Even as most restaurants are increasingly trying to figure out which mobile apps and social media sites to pour their resources into, one "old-fashioned" marketing program continues to generate notable response rates.
New mover marketing programs are still helping operators attract new customers and create loyalty because of their immediate, localized nature.
"They reach potential customers before they have an opportunity to establish new habits," said Michael Plummer Jr., CEO of Our Town America, a new mover marketing company. "New movers are actively pursuing new 'go to' options and the restaurants that make a positive first impression have the inside track on winning their hearts."
He estimates that new mover welcoming packages continue to generate response rates of 10 to 30 percent, even with the advent of digital efforts. Many Our Town America clients complement their new mover programs with social media to maintain and build relationships with customers after their first visit.
"However, without first using new mover marketing to spark an initial relationship and secure customer loyalty, the social media effort would be exponentially less valuable," Plummer said. "In my opinion, mobile, social and e-mail marketing efforts lack that focus and personal touch. The key to the response rate success is providing new movers with valuable and personalized offers that inspire long-term customer loyalty."
New mover marketing, he adds, is a niche industry that is most effective when:
- The marketing piece is a welcoming package filled with useful local information, a personalized letter and generous gift cards;
- The welcoming package looks and feels like a house-warming gift as opposed to an impersonal envelope of coupons;
- The new residents receiving the package live within close proximity to your restaurant; and
- The new mover marketing partner allows operators to lock out the competition with restaurant category exclusivity.
Is the cost worth it?
Jimmy O'Connor, a Jet's Pizza franchise owner based out of Tampa, Fla., has been using new mover marketing programs through Our Town America for about six years. He invests about 8 to 10 percent of his overall marketing budget on new mover marketing programs and calls his returns "unbelievable."
"I believe in the power of reaching out to customers with targeted messages and valuable offers. The program allows me to compete with larger pizza chains that possess much larger budgets," he said. "It provides an affordable way for me to lock out my competition and reach new movers in Tampa before they establish loyalties elsewhere."
The cost of implementing such a campaign varies based on market and number of movers coming into the area each month. For Our Town America's program, Plummer said operators can spend as low as $50 a month.
And, while social media is a free marketing medium, he said it is more effective for helping brands engage fans after a relationship is formed.
"While social media marketing can be cheaper in some cases, it is much more of a customer-retention than a customer-acquisition tool," Plummer said. "Social media marketing will not guide someone who is unfamiliar with the area to your door."
O'Connor's restaurant has experienced more than 20 percent redemption of the 150 to 200 offers sent out on average each month.
"I'm able to reach a new audience each and every month, year in and year out," he said. "The appeal of new mover marketing is having the opportunity to reach new movers as soon as they come to town. Most Americans order pizza once a week and we want to be the first pizza shop they call."
Photo provided by loyaldefender2004.
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Alicia Kelso has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.