Are you spending your hard-earned money on advertising to grow your business in this difficult economy? Do you expect results? Are you getting results? Is the result of your advertising increased sales and a positive attitude toward your product? It should be!

The biggest waste of money is to advertise and not be able to turn the leads into a sale. Let me give you a couple of examples that happened to me recently. I needed a dentist for an emergency. (My regular dentist was not available.) My wife looked in the local newspaper and found an ad for a dentist she has seen advertising for months. She called and made an appointment for me. When we arrived at the office at the scheduled time there was no one in the waiting room or behind the receptionist desk. I proceeded to fill out the paperwork I took from the counter and fifteen minutes later we were still alone. I started whistling to the background music in an effort to let someone know we were there. After five more dry mouth minutes my wife went to the receptionist counter and said loudly. “Hello, anyone there?” No response! We looked at each other and left the office. A total of over twenty minutes had gone by and not one reply from the staff.

The second example is based on an experience from one of the companies that advertises in TRN. Sad to say it but here goes. I was called by as friend of a reader asking for the services that one of our advertisers could provide. During the course of a year I get many opportunities to direct business to our advertisers and they are appreciative and I enjoy doing it for them. I called the advertiser and left a message that I had a hot lead for him. Several days went by with no response. In the meantime another person was looking for the same service on our Business Network www.trnusa.ning.com and I again called our advertiser and left another message. Still no answer. I then sent an email and still no response. Unless something is very wrong personally the advertiser is getting response but no sales. Worse yet he doesn’t even know he is getting responses.

In these economic times with business so hard to come by it is imperative that if you do advertise, and you should, you must have your systems in place to handle the business you will receive from the ad. Make sure your staff is aware of the ad you place and any special offers you may be running in the ad. Customers are hesitant to spend money now and you can’t afford to give them any excuse not to use your service or eat at your restaurant.
Be aware, stay alert, be smart and be tough. Keep advertising; use coupons or special pricing to attract attention. In the long run it will pay off.

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Tags: Advertise, restaurant

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Comment by Jagadish C on September 4, 2009 at 8:47am
Howard-

Thanks a lot for the post and makes a lot of sense. At Pow!, we help restaurants fill tables by promoting deals and incentives. We empower restaurants to promote deals and drive traffic through web, facebook, twitter, widgets, sms, email, iPhone/Blackberry (will be released soon).

We also help restaurants manager their twitter accounts and facebook pages, and post the deals an specials on their accounts in addition to Pow! accounts.

Please check us out at http://www.powdeal.com and please give me feedback. I look forward to connect with you.

Best,
Jagadish
Comment by Howard Appell on March 30, 2009 at 11:05am
I know that there is a ground swell to bury print media but I still believe that for at least the next 10 yrs. there will be a demand for it. It may be less than today but still there. We debate the possibility of going online with our newspapers each day and I still have no clear cut information that would lead me to going all net based. I think I may be a dinosaur but It's nice to be the king, for now anyway. For the services you provide it seems a perfect fit and the only way to go. I wish us all good luck.
Comment by Ivan Collins on March 30, 2009 at 10:10am
Howard, not being prepared for your traffic when they do show up is just poor management. I doubt you'll keep those customers long as they're not likely to stay in business Measuring advertising has traditionally been a difficult thing to track exactly....especially in the world of push media such as TV, radio, print. Online advertisers are building good tools to help you measure it. Google Adwords system has everything you need to know if they're coming to your website, but not into the restaurant per se. Reservation Genie actually tracks from which website a reservation is made and generates a report of affiliate site traffic that you can filter for a specific date range. Obviously not all eyeballs convert to reservations...some are converted to walk-ins and some don't convert at all. But it does give you a relative indicator of site efficacy. And because you can filter the traffic by date range, you can measure the effect of upgrading your ads on those sites.
Comment by Brad on March 30, 2009 at 5:43am
Howard - I could not agree with you more, and especially in today's economic environment, every advertising dollar has to generate a return. One of our key issues is helping determine which advertising is actually working and which is not. The old adage used to be that "I know half of my advertising is working, the problem is I just don't know which half?" I would say that with all of the advertising clutter that we are bombarded with on a daily basis, the amount that is actually effective is far less than half. Knowing which media are effective and which are not, helps allocate advertising dollars to those that generate the best return.

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