This may come as a surprise to some, but you can definitely learn about marketing your business from Quiznos and the Quiznos coupons they so regularly hand out.
I work for a mid-size retailer in a strip mall. Like so many strip malls in the United States, there's a Quiznos in the parking lot. Yesterday the Quiznos manager had one of his hourly employees take a large handful of coupons and walk down the strip mall, entering each store and offering them a "special deal" as part of their "good neighbor" program. The store was offered some Quiznos coupons to place in their breakroom.
My employer took 30 Quiznos coupons and put them in the breakroom, where probably half of them disappeared during the day.
So what did Quiznos do right? First of all, they marketed their business without breaking the bank. You can have coupons printed for just pennies per coupon. They didn't pay postage, they didn't pay an expensive marketing company, they didn't pay a radio station and they sure didn't pay for a television commercial! Instead, Quiznos just took some inexpensive coupons and used their existing labor to distribute those coupons to local prospects.
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So what else did Quiznos do right with their coupon distribution? They marketed to a local customer base. Everyone that got a coupon works near that Quiznos location. Compare that to other methods of advertising, like radio, where many (most?) of the listeners live too far away from your business to be a good prospect.
The final thing Quiznos did right was when they made this a "special" offer. A customer is ALWAYS more likely to take advantage of a "special" offer, one that's designed just for them. In other words, if EVERYONE gets a coupon then it's not special. But wait, not everyone got this Quiznos coupon! It was distributed to neighbors only. That makes it special. Since only a select group received this coupon, and I'm in that select group, it now has perceived value.
A good tactic is to think of several unique groups that you can target with coupons specifically for them. Using the Free Business Cards Vistaprint offer that allows you to create professionally printed coupons in small batches of 250, make up a couple offers. Then use existing labor (even if that's you) to distribute these coupons by personally handing them out to the targeted group.
If you have a Target near you, have 250 coupons printed up that say "ABC Gym extends a special offer to Target associates!". Do the same thing for other local businesses. It's virtually risk free marketing, because if nobody at all joins the health club you're out what.....5 bucks and change? Big deal. Skip the Starbucks tomorrow and you're even. The risk/benefit ratio is the best you're ever going to find!
See, you really did learn about marketing your business from Quiznos coupons!
P.S. Remember that we have a great library of free health club marketing articles for you to read. Just visit this link: www.cuecd.com/articles.asp.