytics and tracking tactics that are relevant to gauging their success in attracting and retaining customers. There is a way to use software, however, to get the same level of analytics in the place where you need it most – at the point of sale. This realization is what prompted us to consider mobile technology as a way to provide brick-and-mortar locations with a level of analytics and metrics to fuel their business decisions that hasn’t been readily available. We’ve created a way that consumers can share their voice with you about their experience with your business in real-time. Customers can provide feedback on the service they received, the training session they just attended or the new food dish they just tried…all before they leave their seat. This data is then automatically converted to metrics that can be tracked over time.
#9 Manage Your Reputation
“Unhappy customers are more likely to leave negative reviews online and complain to their networks both online and offline. Be sure to respond to unhappy customers and try to fix the issue so more customers will be satisfied.” We wish we had written those wise words ourselves! At the heart of successfully managing one’s reputation is finding a way to get the customer’s opinion before anyone else- including the customer next to them or their entire social network. Make sure you come up in conversation in a positive way by ensuring you have a process in place to deal with feedback immediately rather than doing “damage” control after the fact. We know how important this can be- if you provide top quality service 99% of the time, don’t let the 1% slip through the cracks. It’s not easy, but it’s never been easier. We have clients who use mobile guest satisfaction surveys- if a customer provides negative feedback an alert is sent to management to notify them of the issue. Management can then try to resolve the problem before the customer leaves. The feedback can also be used to drive positive change- the quality of service achieved affects the employee’s performance evaluations and eventually their yearly bonus or promotion.
#6 Build Relationships with Customers
When we take our business hats off at the end of the day, and go back to being consumers, it’s easier to remember how much simple “good business” practices can positively influence our decisions to be a ‘regular’ or just a drifting one-time consumer. Customers respond positively when companies personally engage them and understand what they want. Customers will be more likely to choose your business over another if you are receptive to their needs. When customer relationships are a priority, businesses can achieve 43% more sales per employee and 260% more revenue. These results aren’t surprising, but just having the facts doesn’t always give you a way to get from a to b. When it comes to engagement, asking for feedback is central. Opening a conversation with customers to give you their feedback allows them to have a “say in the matter”. You can also ask for their feedback while offering an incentive, like signing up for your email club to receive special offers, or something special on their birthday.
#5 Invest in Mobile Tactics
Mobile tactics aren’t limited to building your own smartphone app or mobile ordering platform. Mobile tactics can be used to enable you to more effectively run and build your business on a day-to-day basis. You can invest in collecting mobile feedback, letting customers join your loyalty rewards program on their phones, etc. Mobile technology can also be used to monitor and manage regular business procedures like opening and closing checklists, food safety and sanitation audits or to gather employee engagement and training feedback.
#3 Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs encourage repeat business by rewarding sales with discounts, freebies, and other incentives. The average US household is enrolled in 18 loyalty programs and customers who are part of a loyalty program will spend more. The first step to having a loyalty reward program is being able to get the right email addresses to send rewards to. For restaurants especially, it can be hard to get the word out about your rewards program on your own. Many of our customers use surveys like ours to get feedback, and at the end of the survey, collect email addresses from customers who’d like to opt-in to receive loyalty club rewards, be entered in sweepstakes promotions, or receive special offers on their birthday. For example, one of our clients used a QR code on the packaging of a new product once it hit shelves to get feedback on the product from customers, and once they completed the survey, they were entered into a sweepstakes to win $250 in store gift cards.
Sales growth is directly linked to the quality of the product and service you provide your client. In today’s economic environment, this is even truer than ever before. Using mobile technology can help you better monitor, manage and build your business by insuring that you have your pulse on your customer’s experience and creating opportunities to build a stronger relationship. Solutions, like ours, can be affordable and can save you time, money, paper, and lost customers. Many of our clients use our service for as little as $2/day. So, what’s stopping you from driving your sales this year?
Filed under: Email Marketing | Tags: Constant Contact, CustCon, Email Marketing, MailChimp
You have successfully attracted a prospect to your website or a customer to your restaurant. How do you retain their interest and keep them coming back? Your best bet to develop a long term relationship with your customers is to obtain their email address and include them in your electronic marketing campaigns. Here are a few reasons why email marketing works:
Email marketing is cost effective.
Email marketing software, email template design, and the time to create the content is far less than many other marketing methods. Not only are they cheap, but they are worthwhile: the Direct Marketing Association reported that, for this year, every $1 invested in email marketing earned back $40.56 in revenue. While this is a broad figure applied to a variety of small businesses, with a few measurement initiatives in place you can determine what that number is for your business.
You will create more sales opportunities.
Every email you send is another chance to make a sale. If someone briefly visits your website, you may never hear from them again; but, if you were able to collect their email address, you could then continue to contact them and thus remain on their radar. Emails are a great way to generate new or repeat business by drawing people to your business with announcements of new items and special promotions or coupons.
Emails can be targeted to a specific audience.
Once you’ve built up a substantial email list, you’ll have enough information about your customers to segment the list and customize the message accordingly. Targeted emails make your message more relevant to your particular audience, which means that they will be more likely to pay attention and your marketing will be more effective.
You will build relationships with your customers.
One of the best ways to keep a customer returning is to earn their loyalty and trust. Using your email list to contact customers on a regular basis will keep your brand top of mind, and customizing content to be relevant to their interests will inspire their trust. Further, when you request customers’ email addresses, you can offer them the option to opt in or out of your communications. This ensures that you’ll be contacting only those who are genuinely interested, making them more likely to pay attention and respond positively. In short: you’ll have a whole list of loyal customers at your fingertips.
You can easily track results. There is a wide variety of software available that allows you to instantly track the results of your email marketing campaigns. Unlike other marketing methods, you can analyze in real-time the effectiveness of your efforts by viewing open rates, and what links were the most or least popular in the email. You can then use these results to determine the impact on your business and continue to update your marketing campaigns accordingly.
Survey on the Spot integrates seamlessly and adds opt-in email addresses to several email marketing systems including Constant Contact, Fishbowl and The Customer Connection.
Here are a few easy to use email marketing systems:
Filed under: Email Marketing, Running a better business | Tags: email list building, email lists, restaurant email marketing
When customers provide their names and contact information to your business, they do so with certain expectations. While some of these expectations are simply classified as social etiquette, others fall more cleanly under federal laws such as the CAN-SPAM act. As a client-centric business, you would be wise to meet both your customers’ social standards and the legal requirements associated with customer sign-ups.
There are certain key elements to your customer signup marketing policy:
Collect only what you need. Remember that it is safer for your business if you collect the least personal information necessary. This is especially true when dealing with children. The Federal Trade Commission’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act sets guidelines for companies marketing products or services to children under thirteen. As a result, your site registration may require parental consent or may be prohibited from collecting information if the user is below thirteen years old.
Don’t abuse your users. You treat your clients with utmost respect, why not treat your online audience the same? Don’t hassle them by asking for all their information upfront: layer registration requirements to collect more information as they go deeper into your website. While the FTC regulates email marketing, it doesn’t ban unsolicited emails. Meet the requirements of disclosure and unsubscribe, but remember not to harass your users via email.
Take no for an answer. Legally, you must! To comply with federal regulations, you must maintain a suppression list, tracking every request to no longer receive emails or texts. If you outsource your email or textmarketing, make sure your vendor knows not to violate a user’s unsubscribe request.
Text Safely. Text marketing must include a ‘standard text rates’ apply disclosure as well as opt-in and unsubscribe tools. The legal intricacies of text marketing are constantly evolving.
Consistency counts. Keep your emails, websites, and coupons consistent, especially expiration dates and other stipulations.
Full disclosure. With social media growing bigger every day, it’s only natural to want to tap into that market by encouraging brand ambassadors to promote your product on their site. Remember that laws require disclosure if your business pays anyone to endorse or discuss the product on a blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
While you do not necessarily need to obtain legal counsel before developing your marketing plan, it may be a good idea to further research best practices and any laws which affect how you capture email signups.
Filed under: Email Marketing, Restaurants, Running a better business | Tags: customer service surveys, email list building, Email Marketing, mobile surveys
What’s more valuable than being able to reach your customers at any hour of the day? Sharing the right information in the most effective manner. Your business has ample opportunity to contact customers thanks to the prevalence of email marketing, but misuse of this tool can be fatal for your customers’ interest in your product.
Before you send out your next marketing email, be sure to read these tips on optimizing your email marketing to boost your business’ sales.
Give your clients what they want. While you might think new restaurant flatware or a recently replaced carpet is interesting stuff, your customers want to know about what’s in it for them. Customers want to hear about events, discounts, promotions and specials.
Be personal and relevant. When you collect email addresses, ask for other information as well. You will delight your customers with birthday greetings and rewards. The email promotions you send should be available at the locations most convenient to the client. Don’t pester your customers with promotions they likely won’t be able to use! Similarly, keep your promotions timely. Send seasonal specials as the season kicks off, when your customers have the time of year in mind.
Make an impression. Email boxes fill up quickly with company promotions. Make your email marketing stand out! Use a stimulating headline to ensure your message doesn’t go straight to the recycle bin. Highlight the purpose of the email, be it a sale, a promotion, or a new product, right in the headline. Of course, getting a customer to open the email isn’t the end of the battle. A well-written paragraph or two may adequately share your message, but only if the client bothers to read it. Consider adding design elements like photography and art to share your message efficiently and effectively. Of course, keep it short! Customers care about what’s in it for them.
Don’t be a pest. No one wants to hear from you daily. The more emails you send, the more your customers will find themselves deleting your messages as ‘spam.’ Determine what works best for your business, but set a regular interval. Maybe you have a weekly special that is worthy of highlighting; in that case, a weekly email may be perfect. Setting a seasonal menu? Bi-monthly emails will let your customers know what to expect as the menu changes. Try to be consistent with your frequency so customers know when to expect to hear from you. There aren’t any consistent published guidelines regarding email frequency, however one good rule of thumb is to base it on how frequently your customer makes a buying decision in your type of industry. It is important to keep an eye on your unsubscribe list. If your rate of unsubscribes goes up, you may be emailing too frequently.
Diversify and integrate. Email is effective, but many clients are proficient in and active on social media channels. Encourage customers to sign up for your Facebook page or to be a Twitter follower. This allows customers to become more connected to your brand and your business. Speak mobile fluently. With mobile device and smartphone use growing by the day, it becomes more necessary that your emails translate fully to mobile screens. This includes your text, images, and links.
Let them forward. Never forget to include an ‘share’ link in every email. This allows your customers to share their love of your product with friends. Word of mouth in the digital age extends to email forwarding!
Segmented Lists segmenting addresses based on interests or demographics can help your emails be more relevant, especially when promoting events or specials.