A slow first week can be pretty disheartening, which is why brands spend so much on marketing those first days and weeks with soft launches, friends and family events, and free food for everyone willing to show up. It’s anything and everything to launch successfully.
The efforts at the breakfast and lunch concept Broken Yolk bring in hundreds of people on day one by getting active on social media long before a location actually opens. That pre-store marketing is one thing that Vice President of Franchise Development Valerie McCartney sees as one of the most valuable parts of the company’s digital marketing efforts. The marketing prowess is something she and the rest of the management team brought along from former lives.
“Having come from much larger brands, I think the sophistication of our digital marketing is pretty high,” said McCartney during the 2019 Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference.
She said six months before opening a location, the marketing team creates a Facebook page. That gets the diehard Broken Yolk fans excited and talking, but it also serves as a marketing touchpoint for creating the next brand ambassadors in the surrounding market.
“Six months out we build the page, and we get people who say, ‘Oh I can’t wait,’” said McCartney. “But the way we build brand ambassadors, we send them very targeted ads. By the time we open, we usually have 500 to 600 people and we invite them to our soft openings.”
That ensures a whole lot of people are in the marketing mix, but to further integrate those people into the restaurant, she says there’s an additional little trick. All of those hundreds of pre-opening fans are invited to the soft opening, but there’s a catch: To attend the soft opening they each need to give up an email address. Now, those excited fans are plugged into the loyalty program at the same time.
“The beauty is then they’re mine, we’ve taken them off of Facebook. When they opt in, we slot them into a seating for the soft opening, but also we get their email address,” said McCartney. “So we build in some loyalty early on—we start with a marketing ecosystem.”
When they show up, she said she simply hands over their loyalty card and they’re off to a free breakfast. So within a few minutes in the new restaurant, she has as a registered loyalty customer that’s riding high on a bunch of free breakfast. There might not be a more ideal brand ambassador than someone who is plugged in, well fed and needs to come back a few times to get their free muffin.