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Question added to topic MarketingFebruary 19, 2009

How do I get more customers?

I have a eatery in the mall and it is very slow here. We have a corner spot right by the main entrance. I have daily specials signs and signs in the commons area. What else can I do?
You have asked a question that indicates you are ready to move to the next level. Your signs are advertising. Now you are ready to move into marketing, which is establishing a relationship with your current and potential customers. This is not necessarily quick, but is powerful. Here are several ideas:

1. Capture as many of your customers' email addresses as possible -- perhaps with the promise of a coupon in return.

2. Whether you have servers or counter staff, have them ask customers if they would like to receive valuable coupons in a monthly newsletter and have a neat looking form for them to fill out.

3. Use these addresses to send out a monthly newsletter with a coupon -- could be for a free beverage, dessert, fries or whatever works in your restaurant. There are easy, inexpensive programs to help you do this. In the newsletter, you can also highlight new items, include a picture of a family having fun in your restaurant, etc.

4. Have a "Family Special Night" once a week with a featured menu. Once your customers get used to seeing it once a week they will begin to remember it.

5. Host an event in your restaurant -- partner with the chamber of commerce or a nearby store.

6. Develop a special name for a logo character -- but make it a contest with a free meal for the winner.

7. Let the local newspaper know about your contest and when you pick the winner get a picture in the paper.

Get the idea? Find reasons for potential customers to think of your restaurant when they aren't in the mall.

Bonnie Price, founder of Silver Vixen Enterprises, is a lifelong entrepreneur. She owns SilverVixens, an online membership community to connect and inform Women of a Certain Age. She also writes the After 55 blog.

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