Your most important customers live or work within a 10 mile radius of your restaurant. And research shows 80 percent of consumer budgets are spent close to home. Even if you have a robust marketing plan in place with local media placements, you’re missing a critical opportunity if you don’t localize your marketing. Yes, it takes time, effort and money. But if you do it right, your sales numbers will prove it’s more than worth it.
True localized marketing should go beyond simply setting up ad targeting to the area closest to you. It should integrate content, outreach and strategies to weave your brand into the fabric of the local community. Some critical areas to keep in mind are listed below. The tactics themselves probably won’t be new to you, but the way you execute them should be.
Ad Content – While you’re likely already geo-targeting, consider localizing the content itself. Use local slang to grab attention. Tap into a local icons (locations, celebrities, sports teams) or a popular references (buildings, companies, city history, etc.) to cut through the ad clutter.
Events – This one requires some time and creativity. Once you identify the right events to be a part of, find a unique, memorable way to be there. Whether it’s a display, a mascot, a wildly creative giveaway, an interactive taste test, your mission is to be what people talk about in the car on the way home.
Local Business Partnerships – It seems simple enough but far too many restaurants overlook opportunities to stretch the budget and still create top of mind awareness through partnerships. The key is to put some up front effort into finding mutually beneficial opportunities. Local businesses generally don’t want to do you favors if there’s nothing in it for them. So be sure to reach out to businesses that have similar target audiences and propose a mutually beneficial plan.
Influencers – We all know the power of influencer marketing. You should always be aiming to work with strong online influencers with a large following. But consider narrowing your focus to go hyper-local, even if that means it’s just one or two online influencers you partner with. Think outside of the box. It doesn’t have to be a foodie; it could be a local lifestyle influencer. Or maybe it’s not an actual influencer at all. Maybe it’s a local college team in a college town that simply HAS influence.
Neighborhoods – Understand the local make up of area neighborhoods and explore ways to reach them with everything from a food truck to a block party to guerilla marketing and street teams in high traffic areas.
Community Involvement – Consumers have a strong affinity to local organizations; they also talk about them with their friends and family. Being a part of these organizations, helping to build the community, support fundraisers, etc. helps you become part of the fabric of the community.
The real key to restaurant marketing is thinking local and creating ways to connect with the restaurant goers that are already in your backyard. If you use the six strategies to localize your marketing listed above, you can capture those local restaurant consumers and start creating repeat customers.
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