Internet Marketing – A Retail Strategy You Can’t Ignore

Just how important is it that you understand the power of Internet marketing and the retail strategy that it requires?Well, imagine if a major retailer saw the historic growth of discount stores over the last 50 years and ignored it.Oh, wait! That describes just about all of the “old-model” retail chains. (Think of once-vaunted Sears, bought by Kmart.)Today, Internet marketing is changing the face of retail even more than discounting did in the 20th Century: low overhead, 24/7 service, worldwide reach.To keep up with the changes, you need a strategy to take advantage of all the available online retail opportunities.Let’s look at a few of those opportunities and what you can do to put them to work for you. Shoppers Have ChangedThe internet has created a world of retail customers who want whatever they want, whenever they want it. Think of a brick-and-mortar retail store-whether a “mom and pop” or national chain. What if customers said, “I want to be able to shop at 3 a.m.”?What is the strategy for staffing up for that, for paying to keep stores open, for security?Major discounters like Walmart do it at some locations. But can you?With an Internet retail presence, you can.Shoppers have changed. The right retail strategy for the Internet will ensure you change with them.The Price is RightHow do you sell at a low price?One way is by volume. Selling a lot means you buy a lot, and that means you drive down your suppliers’ prices.Or you sell cheaply from a no-frills store, saving money that allows you to cut prices.Or, you have no brick-and-mortar location, few employees, no warehousing-you sell online. This is the heart of an Internet retail strategy.Make Sure They Find YouWith Internet retailing, you can’t hang a sign on your building, or put up a billboard on the freeway, or place an ad in the local paper. So what is the strategy for reaching retail customers online?Again, the Internet gives the retailer an advantage.You can advertise your online retail site on other sites, you can fill your site with good content designed to attract potential customers, and you can post content on other sites to drive buyers your way.Data about the people who are searching the Internet for items like yours lets you craft a retail strategy to market directly to your most likely customers.It’s like having a billboard on a road where only drivers who want what you sell pass by.One Thing Doesn’t ChangeWhether online are off, one aspect of your retail strategy doesn’t change.You must offer excellent customer service. The rule of thumb is a happy retail customer tells 1 friend; an unhappy retail customer tells 10 friends. How to keep customers happy and telling their friends good things about you?Your Internet retail strategy must include a process for filling customers’ orders correctly and on time. And you must have a system for handling customer complaints professionally and courteously.Internet marketing has drastically changed the way smart sellers develop their retail strategy. It requires new methods-and it offers powerful new tools. Don’t ignore this crucial shift in the marketplace.

Construction Marketing

As a contractor, if you don’t have a direct response system in place, you are leaving cash on the table. For absolutely every contact you have with any individual who could be a prospect or who might even know someone someday who might need your services, YOU NEED A DIRECT RESPONSE SYSTEM OR YOU ARE MISSING THE BOAT.

What is “direct response” you ask? It’s pretty simple. You have to have a valuable offer, and a specific call to action. The worst mistake most contractors make is they hand new prospects their business card and then just cross their fingers. If you haven’t noticed: Business cards and other marketing materials are very easy to ignore, lose, and throw away. And websites are even easier to escape. Just click away, right?

This is true unless you have a killer direct response OFFER, and a CALL TO ACTION. This works so well it’s ridiculous. And it’s so simple. Yet few construction companies use it. I don’t know why. I just throw up my hands on that one. For example, a free report could be your offer. Then you could have more products and services available for sale to people who want more of what you have to offer.

Your call to action? Ask people to get on your email list to get more valuable info. Can you do a free report? Sure. Are there other options that might work better for a construction company? The possibilities are endless.

Let me share some examples of direct response techniques that have worked in the past:

One builder I know of has been offering a free hot tub with the purchase of a new home. This may sound like an expensive method. But the cost of this method can be justified by building some of it into the cost of the home.

There are also some high impact, inexpensive methods you can use to create a compelling offer. Personally, I use an offer for a free information-packed report. I advertise this report on my business card, my website, and any other publication or marketing piece which will reach my target prospect.

One marketing area where this works very well is direct mail. With direct mail, depending on your goals and costs, you should aim for at least a 5% to 10% response. This means with every 100 letters or postcards you send, you get 5 to 10 phone calls. For the typical construction company, a 5% to 10% response rate would be very effective and make direct mail a worthwhile endeavor for your business. It’s possible, with good copywriting and a great call to action, to get 20% response rate or more!

Using an offer and a call to action in your direct mail piece can mean the difference between no response and a response that will land you enough projects to keep you busy for months.

Using Pizza Postcard Direct Mail for Customer Retention Campaigns

One of the very best ways to become a habit with your customers is to keep the postcards coming. Sending eye-catching postcards with tantalizing offers will help you get that valuable repeat business. Don’t you want every customer to be a ‘regular?’

Build Your List

Collect addresses from customers when they request delivery or in a guestbook near the front door of your restaurant that they will see when they dine in. Ask your servers to request customer addresses offering future discount coupons as incentive. Or leave a bowl out to collect business cards in a drawing for a free pizza. Collect street addresses on your website too so you can alternate physical postcards with promotional emails over time.

Prepare the Ingredients

You will need some mouth watering photographs for your postcard. This is the number one way to get customers back in your door on a frequent basis. They should get hungry just looking at the postcard. You need a nice sharp logo image to associate the amazing pizza with your brand. Now for the offer – make it a good one. Market analysis shows that giving a specific number of ‘dollars off’ is the most attractive offer for your customers. By adding an expiration date, customers are motivated to act quickly on the special offers. Of course your contact info needs to be prominently displayed.

Then It’s Baking Time

Choose a simple postcard template online. You will find that good printing companies have a selection of customizable templates to choose from. Using one from your favorite printing company is ideal because the ordering process will be a breeze. Pay attention to card stock weight, size and gloss vs. matte finish cards. Vary these factors for more impactful mailings. They will get more attention if they don’t look exactly the same each time they hit the mailbox.

Membership Cards and Special Occasions

Modified membership cards are always a winner when it comes to direct mailing. Many pizza restaurants offer those cards that are stamped with each order so that after a specified number of purchases, they get a free pizza. It should be wallet size and very sturdy, with lines to make it easy to cut away from the rest of the postcard. A free pizza postcard design should go over well and help encourage repeat business. Send specially themed holiday postcards throughout the year as well as birthday postcards to repeat customers. You are establishing a relationship with your regular, customized mailings.

Of course you should keep a stack of postcards on your front counter (next to that guest book) and give some to local promotional partners in complimentary businesses that will co-promote with you. If you offer to split a postcard with another business, like the local dry cleaner, you can greatly expand your mailing list since you are reaching their repeat customers along with yours. Postcards are a versatile, eye-catching and cost-effective marketing and retention tool for your pizza business. Order some hot off the press today – and watch the customers come rolling in.