Build a Loyal Customer Base by Offering Freebies
3 Min Read By Michael Plummer, Jr.
A 10-percent discount for a local restaurant is of course appreciated, but when looking to grab the attention of new customers – offering free food via direct mail has proven to be a more effective strategy.
Benefits of Freebies
Everyone enjoys getting things for free. Whether it’s a side of fries, a bread basket, or a birthday dinner, the psychology of freebies is innate. Free food leverages the principle of reciprocity: when someone gives you something, you usually feel obligated to provide a benefit in return. A free meal helps create lifelong customers. Nearly 65 percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and 43 percent of customers spend more money at businesses they frequent regularly.
Discounts can briefly generate an increase in sales, but they generally attract bargain hunters who will turn to another brand at the first sign of a better deal. Offering strategic freebies helps form relationships and delivers real value. A freebie is an easy way to improve customer service and form a loyal relationship with a customer. It’s also a great tool to highlight new menu items and products.
Customers expect great customer service; retention is significantly less expensive than having to continuously add new customers. At least 88% of customers have higher customer service expectations than in the past, according to a survey conducted by Hubspot.
Direct Mail Freebies Reach Targets
Sending free offers via direct mail is an efficient way to reach your customer demographic. You can blanket a zip code or send the message straight to existing customers.
Many companies rely on email to reach existing customers. While email can be effective, it often gets lost in the shuffle. In 2023, experts predict 347.3 billion emails will be sent and received each day, according to Statista. The average American worker spends 28 percent of their time managing their email inbox, McKinsey & Company reports.
When you combine email with other electronic forms of communication, such as texting and instant messaging, it’s no wonder Americans are suffering from communication overload. Postcards are a tangible token people still appreciate in our digital world.
New Mover Marketing Relies on Freebies
New mover marketing relies on reciprocity to help small businesses add loyal customers by using direct mail to reach new households before they form relationships with competitors. Nearly 27.1 million people moved in 2021, and trends indicate a growing number of people are making long-distance moves. The National Association of Realtorstracks migration. They revealed people are leaving California, New York and Illinois for warmer climates, such as Florida, Texas and the Carolinas.
Amidst the chaos of unpacking boxes and turning their new houses into homes, they must form new routines and try out local businesses. New residents are crunched for time and searching for ways to lighten the load as they adjust to their new location. A direct mail gift certificate is a welcome gesture they won’t forget.
Loyalty Programs Add Value
Provide a solid customer service experience and deliver a great product to drive repeat visits.
To help generate repeat business, restaurants should consider offering a loyalty program for valued customers. Loyalty programs vary, depending on the type of food you serve. A coffee shop may offer free coffee after six visits. A pizza delivery location might add a medium one-topping pizza for free if you opt for carryout. Some upscale eateries gift a free birthday meal to regular customers so they can be part of someone’s special day.
You even have the option of running a supplemental digital marketing campaign to both the new movers in your list as well as additional consumers in your desired geographical region. Take steps to create a marketing strategy that includes offering freebies. It will help you add new customers and ensure the goodwill of your regular diners.