As a valued Valpak client, you are already aware of all the benefits you receive from your ad in the Blue Envelope. You also already know about Valpak.com and all of the ways we track your ad’s performance. But, did you know we have other exciting and effective products that can take your direct mail campaign to the next level?
Talk to your Valpak Marketing Advisor about our Large Print Formats. Large print formats include multi-panel flyers, circulars, and coupon booklets, and give you more advertising space to show off your menu, photos, location, and other business information!
Larger print formats ensure your ad will be noticed inside the Blue Envelope. Larger formats disrupt a consumer’s coupon-sorting routine — a folded, thicker piece with more space to feature your brand’s content makes you stand out!
Multi-panel flyers, circulars and coupon booklets are great for announcing upcoming events, anniversaries and sales, or for showcasing multiple products and/or locations. Mailing larger print formats in between your standard coupon mailers are also a great way to keep your current customers engaged and excited for more.
Contact your Valpak Marketing Advisor today to discuss all the ways your business could benefit from a larger print format!
There are plenty of reactionary voices that point to Valentine’s Day as another consumer-driven holiday engineered by businesses to make money. But the truth is, there are also millions of people that celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day focused on romance, love, and intimacy. And if the old adage, “the key to the heart is through the stomach,” is true, that means you can’t afford to leave the holiday out of your restaurant marketing.
Why Valentine’s Day Matters to Restaurants
According to a survey from Statistic Brain, nearly 62% of consumers will celebrate Valentine’s Day, spending roughly $13.3 billion annually. Of those spending money, over a third (34.6%) will go out to eat and another 12.6% will purchase gift cards (a portion of which will be for restaurants). That’s a healthy chunk of spending that makes it worth investing in Valentine’s Day restaurant marketing. A hearty strategy will help bring you a good return on your investment.
Design Your Valentine’s Day Marketing
If you want guests to be struck with Cupid’s arrow and fall in love with your restaurant, you need to put effort into romancing them. One of the first places to start is with your advertising.
Target Your Local Area
Take advantage of services like Valpak to reach out to the community around you. Direct mail is effective for sharing special offers with current and potential diners, especially if you take full advantage of services that allow you to segment and personalize mailers.
Direct mail is effective for sharing special offers with current and potential diners, especially if you take full advantage of services that allow you to segment and personalize mailers.
Utilize Search Engine Marketing
The role of paid search can’t be underestimated, especially in an increasingly mobile world. Take advantage of major platforms like Google Adwords and brush up your SEM to ensure your restaurant features prominently in key ad spots.
Pay for Social AdvertisingSocial advertising claims a large portion of mobile advertising; Facebook alone claims 19% of $70 billion spent on ads in 2015 and 22% of American’s mobile internet time. Don’t pass up an easy opportunity to reach a targeted audience.
Heart Your Radio
Believe it or not, in the rising digital age, 90% of adults still listen to the radio at some point throughout their week. In fact, radio reaches 54% of the US daily. This will boost the effect of your other advertising campaigns, especially if you take advantage of popular radio personalities.
Your physical restaurant itself is one of the best marketing tools you have, so be sure to show it some love throughout your campaign. Wait staff should mention any special promotions—especially to couples who are regular guests—and have clear signage and fliers to help entice them to dine at your restaurant on the holiday.
Speaking of your actual restaurant, it’s important to remember to craft the right atmosphere for Valentine’s Day. The decor, music, and even your menu, should reflect the type of experience you want your guests to have, and some of that transition can begin before February 14 to help build anticipation.
Extra Tips for Full Hearts
Don’t forget that you can and should do more than just cut prices for the day, and any special offering should work its way into your marketing. For instance, Statistic Brain also reports that more than half of women (53%) said they would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day, which may include a romantic night out and a fabulous dinner. You can further expand on that by offering gifts like flowers or candies.
Partner with Other Local Businesses
Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to partner with other local businesses. For the night, or the whole week, you might consider adding luxurious, hand-crafted chocolates from a local candy store to your menu. If you already have a menu full of decadent desserts, you could hand out a coupon for that store with your bills all week. That store could also include coupons for you along with every sale they make.
Adjust Your Menu
Consider having a specialty menu printed up for the day. This could be as elaborate as an intimate prix fixe menu or as simple as making menu favorites shaped like hearts. The more you can make it feel special, the more attractive it will be to guests who are celebrating. It could also be sent to your preferred demographic prior to the holiday as part of your direct mail reservation campaign.
Most importantly, you should start your marketing campaign now! This is one holiday that people still plan for in advance. If you wait too long, a competitor could capture your diner’s attention first. You should be courting Valentine’s Day guests by the end of January at the latest.
What it comes down to is this: if you want to win hearts (and dollars), you need to market your restaurant around Valentine’s Day. The statistics associated with the holiday show a clear win for restaurants that make an effort to advertise, offer promotions, and build an engaging atmosphere that resonates with diners emotionally. The tips we offer are sure to help you maximize your efforts.
Start Valentine’s Day Restaurant Marketing Today
The home improvement industry is unique. Most products and services are what they are and do what they do day in and day out. Yet many home improvement products have just one season to shine.
Depending on the time of year, consumers have very different home-related needs. Spring is the season for garden planting and summer might be a time to spruce up the outdoor patio for BBQs. Fall finds many splitting time between yard cleanups and holiday decorations indoors and out, while winter tends to be filled with serious indoor remodeling projects.
That’s why marketing for your home improvement company is so important. No matter what month or season it is, people will have home improvement needs. Here are some of the top ways you can reach potential home improvement customers year-round.
Taking out local ads is one of the best ways to make sure your name is top of mind when people start thinking about home improvement. Don’t just blindly take out ads in the local paper during the holiday season, spring cleaning, or other times of year when you think people are improving their homes. Instead, research advertising options specific to your local area throughout the year.
You have many more outlets and chances to reach the right audiences with the right message. Really think about who would respond best to targeted direct mail, search engine marketing, digital coupon offers, radio, or TV. Also think about offering coupons and specials to local residents at different times, something that Valpak can help with in terms of integrated print and digital coupon promotions.
A blog can help market your home improvement company on a consistent basis. When you offer useful tips, insights, and thoughts that people can readily utilize in their home improvement efforts, your brand credibility rises fast. The better and more useful your content, the more people will begin to see you as a thought leader, and keep your business in mind as they consider new home improvement projects.
But be careful of giving away too much, or telling people how to do the job for which they’ll eventually pay you. Rather, give tips for smaller home tasks they can do themselves, with the end goal being that they’ll eventually contact you when bigger, more complex issues arise.
Even in the home improvement industry, social media marketing is a must. Similar to your blog, the content you share on social media should be useful, entertaining, and contribute toward establishing your industry thought leadership. Also make sure to include local area information about your business, customer success stories, and positive reviews across your social media channels.
You can also use creative content in combination with targeted advertising on social channels like Facebook and Twitter target your ideal audience. Consider creating how-to videos and tutorials for home improvement and repair, then offer that valuable, search-optimized information through paid ads and social media.
HolidaysNo matter what time of the year it is, there’s a holiday or special occasion around the corner. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July, or Thanksgiving, you have a chance to get creative and tie in home improvement with the holiday.
Think about each specific holiday and how your services can enhance their celebrations. On occasions like Christmas, some people might want to spruce up their home before having relatives over. Others might prefer to wait until after the holiday dust has settled before pursuing bigger home improvement plans. Either way, make sure to capitalize on holidays and include appropriate messaging.
People approach their home improvement needs differently depending on the season. This is especially true in areas with drastic climate changes like the southern gulf or upper midwest.
No matter where you’re located, you’ll want to educate customers on potential home improvements they can make for each season. Fall might be a time to shore up insulation in preparation for winter; spring is a great time to clean out gutters. No matter what you decide is appropriate for each season, make sure to communicate your message through your blog, website, social media, and local advertising.
Want to strengthen ties to your community? Charities can quickly help you build that bridge. Keep a calendar of charity events and make it a point to volunteer at some of them as well as donate. You’ll get a chance to not only put your name out there but to also meet future customers in person. You can also sponsor a cause either financially or by offering your services. Consider offering your services in exchange for sponsor trade and corresponding exposure to the community.
Consider donating a portion of your proceeds or profits for a certain period of time to a non-profit. For instance, during the month of November, you could donate 10% of your proceeds to help renovate a local homeless shelter. This shows that you care about the local community, and also ties in the services you provide from a marketing standpoint.
Get Started Today!If you don’t already have a year-round plan for your home improvement company marketing, now is the time to get going. Here are a few things that you can do today:
When developing a marketing and advertising plan for a small business, it can be difficult to know where to allocate your money to get the best results, or even how much should be planned for your small business marketing budget. It’s an investment of both time and money that could exponentially grow your customer database if done effectively. As with any investment, there’s a measure of risk. So how do you know if you’re making the best possible use of your advertising spend and marketing budget? Today’s post explains how to plan a small business marketing budget in eight basic steps.
1. Identify Needs
The first thing that you should always do is define your goals and identify your priorities. The point of developing a budget is to help you spend wisely and stay on track with your marketing dollars.
Remember that your marketing budget needs to fit within your overall budget, and it should never be so high that it impinges on your business’ ability to function. After all, you don’t want to blow the budget on SEO and social media marketing if you need to spend it on materials for an event.
Identify both short term and long term business and marketing goals. Prioritizing them might mean allocating more or less over time, and both are important for improving brand awareness and revenue.
If you already have marketing campaigns in the pipeline, be specific when budgeting for the goals of those campaigns. For instance, if a particular campaign goal is to generate leads, it will have different spending requirements than a campaign advertising a limited-time special offer.
Be sure you have a marketing plan in place that accounts for the entire buyer’s journey. Now is the time to think about what goes on behind the scenes of a successful marketing campaign. Market and competitor research will cost money, as will hiring a contractor to set up or evaluate different channels (e.g., website, social media). Skip them in the planning process and you might spend more than you should on them in the long run.
2. Identify Your Targeted, Ideal Audience
Knowing your audience is critical to your budget, and it goes hand in hand with identifying your priorities. It will help you identify how many people you’re trying to reach, and it will also help you better identify the frequency necessary to generate the desired impact and inspire action. Segmentation is also important because it will help you identify which types of campaigns will be most effective for which groups.
3. Determine Marketing Channels
In one regard, this is an aspect of identifying your target audience. After all, you don’t want to waste marketing dollars on advertising on a channel that your customers aren’t even using. However, different channels will have different costs, and not all channels will need to be used in the same way for every campaign. For example, your social media spend might go toward regular Facebook ads or promoted posts, which your brand would continue making no matter what campaign was running.
Identifying the channels you plan on using can also help you avoid more surprise costs as well as overreaching your capabilities. You’ll consciously include or exclude channels based on your market research and plan for A/B testing, rather than just randomly advertising on a particular channel and hoping it brings success. Remember that you should investigate all channels—digital, social, traditional—rather than making assumptions and choosing at random.
4. Plan Annually
Advertising success requires a long-term view, so plan your marketing strategy for the coming year, not month. While there will always be unexpected events you’ll need to handle, identifying key holidays, seasons, or other events that impact your business and affect the cost of advertising is important.
For example, competing for TV advertising slots in 2016 was exacerbated by the presidential election. This drove up prices, while events like the debates drew viewers from their normal viewing habits. Sometimes buying in advance can lower your advertising costs, but this isn’t possible if you don’t plan ahead and look at future opportunities by planning annually.
5. Research Opportunities
The combination of our previous two steps—identifying channels and planning for the next year—help form the basis for this step. Go out of your way to explore what’s set to happen over the next year and how it impacts the channels you plan on using to discover new marketing opportunities. Dismiss the fear of missing out by identifying the opportunities you can afford to take advantage of rather than jumping at the chance last minute, which would not only be out of your budget, it would probably be much more expensive than if you’d planned for it.
6. Select Based on Potential ROIEverything should look to ROI and the impact on your bottom line. That means taking a big picture look at your marketing goals. What are the opportunities you want to take advantage of, which channels you want to use to reach which audience segments and what are the costs associated with each? Compare your intentions with past campaigns and the ROI those offered so you can select the options that are most likely to be successful.
Remember that there’s no one size fits all path, nor is there a guarantee of success. You also can’t afford to do everything. The data you’ll collect throughout each step will help you realize which tactics are most likely to be most successful and have a positive impact on your revenue.
7. Set Total Spend
According to a survey of small business owners done by Valpak, more than 50% of the responding SMBs appear to be marketing on the fly when it comes to allocating their marketing and advertising budgets. Over half of the survey respondents site using a “bucket” approach, dipping out funds for marketing buys without specificity. A striking 82% use “flexible” budgets that are adjusted at varying intervals according to either earned revenue, market trends, or, when tracked, media performance.
As a rule of thumb, a business needs to consider spending between 6% and 20% on marketing annually, depending on how long they’ve been in the market. Remember, the marketing dollars you have to spend are limited by other budgetary concerns. Take a look at how much your business has already been spending on marketing compared to past results.
8. Break into Monthly Budget
Align your total advertising spend against your marketing calendar. The amount you budget to spend monthly might fluctuate based on your needs at the time, or the needs of the calendar. Your events, sales, special promotions and the calendar holidays all affect monthly budgets.
These steps are best practices that will help you build your small business marketing budget to set your business up for success. It will help you align your marketing strategy and goals with your bottom line, thus allowing you to execute each campaign with confidence.
Start Building Your Small Business Marketing Budget Today!
• Review your budget-building process. Compare to the steps outlined above and determine if there are steps you’ve ignored or to which you haven’t given the appropriate attention
• Ensure your budget realistically accounts for ROI so that your revenue is improved by your marketing and your budget reflects growth
• Take a close look at the channels you’re using. Is your audience present there? Are you trying to take on more channels than your business can support
• Do you have processes and analytics practices in place to gauge whether your marketing is working? You should be able to adjust your marketing throughout the course of your planned budget if necessary, to avoid wasting money because you weren’t monitoring progress
• Do you have a process in place for handling unexpected costs? For example, will you have the flex room to capitalize on real world events that happen unexpectedly
• Remember that this is simply the starting point for a solid marketing budget. Continue expanding your knowledge base and find more tools to refine the way you spend your budget