Larry, B2B Consultant
I was so happy when a Tim Hortons coffee and donut shop opened on the US side of the Canadian border. Whenever I visited family in International Falls, Minnesota, I made a point to bring my passport so I could cross the border to Fort Frances, Ontario where I was able to enjoy a thriving store with unique donut options and excellent coffee. Keep in mind, to cross the border at that point requires a fee as you first have to cross a toll bridge to get to the actual border crossing. So those donuts had to be good!
Why did Tim Hortons fail to be profitable in the US?
My opinion is that they carried the name across the border without carrying the level of service that I found at the Canadian branch. At one location my wife and I were the only customers in the store and we were outnumbered by Tim Hortons employees. However, there was not one table cleaned and ready for new customers. At another store, they did not even carry my favorite Oreo cookie donut, which I think is a trademark of the franchise. I recently visited another franchise only to learn that many of their choices were not available. This is when it became obvious to me that the franchise could not continue.
Typically, I would rather eat at locally owned and operated businesses, rather than a franchise. Of course there are good reasons to eat at franchises as you know what to expect as far as menu choices and a certain level of service.
Locally owned non-franchise places depend on building a reputation of their own, spread by word of mouth or social media.
Local businesses must learn from the errors of places like Hortons to stay profitable.
stay in business.
If you enjoy trying out the locally owned places as I do, remember to post a Yelp review for that business. More people are using reviews as a deciding factor when choosing where to dine or buy products. Locally owned businesses can find creative ways to encourage customers to post their experience on social media or post a review on Yelp or Google. Engaging a team of professionals to assist in this effort is worth directing some advertising dollars to, in order to get the benefit of obtaining reviews and knowing how to boost them to get maximum results.
While some web design companies offer this service, not all of them do and not all that do are experienced in this realm. Make some inquiries before committing to making the investment. In the event the business has had some negative reviews, a good web company can work with the business to address those concerns and turn some negative comments into positive change.
Several of our restaurant clients have had terrible experiences with various food delivery services. Here's an inside look at the reason some of your favorite restaurants are not participating in UBEReats, GrubHub, Postmates, etc., as well as some solutions YOU can use as a consumer.
Dear Delivery Service,
There is a lot more involved in proper delivery of our menu items.
1) The fleet needs to be prepared to immediately exit the premises and drive directly to the diner's location. We have experienced drivers from various services getting comfortable at the bar, and delaying their deliveries.
2) Based on the Yelp reviews we have received from diners who received their meals from delivery services like Postmates, other events are happening between our restaurant and the food's destination. I'm not sure what events this could entail, but it is not conducive to our customers' expectations.
3) The other problem is tipping. Our hard-working staff has no incentive to service delivered meals, and in fact, is often penalized for it. The IRS withholds based on the total sales, not on the total tips. So, a delivered sale will be taxed as if the server is receiving a full tip, but in reality, the tips are often small--as consumers don't understand the extra work involved in packing a to-go meal, and it's being split with the driver.
How Postmates can help:
Our hope is that Postmates will take this feedback seriously and enact immediate changes.
If your system changes, please let us know! We would be happy to reconsider participating in your platform.
If Facebook ads and Print ads were in a competition, Facebook ads would win almost every time.
**The following is a conversation I had with a tourism based community about bringing more traffic to their town.**
We can target people on Facebook who are fans of "Explore Minnesota Tourism."
Just in the last week we have reached 3271 people in the United States who have expressed interest in "Explore Minnesota Tourism."
From August 27-September 6 we reached over 5000 people.
We have received engagement (a Like, Comment, Share, or Click-through to the website) from over 900 of those people.
The hard Facebook ad cost of reaching this captive audience was just: $49.86.
We have the potential to reach 180,000 people on Facebook who are interested in visiting Minnesota.
The circulation of the Explore MN magazine is only 32,750 households.
Our daily reach is estimated at 300-1700 people, based on effectiveness of the ad and the ad budget.
As you can see in the graph, interest is now waning in this ad that has attracted over 5000 people:
It takes more than just the Facebook ad budget to make an ad successful.
Each ad requires: copy, a graphic and photo, and a Call to Action.
Each ad also needs to be carefully watched each day.
Fans need to be engaged with. Questions need to be answered, etc.
Fans also need to be invited to become permanent fans of the page.
This takes time and resources.
Not every ad is successful.
But it only takes a few dollars or a few hours to see if an ad is working or not.
The most exciting thing about Facebook ads, is that putting money into it is like putting money into an investment portfolio. Every time we run an ad campaign, we see a gradual increase in Page Likes or Fans. Once we have a Fan, we can more easily reach him/her with organic posts and paid posts.
We started the summer off with 10,500 Fans, and increased that number by 100 each month--June, July and August--we're winning people over for years to come!
The Facebook Page's Fan base is roughly 1/3 of the Explore MN Magazine Ad circulation.
If we could use the magazine budget of $925 for their smallest ad (1/6 page), we could potentially reach as many as 9000 people A DAY.
With their largest ad budget of $3300, we could potentially reach 32,000 people A DAY.
[These are estimates from Facebook]
Going into Fall and Winter, this is the time to build our Fan Base, so we can remind them monthly to start planning their Summer Vacation in Rainy Lake!!
Let me know if you want to reroute your Print Ad Budget to more Facebook Ad Campaigns!
Q. I'm getting a lot of phone calls from Yelp, telling me that I'm missing out on business. What should I do?
A. My number one rule in sales is: if the company requires a team of cold callers, their product deserves skepticism and hesitation. It might be the best product in the world, it might be so good that everyone who finds out about it just wants to hog the filthy little secret to themselves.
Or -- it's just not worth talking about.
Either way, when you get a call from Yelp or any other cold caller, take a step back and get some expert input from someone who has dealt with the caller before.
Expert Input about Yelp Ads:
1) Do you have a Yelp page? Have you claimed it? Let's start there. That's free and takes about 15 minutes of your time. Go to Yelp.com, find your business, and hit UNCLAIMED. Follow the steps to set up your business Yelp account (different from your personal Yelp account).
2) Have you ever gotten a Yelp review before? Hrmm. Depending on your industry, Yelp may not be an integral part of your business. If you haven't gotten a review before, it may not even be integral to your own success. But of course, it might be crucial for your business' next phase of development!
3) Before advertising on Yelp, it's a good idea to drum up some 5-star reviews. But how!? We recommend and sell a software that helps you better communicate with your existing customers so they know how to leave a review, and so they won't forget! If you can't track down any 5-star reviews, you may want to rethink advertising on Yelp. Why? People who shop on Yelp also leave reviews. If the Yelp-iverse isn't jiving with your services--be cautious! Might need to change how things are operating before bringing on the critical masses!
4) Once you have a handful of positive reviews, and you've gotten comfortable with Yelpers, now you can consider advertising with Yelp. Ask the Yelp representative a lot of questions about cost per lead and overall traffic, and what is the competition doing. If you sell $5 drinks, and the lead cost is $10--this is not a good idea. If you sell $200 services, and the lead cost is $14--this could make sense!!
- Start with the smallest plan available to test the waters. Ask for a discount, and ask them to start the ads before the billing cycle begins.
- Make sure your Yelp page is set up properly with nice photos.
- Download the Yelp app to your phone so you can respond to questions right away.
- Set up an enticing offer so you get noticed!
- Evaluate each month to make sure you're getting your money's worth!
Contact us if you need help talking to Yelp. We can generally get a more honest answer because we represent hundreds of customers. Yelp would rather tell an agency the truth, in the hopes of getting 50 new customers, than stretch the truth in the hopes of just getting your business! Let us know if we can help