Friday, November 09, 2007

Church bulletin marketing

The other day, I had lunch with my friend Peter. He lives on Boston's North Shore, and I went up his way. We went to a very nice little Greek restaurant in Peabody that was just about empty.

Peter has been there a couple of times and told me that, while it's not usually this empty, business is far less than the brisk business that the good food and charming atmosphere would seem to merit.

We started talking with one of the proprietors - the wife of the couple who own the place. (Maria is also an artist who's responsible for the decor and the art work hanging on the walls. Not to mention the waitress and hostess. Ah, the family run business...)

It seems to me that this little restaurant is a classic example of a business that could benefit from a little advertising in small local papers and church bulletins.

I don't know if all demoninations have church bulletins, but Catholic churches all seem to. And even with church closings, there are still a whole slew of RC churches on the North Shore.

What Maria needs to do is design a little ad - something I'm guessing she'd be quite good at - and float it in a few bulletins and I'd bet they'd get business. Throw in a "buy one entree, get one free" promo, a senior special, or a free appetizer. I'm pretty sure people would come.

Folks read church bulletins - sometimes even in church. Folks read local papers - they even read the ads.

And respond to them.

We don't read any church bulletins in my house, but we do read the little freebie local rags - and clip every lunch deal coupon we find.

I hope Maria tries an ad or two in the local church bulletins. Cheap. Easy. Read.

I'd hate to see this wonderful little restaurant fail because nobody knows they're there.

1 comment:

Roy MacNaughton said...

Hi Maureen!

I am a restaurant marketer. 'Been at it in 6 different countries for more than 30 years.

I think your idea using 'Church Bulletin Marketing' is a very good one. I think these folks are typical of thousands of couples who operate independent restaurants...and don't know how to compete against the big chains and national franchises.

Yes, these restaurateurs should go to all the churches located within a three mile radius of their North Shore location. But when they ask if the church will put a small notice in the congregational bulletin for that week, at the same time, they should offer to pay that particular church, one dollar for each of their church members who patronize the restaurant, using that printed church bulletin as a "coupon".

Prepare an offer that stimulates the sale of at least one main menu entree; try to get at least two diners per occasion or coupon use. Make sure this offer cannot be used for 'two coffees and a glass of water-type' orders.

This gives the church an incentive to tell their congregation about this offer, since the church will be helping itself by stimulating the use of this neat little restaurant by its own congregation.

In essence, the restaurant is utilizing the "distribution" of the churches' member lists, by offering an incentive to do so...the one dollar donation by the restaurant. (It's also important to make sure the one dollar is handled as a tax-deductible "donation" to the church in question, not a reduction in menu price paid by the congregation members when dining.

In fact, once they have a church member in their establishment, they should give them yet another "coupon", for a return visit in the future, especially if they bring along another couple of friends.

Obviously none of this works unless the food, ambiance, value and service are top rate.

Maureen, there are literally hundreds of ways small, independent restauranteurs can compete. This is just ONE.

Keep up the good work, I love your blog!


Roy MacNaughton