I caught up with a friend recently who opened his first restaurant, which also happens to be his first business venture. Although he is getting some customers to his venue, he would really like to attract customers who are aligned to his business values and have more of them visiting on a regular basis.
While he spoke about the excitement of starting his own venture, his frustrations were slowly becoming apparent.
Further, into our discussion, he describes that his décor is attractive, his menu options are well researched and priced, and his staff are experienced, and he thought that this was all he needed to do to get off to a flying start.
And yet, his venue is not full of customers.
He asked me what I thought he needed to do in order to attract more customers to his venue before he starts to spend any more money on marketing and advertising.
The simple answer that came to mind is something that most business owners don’t do, and I was guilty of this myself when I started my first business.
Most business owners make the mistake of marketing to many. To the masses. When in fact, you only need to market to one customer, and you will start to attract customers to your restaurant. Let’s see…
The first thing we all need to do is to know who we want to serve. We need to spend 1 hour jotting down intimate details of our customers.
Some people like to refer to this exercise as identifying your avatar, or your “ideal customer”. The best way to start is to identify who is your best customer if you currently have customers; and if not, think about who you enjoy working with (and with whom you don’t).
Then describe him or her in a bit more detail.
And then give that customer a real name.
Here’s an example below:
Bill is in his mid-40’s, married with kids, works in an office and commutes to work every day except weekends. Given his time constraints, he drives everywhere. Bill is also a well-travelled, adventurous type. His wife also works; she runs her own business and she is also short on time. They like to eat out whenever they get a chance, but sometimes their budget can be tight and their other option is to eat at home. His favourite show is Game of Thrones and he likes to play computer games when kids go to bed. Bill’s wife tends to work at home, and tries to get work done while kids are asleep.
Can you see the detail required to understand our customer?
This is just a start.
Ultimately we need to depict Bill’s frustrations, wants and needs as clearly as we can because this will become the basis of how we approach everything in terms of marketing and advertising in our business.
In the example above, one of Bill’s obvious frustrations is lack of time. Now that we know the problem Bill has, we can start to work on the solution.
So knowing all this about Bill, do you think opening a restaurant that doesn’t provide a take-away option is going to work? What about the prices? One pricing option to consider is to offer “value-added” packs with drinks included will remove all the arguing with the kids and save Bill time. Aside from this, knowing intimate things like Bill’s favourite TV show Game of Thrones, we can begin to formulate special promotions around this such as “Pack of Ribs” fit for a king – maybe a good takeaway option.
If you haven’t done this exercise before, I highly recommend you do this today. It will help you attract customers like bees to honey!
This will become important, especially when you launch into advertising mode in your business.
Remember, when you promote or advertise your business, your goal is to talk to one customer, as opposed to many. It’s just easier that way.
Other customers will still come, but your focus is to attract more customers like Bill and develop product offerings around Bill (your avatar).
Think of the brands like Apple. Apple’s recent launch of the digital wristwatch as a fashion statement, rather than another techy product, attracts customers who like to be seen, who are stylish and adventurous.
The best example of Apple’s ideal customer solution is their ability to recognise the frustration of their customers who purchase their products but didn’t know how to use them, so Apple started a retail chain of shops to offer training and support in a face to face setting.
Truly knowing your customer will lay foundations on which advertising mediums to use; it will define your communication strategy; product offering, pricing, upselling, staff training, merchandising and design of your venue and much more. “Avatars” are proven to work well when you can integrate them in your overall business.
Try it out and see for yourself.
Or you can contact us and book a free marketing strategy planning session