MARKETING & ADVERTISING • April 30, 2015
2 minutes Read
By Gene Marks
Small business influencer Gene Marks is a guest blogger for CAN Capital. He is a celebrated author, columnist and small business owner.
Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day. So here’s a suggestion: give her a free meal.
That’s right, free. People love free stuff. And businesses don’t give away enough free stuff. And that’s always made me wonder. It’s not that expensive to do so, and it’s a great way to bring in more business. This is something you should do. I do it.
I give away free stuff.
For example, I own a timeshare in Hawaii that I’ve never visited. I bought it for about $5K seven years ago. Each year I trade it in (timeshare services let you do that) for a week in either Vegas or Orlando. And then I give one week away. Some years I’ve given to customers. Other times to employees. A few times to charities for silent auctions. Maybe some day I will actually go there! But besides the initial investment, the time share costs me just a few hundred bucks a year. And the ROI from the goodwill and publicity has been enormous. I have some clients who give away free gift cards. I have others who make it a point to trade in their credit card points or frequent flier miles for gifts that they also give away. One client of mine sends a free box of chocolates to a random customer every month. It’s inexpensive. And people love getting free stuff.
Which brings me back to Mother’s Day. Everywhere I look I see restaurants advertising Mother’s Day specials. “Visit us for brunch on Mother’s Day” says one. “Your mom shouldn’t be cooking on Mother’s Day” says another. They’re all competing against each other with basically the same message, which is basically “celebrate Mother’s Day here because…why not?” And they’re missing an opportunity.
Instead of the same, bland Mother’s Day message, how about REALLY honoring mom? Treat her to a free meal. She works hard all year. She puts up with a lot of nonsense. Doesn’t she deserve a free brunch? And how much does this really cost you, the restaurant owner? It’s not as if she’s going to clean out your refrigerator. Maybe you’re out of pocket ten bucks on average for the typical breakfast. You’ll make it up by the extra customers lined outside your door. You can turn this into a great promotional campaign. You can get more attention for your restaurant the rest of the year because you’re feeding moms for free. It’s a gimmick. But then again, so is all marketing.
So this Mother’s Day, think about doing something different. Really different. Put your money where your mouth is. Treat mom to a free meal. It’s a nice thing to do. And it’s a potentially profitable thing to do, too.
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