Localized Marketing for Restaurants: Best Practices and Best Results

According to one study, the average distance diners travel from their home for a sit-down restaurant meal is 3.3 miles. Do you have a local restaurant that you tend to favor? Most people do.

Because of this human tendency, restaurant operators find the best results when putting their marketing dollars to work locally. So let’s look at a few of the platforms and technology that local marketers turn to.

Google 3-Pack

Search “restaurants near me” and up pops the Google 3-Pack—the top three results of a local search. Getting your restaurant into those top three spots ensures increased visibility, customer awareness, and guests.

Nudging your way into these three prime spots can be challenging, but it is possible. Here are a few of the proven techniques.

  • Prioritizing Local Seo: In addition to using keyword-rich details throughout your digital profiles and platforms, create localized, authentic, searched-for content. You can post this on your website blog, local business pages, and social sites. Getting reviews for your business and claiming internet profiles help distinguish you as a relevant, prominent, and trustworthy restaurant in a specific location.
  • Google My Business: This free tool lets you promote your business profile and website on Google Search and Maps. Be sure to keep your profile updated with current information, website, new photos, and special offers. Encourage customer engagement by responding to reviews and interacting via the customer’s tab. It also autogenerates a simple, professional website, which you can link to your already existing website. In addition to increasing visibility, business profiles also help your SEO ranking.

Facebook Ads

The key to advertising success using this mega-popular social platform is creating ads based on your target market’s profile, demographics, and location. You can target current customers with special offers, website visitors that haven’t developed into brand-loyal guests yet, and people that connected with you on Facebook but have not made it into your restaurant. Facebook Lookalike Audiences targets people that “look like” your buyer personas or your most loyal guests.

For example, if you’re a sports pub and grill serving 30 different craft beers, your buyer persona may appear as a man, age 25-50, who visits a beer-related page on Facebook and lives five miles from your restaurant.

Build Online Reputation

Some restaurants shy away from sites like Yelp, knowing the damage one bad review can create. Without an account, however, guests still leave reviews regarding your restaurant. Therefore, it’s best to take a proactive stance and create a Yelp account. You can then provide great photos, correct operating hours, and a menu. Having an account may also move you towards more direct requests, asking happy and satisfied customers to leave a review, maybe in exchange for a beverage or dessert.

When you do receive a negative review, be sure to respond to it forthwith in a professional manner. Today’s challenging supply chain and labor pool environment can result in customers unsatisfied with service, wait times, or last-minute menu altercations. Don’t make excuses, but do let them know your current situation. Responding lets them and other potential guests know you care about their concerns and proactively address them.

Geo-Targeted Ads

Geo-targeted ads, or location-based ads, are offered by most digital advertising services, such as Facebook and Google Ads. This type of ad narrows down the target market, leading to more conversions and reducing market spend.

Geo-Fencing is hyper-localized location-based mobile advertising. Geo-fencing allows you to target specific population segments, such as a particular age group, number of children, or home value within a specific zip code. You can also target certain locations, like competitor restaurants, office buildings, and special event venues.

Customer Intelligence

As you can see, the key to localized marketing is targeting customers that will produce the best conversion rates and ROI. One successful tool on the market that helps you achieve this is Acutely’s Customer Intelligence Tool.

Using a restaurant’s POS data Acutely can determine your VIP, Core, and Infrequent customer profiles. Their proprietary custom model then targets your VIP and Core customers as well as look-alikes that visit your competitors and live locally. As mentioned, this form of targeted advertising significantly reduces market spend while increasing revenue.

The pandemic stirred longings for renewed social connections. Now’s the time to ensure you create a strong local presence and become the go-to restaurant for community events and occasions.

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