Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Business and Operations Marketing
Tips for marketing like a master


Another Pizza Expo has come and gone. If you couldn’t make it down to
Las Vegas this year, or if there was simply so much to see and do that
you couldn’t attend every seminar, read on. Canadian Pizza magazine was
there, and we’ve brought back lots of tips and tricks from masters of
the trade.

Another Pizza Expo has come and gone. If you couldn’t make it down to Las Vegas this year, or if there was simply so much to see and do that you couldn’t attend every seminar, read on. Canadian Pizza magazine was there, and we’ve brought back lots of tips and tricks from masters of the trade.

Here are some great take-away tips to help market your pizzeria.

Community marketing
During this 90-minute seminar, Scott Anthony, owner of Fox’s Pizza Den in Punxsutawney, Penn., opened up the floor, inviting a select group of operators to share their stories. Throughout the session, successes and struggles highlighted the importance of carefully planning a community marketing campaign. Here are a few highlights to help make your community initiative a success:

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  • Be caught doing good. Promoting your good deeds can lead to a perception that you’re simply trying to gain media attention.
  • Be sensitive to the challenges facing your community, and how they change over time. A fundraiser to benefit a local sports team may usually be a popular event, but in tough economic times, members of a struggling community may view the local food bank as a more worthy cause. You can’t please everyone all the time, but if you really listen to your community, you’ll find you can please most people most of the time.
  • Develop a system for handling requests from groups that want to work with your pizzeria. Having a system in place can streamline how these requests are handled and empower staff to deal with requests that arise in your absence.

Viral marketing
“Big Dave” Ostrander, owner of Big Dave’s Pizza and Subs in Oscoda, Mich., and author of several books about operating a restaurant, offered the following suggestions to run a successful viral marketing campaign.

  • There are two types of viral marketing: word of mouth and face to face, and online. Like a successful online viral marketing campaign, a successful word-of-mouth campaign requires a unique selling proposition to anchor your marketing in a customer’s brain.
  • A memorable logo is an important tool in viral marketing. If you were to send an envelope with your logo but no address through the mail, would that envelope come back to you? According to Ostrander, if you’ve got a good logo that people strongly associate with your brand, it just might.
  • Show your customers how much you appreciate them in unexpected ways that encourage them to spread the word. One night Big Dave’s gave customers their orders for free. Suppliers offered product samples timed to coincide with the special night and all staff worked exclusively for tips. The unadvertised event was a big hit. Surprised customers spread the word to friends and family, driving new customers to the restaurant and making Big Dave’s the talk of the town for years to come.

Internet and social media
Joel Cohen, a restaurant marketing expert and founder of Cohen Restaurant Marketing Group, offered these tips to make the most of the online and social media tools in your marketing mix.

  • Guests visiting your web page want to see your address, a map of your location, operating hours, an e-mail address to contact you, your phone number listed on every page of your site, and an up-to-date, downloadable PDF menu. Things they don’t want to see include Flash intros, stock images, hard-to-read fonts, clashing colours or site meters that track how many visitors have come before them. Guests also prefer websites that avoid looping audio.
  • Many popular search engines look for geographical content when generating search results. Google Places returns a list of local search results before generating the actual search results. Bing and Yahoo! also use geographical information to generate hits. Help search engines find your site by including address information in your site’s title tag, giving directions to your pizzeria from major landmarks, and embedding a map on your site that shows where your pizzeria is located. You can even use tools like the website www.geo-tag.de to insert a geographical metatag on every page of your site.
  • A 2010 study by the marketing firm Hubspot found that morning is the best time to send e-mail. This is when people tend to be checking their messages, and click through rates are at their highest. The best day to send e-mail is Saturday; people are less pressured to get through the mail in their inboxes and more likely to actually read your messages and visit any links indicated. The worst days to send e-mail are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On these days, message recipients are the most likely to unsubscribe from a mailing list. 
  • Develop a comprehensive social media marketing plan that will offer customers something of value. Establish a voice and personality for your brand, and then deploy it across your entire campaign. Link between your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages to drive traffic to the various components of your online marketing campaign and build brand awareness in your community.