Market Strategies

Do your products, business environment, displays, promotions and special offers amaze and convert customers into brand zealots?

If they don’t — read on! Hey, read on even if they do, as you still might learn a thing or two.

Whether you sell a tangible product or a service, it costs little to turn your offering into a marketing megaphone for your company. One family-owned business that’s a model for self-promotion is Zeeks Pizza, which has seven Seattle-area restaurants, franchised outlets opening soon and steadily increasing restaurant and to-go sales. Here’s how to follow Zeeks’ lead and develop inexpensive ways to promote your business.

Start with a great product or service
“We want people to have a passionate reaction to our business, and at the center of it all is a pizza,” says Zeeks co-founder Doug McClure. You have to start by making a product that people want to rave about.

Create a customer experience that’s magnetic and repeatable
If the pizza Zeeks makes is the restaurant’s best ad, the customer experience takes a close second place. Restaurant customers enter an environment that advances the Zeeks brand while also adapting to each local neighborhood.

Pizza is available from the menu or by the slice. Kids are greeted with goodie bags that include temporary tattoos of Zeeks specialty pizza icons, along with a wad of uncooked dough to play with until their orders arrive. To emulate Zeeks, deliver an unfailingly excellent experience that customers want to share with others. As proof it’s possible, Zeeks is touted far and wide in nearly 500 blog posts. That’s a lot of free and avid word-of-mouth advertising.

Make your location your best calling card
If you have a brick-and-mortar business, make sure your signage is strong, clean and a good representation of your brand image. If you have an online business, do the same with your Web site. If you rely on foot traffic, make sure your business looks open and inviting to passersby, with signs that explain who you are and what you do, along with displays and promotional messages that lure customers to your door.

Turn your package into a great ad
From delivery trucks to boxes, Zeeks is an inspiration. Every delivered pizza leaves Zeeks in a vehicle signed with big magnetic ads that pulse ordering information throughout Seattle’s streets. Pizza boxes are imprinted with ads, and stickers announce specialty orders.

To leverage your sales, print or affix labels to your shopping bags or packages. Even proposals or contracts can be delivered in folders that carry your logo and marketing message. Go one step further by making packages reusable, or by adding reference information or promotional offers that customers want to keep or share.

Get listed EVERYWHERE 
Zeeks is listed online in search engines, city guides, restaurant review guides, dining guides and the Yellow Pages. For similar exposure, learn which sites your customers visit when considering products like yours, then go to those sites and take the necessary steps to get and stay listed.

A simple way to find appropriate listings is to type your competitor’s name in a search engine and see where it’s listed. Compare this to where you’re listed, and also ask your customers which sites they use to find out how to get your web site noticed by search engines.

Cultivate repeat clientele
Every Zeeks pizza comes with a repeat-order invitation. “We crank the offers up or dial them down,” McClure says, adding, “The $3-off coupon is the one that brings the highest redemption rate.” Zeeks also uses Twitter to blast news and promotions to a growing group of dedicated followers.

Take time to create your own self-promotion plan. Start with an exceptional product and a memorable customer experience. Then spread your news via your signage, storefront, packaging, displays, Web posts, social networks and, most of all, by reaching out to satisfied customers with offers that keep them coming back for more.

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