Whether you’re a single store owner, multiunit owner or part of a larger franchise, there are a few best marketing practices that almost always ensure success.

The first is to establish a goal. Then create a plan to achieve it. You need a plan with specific benchmark goals to succeed (See my blog on Local Market Planning). It’s one thing to say that you’re going to accomplish something, it’s another to actually follow through and do it. A good plan is like a road map that helps you stay on course.

Location, Location, Location

Let’s say you have a quick service restaurant and you want to create an increase in new customers and generate more frequency from your existing customers. First, look at your location and think about the four dayparts when customers want to eat something (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner). Why consider your location? It can be a big factor in developing a marketing strategy for these dayparts i.e. if you have a shop that is located near several businesses downtown with lots and lots of employees, you have a legitimate shot at winning in all four dayparts. Many city-based workers get to work early and stay late. Some are looking to just grab a bite that they can take back to work. In this case, you can increase customers and frequency by simply marketing to your existing customers.

For those who come in for lunch only, giving them a BOGO offer may incentivize them to invite a co-worker to join them. In addition to gaining another customer, you benefit from a higher check. The average check for a well-structured BOGO is generally much higher than the average check. You should also give these customers an incentive to try your breakfast, snack or dinner. There are services available that can do this for you automatically, mobivity.com being one.

If, however your shop is in a shopping center in the suburbs, your main opportunity for growth may be limited to breakfast and lunch. And if it happens to be buried in a corner of that center with little or no street visibility, you can pretty much forget about breakfast and concentrate on lunch, snack and maybe dinner. Thus, the term location, location, location.

Make A Plan

Ok so back to the plan. What are your strongest and weakest dayparts? Do you have a strong lunch business but not much else? If you’re not readily visible and convenient to commuters then don’t plan to spend a lot of time and marketing dollars to promote breakfast. Instead be a great snack resource for customers and employees of the shopping center and create a dinner special or bundle offer that will be attractive to the same group. Think about catering to local businesses, schools, churches and teams. This can be a great source of revenue.

Once you’ve decided on where you have the best chance to grow, plan to do just that. Track your daypart sales before and during your plan so you know if your local marketing strategy is working and so you can staff accordingly.

In our next blog, we’ll explore local media, how and when to use it to reach the new customers you need and how to develop more frequent visits from existing customers.