A UK survey of 2,173 British women aged 18-30 found that one in four were more likely to cheat on a romantic partner than their hairstylist. Here are six secrets to customer loyalty you can learn from the best salons and hairdressers.

Life is full of trials and tribulations… but eventually you find a stylist you like.”

So it seems, as 26 percent of the women who participated in a survey commissioned by babtac.com (British Association of Beauty Therapists and Cosmetology), indicated they were more likely to stray romantically than stray from their favorite hair stylist or colorist.

89 percent of the women surveyed said they would remain loyal to a good hairdresser. It is fascinating, really. Given that even the smallest towns usually have at least one (if not several) hair salons and bigger cities have thousands of salons, salon suites and hairdressers women can choose from, why is it that women see hairdressers and colorists services not as readily-available commodities, but as uniquely valuable and practically irreplaceable?

It is a particularly interesting question in light of the fact that customer loyalty (at least for purposes of the survey) is tied to individual beauty professionals, not just the salons they work in. How are these stylists and colorists (who could be working as booth renters or salon or salon suite owners or employees) establishing such strong brand perceptions with their client base?

We came up with a list of six brand perceptions that hairdressers and colorists who have a loyal client base have established, and which can be replicated by other businesses, consultants and service professionals.

6 Brand Perceptions that Inspire Customer Loyalty

Cheating – leaving for another provider – is a risky proposition.

Of the women surveyed, 49 percent agreed that a good hairdresser was harder to find than a good (romantic) partner. This is the marketing principle of scarcity. While there might be many hairdressers, the perception is there are not many good ones. Therefore, once you have found a good hairdresser, it’s risky to leave.

When it comes to customer loyalty, relationships are a two-way street.

82 percent of respondents said they felt it was very important to have a good relationship with their stylist. As opposed to a feeling of customer entitlement, where the onus of the relationship rests mostly (or completely) on the business, these women feel invested in the relationships themselves.

The business truly understands – and meets – the customer’s need.

Emma Roberts, Marketing Executive of BABTAC, put it this way, “Discovering a good relationship with a hairdresser who understands their clients’ needs is like gold dust, so it’s understandable that we don’t want to upset the balance we have with our stylist.” Getting to this point of fully understanding and meeting the client’s need, visit after visit, doesn’t happen by accident.

Stylists provide consultative services to their clients and work diligently to get from client-expressed wishes to the results they want, even when that means interpreting vague concepts about the appearance they want to achieve or the need to overcome challenges to get there (damaged hair, prior services, etc.)

The business is in it for the long haul.

In terms of getting a client all the way to the look-style-length-color they wanted, hair styling and coloring is rarely a one-and-done proposition. It might take months and several visits to get the client the results they are looking for.

Hairdressers build a file on each and every client, including a record of past services, client preferences, client desires, and a plan for how to get the client from where they are now to where they want to be. They send a clear message to their clients that they are in it for the long haul and committed to helping the client achieve their goals. Customer loyalty is a reflection of the business investment in making it a long term proposition.

They can put absolute trust in the business.

An iconic Clairol hair color marketing campaign ran with the tagline, “Does she…or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.” A girl’s natural hair color is not the only secret that hairdressers are privy to; the salon is traditionally an environment where a woman can share her troubles and triumphs, and even her secrets, without fear of betrayal.

Over time, a stylist runs the gamut with a client, delivering services that make the client feel their best and look their best through – and despite – the ups and downs life is throwing at them. It’s a place where clients can confess their sins (like the time they cut their own bangs or how they save money by cutting their children’s hair at home) without fear of judgment or reprisal. They get empathy and understanding, without lectures or instructions about what they are doing wrong.

Their services cannot be replicated.

Returning to the question of why women do not perceive hair services as commodities, hairdressers with loyal clients have established the brand perception that their services cannot be replicated. Their clients believe that they have innate talent or skills that cannot be taught, and so cannot be replicated elsewhere. This may be the toughest brand perception for a business to establish; delivering a client experience and results that customers cannot get anywhere else to drive customer loyalty.

You might also like:  4 Ps of Loyalty Marketing that Make Our Customers Love Us

If you think of the credit card processing transaction as the end of the buying cycle, think again. Consumers want to continue engaging with your brand, so here are 15 post-sale engagement marketing emails you can send to help you keep the relationship alive and well.

You Made a Sale, Now What? Keep Growing Customer Relationships Using Email After the Sale

New research points to the importance of providing positive customer experiences after the cash or credit card payment processing has occurred. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer email  as the channel for post-sale brand interaction, so we came up with fifteen different types of marketing emails you can send to build positive brand perceptions after the money is in the bank.

“For brands to behave as though the sale is the end of the relationship is like viewing a wedding as the end of a romance.”
Elizabeth Kraus, The Marketing Desks

A report from ACCENT Marketing Services called Beyond the Point of Purchase reported that 86 percent of consumers say it’s important to have a positive experience with the brand after making a purchase. Nearly eight of every ten will tell friends and family if a brand manages to “wow” them. Creating positive, post-sale interactions with buyers should be a big part of your overall marketing strategy.

15 Marketing Emails to Send After the Sale to Keep the Customer-Brand Relationship Alive

1. The Service Survey

Use payment processing loyalty automation marketing to send a brief 3-4 question survey asking customers to rate their experience. Include at least one open-ended field where they can voice any questions, concerns or leave brand-compliments they would like to convey. When they do, be sure to repurpose those positive comments into your marketing as testimonials.

2. The Poll

Send a post-sale poll question to solicit your customer’s opinion about something in your business you have considered changing or new products or services you plan to add. This can be a great way to introduce them to new or add-on products or accessories in advance of a formal pitch.

3. The Testimonial Solicitation

Send an email after the sale asking customers to tell you what they liked most about their purchase or their experience with your brand.

4. Make Them the Experts

Let customers know how important you think they are by asking questions; such as, what is the best feature of the product they purchased, or what type of buyer they would most recommend the product for.

5. Link to an Online Rating Site

Invite customers to visit your site and leave a 5-star rating for the item they purchase or their experience overall.

6. Link to Review Sites

Send an email inviting satisfied customers to visit your page on Yelp, Amazon, Google+ or some other review site to leave a review and recommendation for your brand, services, staff or products online.

7. Ask for a Referral

Send an email with a request for customers to forward to a friend who may benefit from your products or services.

8. Talk Up Accessories and Add-Ons

Now that your customer is enjoying their purchase, they may be open to considering accessories and add-ons that would make their experience even better. Send marketing emails with special offers on the accessories or add-ons that would enhance their satisfaction even more.

9. Service Offers and Packages

Let customers know that you stand behind the products you sell, and that they can expect the same great experience with your business when they avail themselves of your periodic maintenance or service offers.

10. Upgrades

If customers loved model 1, when the time comes, they’re going to love model 2 even more. When the time is right, follow up with customers with marketing emails to let them know about upgrades that are available to them.

11. Personal Thank You

The thank you note will never go out of style. Send an email to customers after the sale to thank them for their patronage.

12. Still Satisfied?

Some goods and services have a long buying cycle; check in from time to time to see whether your customer is still happy with their purchase, whether the product is living up to its warranties and guarantees, or whether it might be time for them to buy again.

13. News and Awards

There’s nothing wrong with letting your fans know why they were smart to buy from you to begin with. Let them know when you receive an award or pass a significant milestone, and acknowledge that none of it would have been possible without their support.

14. The Next Big Thing

Something groundbreaking coming to your industry? Email is a great way to let customers know about the next big thing that will be coming to your business and how they can get in on the ground floor.

15. Get Intel and Build Better Buyer Profiles

Once you’ve earned the customer’s trust, use email to interact, ask questions, and add to the store of knowledge you have about your target markets and ideal buyer types

You might also like: 9 Ways to Generate Revenue with Point of Sale Marketing

When you’re in a super-competitive industry, effective marketing makes a difference. Here are six marketing ideas for an auto repair, service or parts business.

6 Ways to Grow an Auto Repair, Service or Parts Business

Finding articles with marketing ideas is easy; however, finding resources specifically tailored to help with growing a specialty business, marketing ideas for auto repair, auto supply or other automotive service companies is not so easy.

Some small businesses have all the luck!

We’re talking about small business types that have steady demand and simply need to let the public know they are out there and provide good service. I mean, everyone needs a haircut, right? Everyone eats out from time to time, right? Everyone needs groceries, right?

But for other types of businesses, often times consumers don’t need them until they need them – such as auto repair or auto supply stores or specialty automotive service businesses like tire repair and replacement businesses. This makes for a much more competitive environment where good marketing ideas can mean the difference when it comes to growing a customer base and becoming more profitable.

6 Marketing Ideas for Auto Repair, Service or Parts Business

1. Be Found Where Customers Are Looking

97 percent — that’s 97 out of every 100 people – start looking for businesses just like yours online, so says BIA/Kelsey as noted by BixNDex University. (By the way, if your automotive business services business customers as well as – or instead of – public consumers, the number for you is 93 percent — 93 out of 100 of business buyers start the buying process by searching online).

97% of consumers start their search for a local business online (BIA/Kelsey)
and 93% of business buyers start their buying process online

What’s more, up to 70 percent of the buying process may be complete before the customer ever reaches out to a brand or talks to a sales person. What this means is that by the time they call or arrive at your automotive service, repair or supply location to check out their options, it’s likely that they have already made their decision and they are simply trying to confirm it.

70% of the buying process could be complete before a customer ever talks to a brand rep

Your business must have an online presence so that you get found by local customers who need to have their automobiles serviced, repaired, tires changed or who need to purchase parts to do work on their vehicles themselves.

Your online marketing strategy should include a website, blog, email marketing and social networks – as a starting point. To maximize your ability to get local web traffic and bring more customers in for service or sales, incorporate content marketing into your automotive business marketing strategy.

2. Make It Super-Easy for People to Do Business with You

Make it easy for online searchers to find out what they need to know in order to take the next step in coming to your business or calling for an appointment or information.

Make sure your phone number and address are easy to find on every page and make sure your “contact us” page has complete contact information and hours of operation.

Provide the means for customers to ask questions or contact you outside of your hours of operation through web contact forms or email. And when you receive an inquiry, respond as quickly as possible!

3. Get More Referrals

Obviously word of mouth marketing plays a big part when it comes to growing an automotive service, repair or supply business. Many people don’t know a lot about car maintenance and they worry about being cheated or receiving poor service – a problem that could result in them finding themselves stranded somewhere on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

Build trust with nervous and curious consumers by leveraging customer testimonials in your direct and e-mail marketing communications, on social networks and of course on your business website, too.

Offer rewards for customers who refer friends or family to your business, and thank them for doing so with a hand-written thank you note. Be open about telling your customers that you want more customers “like them” and invite them to share your social media profiles or email newsletters with their contacts.

4. Get Involved in Your Community

If you have the type of business that consumers don’t normally think about until they need your services or products, you need to build brand awareness in other ways so that when individuals do need your services or products, yours is the first business that comes to mind.

One way to get brand awareness with local consumers is to be present and active in your community. Joining civic and city business and networking groups, sponsoring youth sports teams, school programs, tutoring or mentoring programs or supporting local charities are just a few of the marketing and networking tactics that can introduce you to future customers and begin to build positive brand associations in their minds – before you have even had a chance to “wow” them with your services and products!

5. Get Recognition and Press Coverage

Many of the marketing tactics described above can provide you with the basis for generating a press release. Traditionally, to get press coverage meant you had to had a connection with a member of the media. Now, thanks to the internet and the prevalence of self-publishing platforms (websites, email newsletters, blogs, social networks and paid press release services) anyone can generate press releases that get read – regardless of whether the local paper chooses to publish them.

6. Use Email to Maintain Brand Awareness 

Year in and year out email is named the most effective marketing tactic for attracting new customers and nurturing customer relationships. Be relentless in capturing the email addresses of your customers and be consistent in emailing them on a regular basis – even as little as once a month – to share any special offers, survey them for satisfaction, promote unique services and encourage referrals.


We offer some of the best credit card processing rates (merchant services) and cash advance financing for auto repair, automotive supply and similar automotive service businesses. Better rates and more working capital could be just a free quote away: 

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From restaurants, salons, co-working spaces, fitness classes and more, new hotel marketing strategies prove hotels aren’t just for travel anymore.  

Hotel Marketing Strategies – Not Just for Travel Anymore

Hoteliers realize that today’s travelers are looking for more than a place to lay their head at night. Improving guest amenities makes them more competitive and turns hotels themselves into a destination not just for distant travelers, but local residents as well.

Hotel marketing strategies that create profit centers in the hotel can help bring in revenue during the off-season and provides the type of diversification that can help them weather economic lulls.

Previously we reported on the ways hotels were transforming public spaces in order to attract business professionals as well as travelers. Not only has that trend continued, but hotels are adding more and more guest amenities that can help them competitively with guests from both near and afar.

4 Hotel Marketing Strategies Turn Hotels into Destinations for Locals and Travelers Alike

  1. World Class Fitness Centers

Marriott brand is building a massive fitness facility in downtown Chicago as “proof of concept” before expanding to additional locations. The center will have high-tech, modern fitness equipment and offer classes for families and children, including yoga, Pilates and more.

  • 90% + of luxury hotels have fitness centers
  • 85% of mid-priced hotels have fitness centers
  • 67% of economy hotels have fitness centers
  • 35% of budget hotels even have fitness centers

The world class fitness center Marriott is building in Chicago represents an evolution, in an attempt to differentiate Marriott from the majority of hotels, since 84% of US hotels had a fitness center as of 2014. In 2004, only six in ten had fitness centers.

Why it works: The fitness center become a curiosity to people traveling to and through Chicago and a reason to prefer Marriott over other brands. The idea of offering classes and expertise also makes it a potential draw to local residents who want to join and enjoy the fitness center’s amenities year-round.

  1. Salons and Spas

Salons are practically recession-proof; after all, people will always need hair services. Hotels with thriving salons and spas have the advantage of a steady stream of revenue from services that take up a relatively small amount of space. Some hoteliers are taking the concept to the next level in order to create a competitive advantage, especially within the luxury hotel market.

There’s a new upscale, boutique hotel under construction in Buffalo, New York called the Curtiss Hotel that promises to do just that. Developer Mark Croce notes that the Curtiss Hotel “will be the most exclusive property in western New York… a full-service hotel in a boutique package.” In addition to its 68 rooms, the hotel will house a revolving bar, heated toilet seats and Roman baths. The spa will be the city’s first – and only – all-weather urban hot springs Roman bath facility, and will be located in a spa area near the entrance along with a fitness center, massage rooms and a men’s boutique hair salon.

Why it works: As an appeal to exclusivity and with only 68 rooms, the Curtiss Hotel offers guests an experience that few others will get to enjoy. Locating its Roman bath spa, massage rooms and a boutique men’s hair salon adjacent to public areas also makes it a desirable destination for local professionals.

  1. Co-Working Spaces

WeWork.com may be one of the most successful examples of co-working spaces done right in urban areas. Not only do they provide much-needed space for entrepreneurs, salespeople and startups, they don’t just provide co-working space, they sponsor events, publish resources and bring in expert speakers to inspire and mentor their members.

In the New Year you can expect more hotels in urban areas to build out co-working spaces, suites and meeting rooms to attract business travelers and local business professionals as well. In Predicting the Rise of the Smart Hotel on skift.com, Greg Oates describes this type of hotel this way:

The Smart Hotel of the future adapts to any building, and it’s plugged into a city’s open data platform to provide a new and untapped hospitality user experience that prioritizes efficiency, connectivity and mobility.”

The article goes on to define the smart hotel’s use of the IoT (internet of things) makes it a natural urban sharer – from everything to restaurant openings, public barbecues, social and professional connectivity and – yes – co-working spaces.

The Workshop Café in San Francisco is an excellent example of the type of urban hotels that will emerge in the years ahead. Located on the edge of the city’s Financial District, people can pay $2 an hour on their stored credit card to use the half of the hotel restaurant dedicated for paying co-workers. Their app even has an opt-in community page that facilitates professional introductions and even paves the way for entrepreneurial partnerships.

Why it works: The smart hotel of tomorrow appeals to business travelers and local business professionals who need office space in the city where they can work, conduct sales presentations, connect with prospects or colleagues worldwide via technology, and so on. Hotels that develop co-working services can even book out unused hotel rooms as private offices or convert surplus rooms to co-working spaces, meeting rooms and small conference areas, thereby establishing new and consistent streams of rental revenues.

  1. Signature Restaurants and Eateries

Hotels and restaurants have always made for good partnerships; everybody has to eat and for travelers, having the option to eat without venturing out onto unfamiliar streets often makes the hotel restaurant a natural first choice. However, convenience isn’t enough, especially for hotels that want to draw in local residents for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, whether their appeal is more to business or non-business guests.

In New Jersey, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa is banking on celebrity. Michael Symon, who appears regularly on ABC’s daytime talk show The Chew and the Food Network will be heading up a new Italian restaurant at the Borgata in 2016. Ostensibly, it works. Symon will be joining a superstar culinary lineup that also includes Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Geoffrey Zakarian as well as Wolfgang Puck.

Why it works: A signature restaurant has the ability to motivate travelers to stay and to attract local residents who are curious to find out what all the buzz is about. Having celebrities in the house also appeals to people who want to hobnob with the rich and famous or who are fans, personally.

That said, it’s worth noting that you don’t have to have the type of money a celebrity would need to build a signature hotel restaurant. What you do need is a buzz-worthy concept that is ground-breaking, unique, and has the ability to create intrigue. Many restaurants have become household names for travelers after appearing on travel and food shows, or being named as well-rated on travel apps and websites.


We offer hotel financing that can be ideal for renovating hotels and motels, or for adding amenities intrinsic to hotel marketing strategies like salons, restaurants and fitness centers to your list of restaurant guest amenities. In addition, we can partner with your hotel to create an efficient hotel credit card processing solution that boosts revenues through easy impulse buying and hotel loyalty marketing.

Get more information or request hotel financing rates using the quick quote form below.


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Find out why contests work and learn how to use restaurant contests to intrigue local customers and get them to visit your restaurant, and come back more often.

Get High Returns on Low Cost Restaurant Contests

When it comes to promoting a restaurant, well-executed restaurant contests can generate new customer traffic, boost the average ticket, fill seats during slower hours, bring patrons back more often and expand your contact database – if you do it right. Find out how to maximize your chances of getting high returns using low-cost contests to promote your restaurant.

Franchise restaurants and independent restaurants looking for new ways to promote a restaurant in their area may consider running a one-time contest or on-going restaurant contests in order to attract new customers or turn occasional customers into loyal, repeat patrons. As you brainstorm the details and customize a contest to highlight the strengths of your restaurant, here are some things to keep in mind.

An antavo.com article provided some great tips for restaurants who want to use contests to promote their business, including two important psychological factors: “Your fans… evaluate their odds of winning by looking at the incentives provided and effort needed.”  In other words, they have to believe they can win, and they have to want whatever they get when they do.

5 Prize-Wise Tips for Attracting New Customers with Restaurant Contests

1. Prize-Wise, Bigger is Not Always Better

If you haven’t tried using restaurant contests to attract customers because you didn’t have a lot of money to spend on prizes or give-aways, it should encourage you to learn that bigger is not always better when it comes to contest prizes.

In fact, the bigger the prize value, the less likely people believe they are to win. Smaller prizes or running contests or drawings where more than one person will win will lead more people to believe they can win, which means more people will participate in order to try to win.

2. Make it Easy or Hard to Win, Depending on Prize-Size

People expect to have to do something that takes real effort or sacrifice in order to win something big. By contrast, it should be easy to enter or participate in order to win low-cost prizes.

Therefore, if you want lots of people to enter (whether entry occurs via restaurant visits or signing up to follow your restaurant via email or social networks, you should increase the (perceived) probability of winning by offering more prizes.

3. What Your Prize-Implies: Contest Type Impacts Perceived Ability to Win

Contests (where winners are chosen through some kind of subjective evaluation) may also be perceived to be more difficult to win. Be sure that you clearly lay out contest guidelines including how entries will be judged, measured or evaluated, and who will conduct the evaluation, in order to determine who wins. The more equal people perceive their chance of winning to be, the more likely they are to enter.

On the other hand, subjectively-evaluated and awarded contests that require more effort may result in fewer entries. If you are conducting a contest and want to boost its effectiveness, publicize the limited number of entries, so that you incentivize participation by implying better odds of winning among a relatively small pool.

Customers may feel they have a more equal opportunity to win when prizes are awarded via drawing, especially in drawings where any one participant only has one chance to win. Conversely, you can incentivize customer behaviors by providing them with more entries based on how often they visit your restaurant, how much they spend, visiting on slower days of the week or during slower hours, buying certain menu items or engaging in other desired customer behaviors.

4. Prize-Vies: You Win When Contestants Battle It Out

A contest where people enter by voting on line (such as voting for their favorite menu item, the menu item they would most like to see added to your menu, best looking dish or some other preference) can help you swell the number of names in your email and mobile marketing contact lists as well as the numbers of local patrons following your restaurant on social networks.

To maximize short and long term gains with a vote-based contest, set your contest up with an internet gateway which allows you to collect contact information or requires that someone “likes” your Facebook page in order to enter or vote.

5. Don’t Forget to Prize-Publicize

No one wants to run a contest that flops; whatever contests or drawing you ultimately decide to run to promote your restaurant, publicizing your contest in advance, during and afterward is critical for getting the highest return on your investment of time and resources.

If you let people vote in your contest or enter online, be sure that there’s an automatic share or an option for them to share out their participation status on social networks. This is a great way for people to let other local friends, family and co-workers know about the contest or drawing so they can enter (or vote for a specific entry).

When the contest is over, make sure you plan for a photo op and get a quote from the winner/s to use on social networks, in press releases and on your website.

You might also like: 5 Positive Restaurant First Impressions that Will Bring First-Timers Back


Did you know? You can marry your restaurant’s credit card processing POS solution to your loyalty marketing strategies. Following up with new customers with automated and personalized email marketing could turn that first timer into a long time fan. Reach out to us to find out how it works:

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Getting good restaurant word of mouth remains an essential part of any restaurant marketing plan regardless of marketing channel. Here are three restaurant marketing strategies that can get people talking about your business.

Capitalizing on Restaurant Trends Could Be the Key to Word of Mouth

Thanks to the current economy, the outlook for the restaurant industry is better now than it has been for several years. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant industry revenues were $825 billion last year. For restaurant owners looking for growth, conditions are very promising; the trick is getting those customers through the door. Whether it happens online or off, generating restaurant word of mouth through personal recommendations and rave reviews remains one of the most powerful referral tactics for restaurant marketing.

Restaurants with positive word of mouth often grow more quickly and become more profitable; perhaps more so than nearly any other type of business. Since eating out is often a social event, and many people like to try new restaurants as well as visit their favorites on a regular basis, an effective word of mouth restaurant marketing strategy could be the key to growing or expanding your business.

3 Ideas to Fuel a Restaurant Word of Mouth Marketing Plan

Give them Something to Talk About

Thanks to popular food shows like Man vs. Food that feature famous local restaurants with eating contests from most fiery to max quantities, today’s foodies are often on the prowl for local independent eateries to visit in their home towns or on road trips. Once they have conquered your restaurant’s food challenge, they are more than happy to share their experience with their closest friends and loved ones as well as the thousands of complete strangers their posts reach on review sites and social networks. Jump on this trend by creating a one-of-a-kind restaurant menu specialty item, giving patrons a food challenge, or sponsoring an eating contest of some kind.

Give Love to the Locals

Sourcing local ingredients has been among the top restaurant industry trends for the past few years, making it a trend that is not likely to fade away soon. In fact, as more and more consumers express curiosity and concern for what goes into the food they consume, this restaurant trend will only increase in importance. To take advantage of this trend, make sure that you are actually telling your customers about local ingredients you source and the local vendors, markets and suppliers you do business with.

Sourcing local ingredients is only one component of “local” that your customers may care about. For instance, local customers may be happy to find out how their support of your restaurant translates into economic benefits for the local economy including job creation and livable wages. They may be gratified to business with you when they know about the give-back programs and projects that your restaurant supports in the local community. You can even solicit their ideas and feedback relative to local causes they would want to help support or vendors and suppliers that might be of interest to your restaurant. The more engaged patrons feel with your brand and its values, the more likely they are to identify with your brand online and in person through word of mouth marketing and referrals.

Give the Nod to a Niche Market

Today’s consumers are in the habit of expressing themselves online and identifying with causes and businesses that reflect their lifestyles, values and worldviews. The more that people in your community that fall within your ideal customer types or general target markets see their own interests and preferences reflected in your restaurant’s menu, approach to service and brand values, the more likely they are to visit and refer like-minded friends, co-workers or loved ones your way.

This concept also extends to your restaurant’s décor. In particular, if you are considering renovating a restaurant or building out a new restaurant location, the ambiance that you create can – in and of itself – provide fodder for word of mouth marketing. Analyze the news feed on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and other popular social networks and you will quickly find that the selfie generation is more than willing to tag themselves on your restaurant’s WiFi and take photos of your restaurant’s interior and entrees to share with everyone they know online.

You might also like: 4 Ways to Improve Restaurant Cash Flow – even busy restaurants can have cash flow challenges. Here are four ways to improve restaurant cash flow – without raising restaurant menu prices – so that you can become more profitable or grow your business faster.

The new car sales boom of the mid 2010’s means a lot of car owners have vehicles that might be needing service and repairs right now. Here are nine promotion ideas for automotive businesses.

New promotion ideas for auto service, repair and parts stores.

New car sales rose to pre-recession levels in August 2013, even ahead of the job-creating economic recovery that took hold after the 2016 election. That new car sales boom means a lot of people have 5 and 6 year old vehicles, automobiles that tend to need more service and repairs than newer models.

Now is the perfect time to come up with new promotion ideas to position your auto service, repair, parts or auto accessory store to be able to take advantage of demand for auto services. Here are nine marketing ideas that can put your auto service, auto repair, or auto parts and accessory business into growth mode.

9 Promotion Ideas to Grow an Auto Service, Repair or Parts Business

1. Network like crazy – even with competitors! Establishing even one strategic partnership with a dealership or by getting word of mouth referrals from salespeople at a new car dealership can put your auto service or repair business into position to gain scores of customer vehicles for regular maintenance, repairs or recalls.

2. Let local dealerships know you’re willing to take on overflow business or perform services or repairs when they are not profitable for them (and your business could be).

3. Do the work necessary to become officially-sanctioned by insurance companies for auto repairs, services or recall work.

4. Don’t wait for customers in need to come to you! Establish and maintain educational communications if you want to “be there” when customers need you. Focus time and resources on your website, email newsletters and social networks as well as periodic direct mail and traditional ad placements.

5. US consumers will accessorize and personalize just about anything! Cater to the enthusiasm of new car owners by selling and promoting innovative add-ons and personalized or unique car accessories.

6. Create a pre-paid or bundled package of services tailored just for new car owners (or owners of aging vehicles).

7. Provide free spot-checks of vehicle systems, especially for the owners of older cars or the owners of the vehicles your auto service business is best-suited to serve.

8. Live in a state with emissions or other vehicle compliance regulations? Offer a free spot-test or emission-prep service to vehicle owners before they go to the state testing facility.

9. Optimize your website, blog and other digital real estate. Consumers research local business options – including auto service, auto repair, and auto parts and accessory stores online before calling for an appointment or going to a brick and mortar location. It is vital that your website is properly optimized with the right keywords and phrases – the phrases your ideal buyer types would be using to find a business like yours online. And it is equally important that you have a website optimized for mobile search, especially if your business is one that someone would be searching for on – or off to the side of – the road!

You might also like: 6 Marketing Ideas for Auto Repair and Service Businesses

If you’ve been asked to plan a company event and don’t know where to start; keep calm and master these six basics of business event planning  written especially for first-timers.

Six Basics First-Timers Should Know About Business Event Planning

Virtual events and digital marketing channels haven’t replaced in-person events in the business marketer’s playbook, only enhanced them. According to 35 Statistics Every Event Marketing Should Know (EventFarm.com):

  • Tradeshows and events are the second most effective tactic in a marketer’s mix, after their company website (Forrester)
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the event industry will grow by 44% from 2010 to 2020
  • 79% of U.S. marketers say they generate sales using event marketing (Statista)
  • 87% of consumers say they purchased a brands products or services after (and as a result of) becoming aware of it at an event (eventmarketing.com)
  • 76% of marketers say their event and experiential marketing initiatives are integrated with their other marketing campaigns. (EventTrack)

With statistics like these, small wonder that the vast majority of marketers say they plan to increase their event budget this year. It’s estimated that brands spend 20-25% of the marketing budget on events and related expenses.

If you’re adding events to the marketing mix for the first time, one thing you will quickly learn is that there are many variables and details that need to be worked out if your event is going to be a success. Here are six musts for business event planning that can help you keep calm and plan events that will deliver a marketing ROI (return on investment).

6 Basics of Business Event Planning for First Timers

1. What do you want to accomplish?

Understanding the objective for the event will play a part in determining nearly every other facet of your event; including:

  • Where to hold the event – the location (hotel conference or meeting room, convention center, co-working space, restaurant, etc.) that will be conducive to creating the feel or environment you want attendees to have (team structured learning, formal dinners, access to beaches, close to city for dinning or attractions, outdoor team events, etc.).
  • How many people to invite or how many you want (or need) to attend for an event to be successful
  • When to hold the event – your event’s timing should validate your agenda and coincide with the environment you are trying to convey and you should keep in mind that it may also affect event costs. Events held during tourist season may be considerably more expensive; however, the benefit of increased attendance could offset the additional costs.

2. How much do you want to spend?

Setting a budget is important for many reasons. Absence of a budget may result in costs getting out of hand or exceeding benefits. Without a budget you may also run the risk of finding you can’t pay for the event you need to help you grow your business.

Smartsheet.com is a great resource where you can find various templates, including event registration forms, planners and budget templates that can help you with event planning. Whether you use a template or not, as you work toward your event and analyze it afterward, your final budget report should have two columns for each line item that reflect estimated costs and actual costs.

Tracking your budget at every step can help you stay on track in terms of resources consumed and will also help you with forecasting for future events. As you’re creating the budget add a line for very detail that is associated with a dollar amount. You can always go back and delete a line item later if it’s not needed. As well with all events, nothing goes according to plan; therefore it’s important to add a line item “emergency fund” which is 10% of the total budget. This will allow you to make a last minute purchase and not be stressed about where the funds are coming from.

3. How will you pay for the event?

Our business cash advances could be an ideal solution for financing marketing events that will help you grow your business more quickly. Ask us for a free, no-obligation event or marketing financing proposal by applying online .

If you planned ahead, you may have money in the budget already designated for your event. In some cases, registration fees will cover or even produce a profit when offset against event expenses, although it is likely that you will have to be prepared to pay most vendors and venues before all registration fees have been collected.

4. What will be on the agenda?

As it relates to business event planning, an agenda is the timeline that says what should be happening at any given time throughout the event. Having two versions of your timeline, a detailed version and an overview will be helpful; some of the people involved in planning and executing the event will need a detailed schedule while the overview schedule will be sufficient for others who are less involved (or who are merely attendees).

The detailed timeline will include: location, dates, and will account for every minute broken down per segment, name of participants within each segment, audio visual needs, audience participation pieces, food, staging, and so on. An overview timeline will still account for all of the event time but will be more general in nature, perhaps including items such as location, dates, segment titles and presenter names, meals, breaks, etc.

Inevitably, during the planning phases of your event, you will go through multiple drafts of both version, right up until the event begins. That’s okay; just make sure all parties involved have access to the most recent or final agendas.

5. Who will have a role to play?

It’s common to have multiple vendors and speakers involved in an event. Having a way to keep track of each group, their emergency contact information, copies of order details and contracts all in one place will make it easier to locate when reviewing information. Given today’s digital capabilities, everyone on your team who needs this level of detail could have access via smartphone or tablet throughout the event. setting up electronic folders per vendor plus a hard copy in a binder with dividers will allow for greater organization and help to eliminate any confusion. It’s crucial to highlight all due dates and payment on all documents within your folders, as well within your budget program or spreadsheet as you are viewing this particular document on a regular basis.

6. How will you get the word out?

When business event planning, ensuring sufficient time to execute the marketing needed to reach your desired target audience effectively is a must. As you work backwards to plan your event timeline, plan your marketing strategy by working backward from the actual event date using a 12 months, 6 months, 90 day, 30 day, 14-day, 7-day and pre-event week communication plan.

You might be able to use your credit card processing software to add event information to customer receipts and invoices. Likewise, you may be able to generated automated email marketing invitations to your event using your point-of-sale credit card processing solution. Seamless merchant services products like these make it easy to store customer contacts and reach out to them with event invitations, special offers, discounts and other brand communications.

Online programs like Eventbrite make it easy to set up a web-based event registration form in conjunction with business events. In addition to online registration, you will also want to decide whether you need to send email alerts, post cards or formal invitations to boost RSVPs and attendance – and each of these marketing tactics will need to be scheduled strategically as part of your overall event marketing and communication plan.

Once an attendee is registered, your communication plan should account for email confirmations, links to hotel or travel resources and you should plan to send a copy of the tentative agenda to registered guests shortly before the actual event. The more you stay in communication with those who register to attend, the less likely you are to have attendees drop out for no reason. Plus, keeping in communication just before the event can be a great way to get attendees to tweet out updates with your event or brand hashtag, manage expectations, create a sense of anticipation and set the stage for what you want to happen during the event.

Ready for more fascinating marketing and event stats that can help with business event planning? Check out this great slideshare from Hubspot:

Though franchise businesses often benefit from marketing done by parent organizations, local franchise marketing strategies can enhance customer acquisition, engagement, relationships and loyalty even more.

A franchise parent company’s national marketing efforts may create significant brand awareness; however, the traits that local consumers look for in a business aren’t conveyed in national marketing, they can only be communicated at the local level. These local franchise marketing strategies can help you connect with local consumers on top of the marketing done at the national level by your franchise business’ parent company.

4 Local Franchise Marketing Strategies Enhance Parent Company Support

1. Local Word of Mouth Marketing for Franchise Businesses

Reviews are the new word of mouth; 9 out of ten consumers trust them as much as personal recommendations. Ensuring that your franchise location is getting reviews from local consumers on Yelp, Facebook, Google and similar review sites tells local residents that your location follows through on the promises made in the franchise’s national marketing campaigns.

Your franchise word of mouth marketing strategy can also be enhanced through your involvement in the community through give-back programs and by participating in local business networking, Chamber of Commerce and similar groups. If you have space to host a business or networking group, your franchise location could benefit even more by bringing likely customers and likely word of mouth referrers into your business on a regular basis.

2. Local Social Media Marketing for Franchise Businesses

Your franchise’s parent company may have national social media profile pages; however, that does little to help your franchise location connect with members of your local target market. If your parent company offers the opportunity to create branch pages, make sure that you are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Local residents may be aware of your franchise’s national brand, but that doesn’t mean they are aware of your location. Use the best practices that any small business would use on social networks for your franchise business location’s social media page, including hyper-local targeting of sponsored posts and ads.

3. Personal, Personalized Email Marketing for Franchise Businesses

Assuming your franchise organization doesn’t prohibit email marketing at the local level, your franchise business can use email marketing to put a personal spin on your franchise location, even for the most well-known of franchise brands. Using your email marketing to highlight team members, talk about community activities and tell local customer’s stories bring your location’s marketing down to the local level. Personalizing emails with offers and information specifically relevant to people who live in geographic area is another great way to put a personal touch on a national brand.

You may be able to use your point of sale credit card processing solution to collect customer emails at each transaction by offering to send a receipt via email (rather than print) or subscribing the customer up for future sales, discounts and loyalty programs.

4. Loyalty and Retention Marketing for Franchise Businesses

Loyalty and retention is another area that national brand marketing activities have little ability to influence, since it begins and ends with the customer experience. Likewise, your parent company may have a loyalty or rewards program, but if your franchise location is not actively promoting its use with local residents, its ability to influence your customers to come back or make personal referrals may render these programs completely ineffective.

Here, again, is where your payment transaction credit card processing equipment and software can help you grow. When customers receive loyalty rewards or points automatically every time they make a purchase, they perceive increased value in choosing to do business with you over other local competitors.

Strengthen Parent Company Marketing Activities with 4 Local Franchise Marketing Strategies

The International Franchise Association (IFA) Franchise Business Economic Outlook  projects another good year of economic growth for the franchise industry. The sectors growing the most among franchise businesses include:

  • personal services
  • lodging and accommodations
  • business services
  • quick-service restaurants
  • retail products and services
  • commercial and residential services

With an outlook for growth and the marketing support provided as an inherent benefit enjoyed by most franchise business owners, your franchise stands to benefit even more if you add local franchise marketing strategies to the mix, because local marketing gives members of your target audience what they say they want most in relationships with local businesses:

  • 86% – customer service, customer-focused
  • 84% – personal, intimate, human, face-to-face
  • 84% – knows the customer and their needs
  • 84% – easy to do business with
  • 83% – local, close by and convenient
  • 82% – reliable, consistent, there when you need them
  • 81% – owner-operated, committed, accountable

(Source: Web.com and Toluna, “Consumer and Small Business Perception Survey”)


Mobile marketing has come a long way, and it isn’t about to slow down. Big-name businesses are spinning new strategies, creating new approaches and redefining the consumer’s accessibility options; here are seven takeaways for your mobile marketing app.

Invigorate Your Mobile Marketing App with Seven Distinct Strategies

More than 5 billion of the 7 billion people on earth own a smartphone. Mobile marketing strategies are benefiting from the sheer number of consumer users, and your strategy needn’t be contingent on last year’s biggest booms. Don’t wait; take advantage of these seven crucial strategies for a mobile marketing app.

7 Sure-fire Mobile Marketing App Strategies

Strategy One: Narrow the Buying Process

Consumers like quick, easy buying. Mobile devices, fortunately, have enabled a world capable of providing such services. Unfortunately, mobile marketers have mere minutes to entice buyers. If you can ignite calls-to-action quickly, however, you’re in luck.

48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine.

Because 48 percent of consumers start mobile research with a search engine, your mobile marketing app strategies only need to offer visual presentation and conducive offers. They should, however, engage customers quickly, help them achieve their destination, and repurpose old marketing approaches with information-packed menus and media.

Strategy Two: Target Browsing Behavior

Browsing behavior is the fuel source for everything mobile. Lightning-quick load times and plenty of multimedia won’t be impactful if behavior isn’t cataloged and implemented. Browsing behavior streamlines future company actions. It assists website loads while enhancing your SMS strategies, too.

Use analytical tools to garner user information, and serve mobile customers on their terms. The future of mobile marketing is one of prioritized customization and personalization. Don’t fall by the wayside as other providers step in to offer buyer-specific exclusives.

Strategy Three: Tweak Your Advertising Via Email

Your email marketing campaign should be conjoined with your mobile marketing strategy. Every marketing effort, every partnership, every sale and every consumer is intimately linked to your brand’s outward appearance. Email marketing should be at your strategy’s forefront.

Direct email marketing campaigns gain much from strategic mobile marketing campaigns, too. Your mobile email marketing strategy is capable of delivering ads in unique form, generating off-platform hype through an extension of your brand’s innermost ideals.

Be careful, though, because mobile platforms aren’t friendly to drawn-out emails with bulky messages. Make sure your messages are tight, and make offers clear immediately. A big chunk of mobile users delete messages before opening them, so it’s important to avoid “being a statistic.”

You might also like: 10 Tips for Effective Restaurant Email and SMS Marketing

Strategy Four: Reevaluate Your SMS Strategy

Currently, 98 percent of text messages are read within minutes of receipt. SMS marketing is one of the business world’s biggest resources, and it’s capable of pumping mass information across wide channels.

98% of text messages are read within minutes of receipt.

Your SMS strategy must be watertight to succeed, though. Don’t use bulk SMS platforms without first segmenting your audience. Moreover, make sure your message content is accessible to the consumer. Consider big-name data plans, like Apple’s. Make sure all content, all images and all links pass through pre-defined industry barriers.

Strategy Five: Swap Conversion for Engagement

Typically, mobile devices carry lower conversion rates than other platforms. They do, however, carry incredibly high conversion and bounce rates. When compared to desktop marketing efforts, mobile-based solutions tend to sacrifice navigation for in-store offers and location-specific services. Don’t play the game until you’ve studied the field. Convert consumers on your website, and communicate with them via text.

Strategy Six: Measure Cross-Platform Data

Cross-platform data is different from buyer behavior, but it serves the same end. Mobile monetization is huge this year, and half of e-commerce traffic is achieved via mobile platforms. When your consumers leave your e-commerce platform—follow them!

Because you’re prioritizing communication on mobile, cleaning up the “spare parts of conversion” requires intensive reasoning and data gathering. Mobile is an asset, but so are your web pages, social media pages, messaging platforms and feedback forums. Don’t let them go to waste.

Strategy Seven: Implement Media

Media rules the business world’s roadside now. Because smartphones are getting smarter, quicker and stronger, multimedia marketing schemes are thriving. Your mobile marketing strategy needs such resources, so you should be engaging YouTube videos, Vines, Twitter-hosted comments and other social media features.

Many consumers access media through apps, too, so remember to implement app accessibility, brand specials and mobile hotspots to please your customers. Overall, keep your consumer engaged. They’re constantly connected already, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.