In the past I wrote about the power of anonymous advertising. One notable example was of restaurateur, Ed Novak, who at the time owned The Broker Restaurant in Denver (he’s since sold to Jerry Fritzler who interestingly started out as a bus boy in the restaurant).
Since beginning with $900 in capital over 40 years ago, Ed repeatedly flummoxed his competitors with strategies like free shrimp cocktails for all customers…a selection of 20 different wines at just 25 cents above cost…promotion of a $7.00 prime rib dinners to get lunch customers back to the restaurant in the evening…and his biggest ploy: he ran a full page anonymous ad in the local paper featuring a questionnaire for people to fill out and send in – indicating their restaurant preferences, what they liked and disliked about the named restaurants, and offering a $20 certificate from one of the restaurants to everybody who sent in the questionnaire.
He received 24,000 responses!!!
That translates into $480,000.00 in certificates, prompting competitors to predict Novak’s impending bankruptcy (NOTE: You can still go to The Broker Restaurant today 18 years later. Conversely most of Ed’s, then competitors, have been out of business for years)
Ed knew that the capture of names and addresses (not simply e-mail addresses) interested enough in dining out to complete and mail back such a survey is well worth the investment, and that, as always, he’ll come out ahead. (This is a strategy almost any kind of local business could steal and use.)
Novak knew the value of names: his Birthday Club list exceeded 70,000 people. (Imagine that…70,000 divided by 12 months; an average of 5,800 customers receiving free dinner coupons each month for their birthdays.)
Here is somebody with more vision, imagination, confidence and common sense than any 100 other restauranteurs added together. Here is someone smart about buying customers for their lifetime value and referral value in mind, rather than being foolishly restricted just by the value of their first purchase or any one purchase!
While the strategy above still works today and you’d be wise to figure out how to use this in your business today you have the opportunity to get leads not for $20 apiece, but for pennies. Customers can cost mere dollars.
And while I know you probably won’t go out and run an ad in the paper like the one described above because you may rightly, but probably wrongly have a bias against this media, you might be interested in this strategy, really a multitude of strategies, that are proven to work today using the latest online tools like blogs, e-mails, landing pages, YouTube and much more.
Maybe you’ll even couple one of these media strategies to test out the same proven campaign Ed used above. This would make me smile. Almost.
In any case if you are looking for new strategies to capture leads and turn them into customers, look here (heck there’s even a story from a pizza shop owner if you like the restaurant theme.)
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I’ll leave you with this truth that’s probably worth you writing down and pinning above your desk (most would be better served by tattooing it on their forehead.)
“Dumb business owners get a customer in order to make a sale.
Smart business owners make a sale in order to get a customer!”
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