Terry Black, owner of Jimmy and Joe's Pizza (2 locations in Mesa and Chandler AZ) has a passion for his product and connecting to his community. We chatted with him about how his marketing strategy has helped build up an enormously loyal customer base over the 5 years they've been in business. One tool he can't do without: GRS SalesBuilder, an automated customer loyalty solution that powers his VIP Rewards Club.
The Customer Connection: "We've got over 6000 customers in our VIP club and what I love about it is that it really does make customers feel like VIPs. It's like a cult following - they feel they belong. We're constantly in touch with them, of course with the birthday, half birthday, "Miss you" type automatic emails that SalesBuilder does, and sending them rewards (like frequent flier miles) for their purchases. Customers love it. We've got Double Points on Monday, which really helps drive traffic on a slower day. I feel you have to constantly work to keep your customers as customers - and SalesBuilder does that work for us - automatically.
Customer Involvement: We also like to get the customers involved in the marketing. We send out through SalesBuilder a monthly newsletter that features customer photos from our "Wear a Jimmy & Joe's t-shirt" contest, for instance - and we've had customers send pictures skydiving, scuba diving, even a video of a student sending our t-shirt up in a weather balloon.
The Personal Touch: We really like to personalize the business. We'll share our vacation photos in our newsletter, and every year we have "Jimmy's Birthday" where we give away a "Buy One Get One 'Big Jimmy' Pizza". All of this makes us really connected to customers. I'm amazed when I meet a customer out in public and it's like Rock Star status - they are so excited to meet one of the owners of the shop. Our VIP Club has really helped to create raving fans.
Precision Business Boost: "With the broadcast e-mail and texting functions in SalesBuilder, I can precisely drive business when its needed. If it's a slow afternoon, I'll send a text offering "Buy a slice, get a free cookie from 2-4 pm" Boom, I take a $50 hour and turn it into a $200 hour. If it's a slow night, I can send out a promotion to our VIP customers and get a Friday on a Wednesday. If you can get 2 "Fridays" in a week in the pizza business, that's great news.
Stop the Presses: "We've stopped all print coupon advertising. I can advertise free to my network of customers through SalesBuilder. The money I used to spend on advertising - $2,000 - $4,000 - is money in my pocket now.
New Customers Daily: "You've always got to keep attracting new customers to replenish the attrition that will happen in your customer base. I do it very simply - I am never without 20 - 40 "Free Slice" coupons in my pocket. Now this is a "Big Jimmy" slice - New York style - from a 24" pizza, so it's a good value. Everywhere I go, I give them away - at the gas station, the grocery store, the hair salon. It brings people in and gets them to try us. You could do a free appetizer, free dessert, or anything that works for your menu. People love it that they've met the owner and 'discovered' a neighborhood pizzeria.
Back To High School: "My favorite customer base to target is the high school kids. They eat pizza 3 times a week and have more disposable income than any of us. We're about to kick off our twitter strategy and my goal is to get 500 students right away. We're giving away 500 Jimmy and Joe's backpacks to followers. We'll do some promotions at high school football games - first 20 people to tweet back get a free pizza, or entered to win tickets to a baseball game, that sort of thing. I think it will be tremendously successful.
Getting Social: "We've already got nearly 3000 followers on FaceBook, and this is another great way to connect with our customers directly. We're looking forward to implementing the new social media connection with SalesBuilder, so we can invite rewards members to earn bonus points for connecting with us and sharing on Facebook.
Quality of Life: "My goal is to step away from the business - to hire great people but to be able to personally work 'on the business' not 'in the business'. That's what gives me a quality lifestyle - I'm not a slave to the restaurant. SalesBuilder helps me with that by automating my marketing so I don't have to worry about it every day. That, combined with the whole package of POS, online ordering, and mobile ordering from Granbury - is unbeatable.
"We've got a good product and a good reputation - that's part of who we are. But keeping people connected regularly to the business is important - it keeps them from looking around at other pizzerias or chasing the latest coupon offer. They don't even think about going elsewhere, because they're VIP members with Jimmy and Joe's.