Excellent Marketing and 3 Reasons Why You Absolutely Need It

We’re on the marketing and sales portion of our series on writing a business plan and owning a restaurant.

A quick example of why marketing works.

I bought into my first restaurant with the small bit of savings I’d collected over the years. It wasn’t much but the original owner of the restaurant wasn’t looking for much. Instead, he needed a bit of working capital and someone who actually knew how to run a restaurant. So I took over operations.

Drawing on my experience, I was able to quickly pinpoint problems and make changes for the better. We started to make some headway into the debt the previous manager had created, but it wasn’t fast enough.

As the days went on, I found out that one of our major obstacles was that customers simply didn’t know our restaurant existed.

We were off the beaten path, a block away from a major intersection.

We couldn’t afford a big and bright sign, so customers couldn’t see us from the main street.

We were also on the corner of a shopping center which was owned by someone else so we were not allowed to make any changes to the building without approval.

Our hands were tied. We knew our food was good. We knew the customers were out there…somewhere. We just had to find them and then let them know how they could find us.

Enter Social Media Marketing…and marketing of all types and disciplines.

Social Media really is a lifesaver. Get on board as quickly as possible.

If you still refuse to use social media (my Mom comes to mind), then you’re missing out on dollars every minute of every day.

There are still a few who are not using it but are aware of social media’s impact. They understand it’s here to stay. They even admit they should be using it. But for some reason, they simply refuse to.

Whether it’s a fear of personal security, fear of change, fear of learning a new skill, or something else, they just won’t do it.

Now, I don’t have actual numbers and stats to show you, but I do have personal, first-hand experience on the power of social media marketing.

I knew the restaurant needed to start making money immediately. But I was still learning the flow of business. I wasn’t sure if one day would be busy or slow. I hadn’t figured out the habits or patterns of the few regular customers we did have. I didn’t know how to simply get people in the door.

But I did know we had bills to pay.

I had heard of other businesses using Twitter and Facebook to keep their customers informed of daily specials, sometimes posting about their specials up to the minute to create instant buzz.

So, I tried it. I posted that day’s special to our Facebook page and shared the post with some of my friends. And they shared it with their friends, etc, etc.

Actually, my post was only shared about 7-8 times. It didn’t go viral or anything like that. But it did reach about 300 people. And of those 300, about 30 of them came into the restaurant that day. With an average check of $10, that was an extra $300 for us in just 2 hours.

So that you understand just how big that was for my restaurant; when I took it over, the restaurant was only averaging about $300 a day!

I immediately tweaked our Facebook page and Twitter profiles. I spent a few hours and learned some social media tricks and BAM! We were off to the races. Our daily average slowly grew week by week.

Keep my story in mind. Social media is free and an insanely easy way to talk to hundreds of potential customers at the same time. If you still need more convincing, then contact me personally and I’ll answer any and all questions you may still have.

So what are the reasons you need a marketing section in your business plan?

I didn’t intend on only touting social media’s business advantages. What I really want is to tell you about the importance of marketing and the importance of including a marketing plan within your business plan instead of using marketing as a remedy for slow or no business.

Remember: marketing is an investment, not an expense. Just like the other components of your business plan, excellent marketing should be judged on its Return On Investment, not by its cost.

With that in mind, here are three big reasons why you absolutely need a marketing section in your plan.

How will people know your restaurant exists if you don’t tell them about it?

If you don’t start getting your restaurant’s name and brand out into the community as soon as possible it will come back to bite you. You can’t just open your doors and expect customers to flow in.

And you won’t be able to just throw up some posts like I did to create a rush of business. I know I said it brought in some immediate customers but did you also notice I said I tweaked our page and kept at it. THAT’S when our daily business started to grow. It wasn’t a quick fix.

“You can’t just take some marketing and call the doctor in the morning. Marketing is food, not medicine.”

If you don’t have plans in place to get your name out there then how will people know you exist? Use marketing to sustain your business by creating awareness, establishing your image, and to get involved with the local community.

It keeps your business on your customer’s minds.

“Out of sight. Out of mind.”

What else is there to say on this one?

It helps you find your perfect customer.

The beauty of marketing is it creates an open and running dialogue with your customers (hello again, social media).

Whether you do it yourself or hire an agency to help, a big part of marketing is collecting and analyzing data and information that can make your business better. This, in turn, makes your business more profitable.

By communicating with your customers you’re able to collect data as well as learn your businesses metrics. I.E. what sells well, what doesn’t sell well, what your customers are looking for, mistakes you’re making, opportunities you’re missing, and on and on.

Having this information allows you to make educated adjustments to your business instead of randomly making changes and hoping they work.

If I’m being honest, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing. But it gives you the idea of why it’s important.

 If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how I use marketing, please comment below.

Help me let other’s know about my blog by sharing this with your friends and colleagues.

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