Pizza is big business.
The market has reached $46 billion in the U.S. alone!
And with just under 77,000 individual pizzerias in this country, the competition is fierce.
The big chains are holding about 58% of the market, but that still leaves nearly $19 billion in sales for the independents out there!
But with so much competition, it can feel like you’re shouting into the void and no one is hearing you.
So I’ve put together a list of the 7 best pizza advertising ideas that you can use right now to increase awareness of your brand and boost your sales.
So let’s get started!
Bonus: Download the free PDF to access these 7 pizza advertising ideas any time!
1. Use Voicemail Drops
Voicemail drops, also known as ringless voicemail, are having a moment.
In a time when 95% of the population has a cell phone, it’s a sure-fire way to reach the people you’re after — in a non-invasive way.
Voicemail drops allow you to deposit a voice message right on your prospect’s phone without it ever ringing. That means you’re not interrupting their important meeting or family time with your call.
Voice drops let people listen to the voicemails in their own time. And they do, at a 96% listen rate!
That beats the open rate of pretty much any other marketing method.
How does it work?
To use voicemail drops, you’ll need to hire a third-party company to help you. Companies can charge as little as $0.01 per voicemail and as much as $0.20 per voicemail.
But one benefit of voice drops is that the charges are assessed per successful voicemail. There will be no charge for voicemails that aren’t able to be delivered due to an old or canceled number.
Once you’ve selected your company, you’ll need to upload a contact list. These will be the phone numbers of customers that have given you permission to contact them.
A great way to collect these numbers is to include a checkbox on your online ordering page. By leaving the box checked, customers will give you permission to call them to leave marketing messages.
I recommend that you don’t buy a call list, or send ringless voicemails to people who haven’t agreed to hear from you.
Although ringless voicemail used to be completely unregulated, some recent court decisions have ruled that they are subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). But the regulations regarding voicemail drops are still in their early stages.
To be safe, only reach out to people who have agreed to hear from you.
Or at the very least, make sure numbers on your list are not on the national Do Not Call registry. Your voicemail drop provider should be able to help you with this.
Once your contact list is uploaded, you can create your message.
Keep it concise — 30 seconds or less. And make sure to mention your restaurant name more than once, so they don’t miss it.
As for the message itself, what should you say?
Well, you could promote a deal for that evening, like a buy one, get two pizza special. If you don’t want to promote a discount, tell customers about a new menu item and your fast delivery service.
Just make sure to deliver it as though you’re talking to an actual person, rather than reading it off a card. If you sound stilted and rehearsed, your message will fall flat.
Once your voicemail is recorded, you’ll need to schedule it.
Because ringless voicemail can be checked at the recipient’s convenience, you don’t have to worry too much about the time of day.
But since pizza is a convenient and affordable “spur of the moment” dinner, think about when people are starting to make dinner decisions. A voicemail drop in the mid-afternoon is a great way to remind customers about your restaurant and give your business a boost.
And that’s it! Four simple steps can get your marketing messages delivered right to your customer’s phones, letting them listen at their leisure.
Make sure that whoever is monitoring the phones right after your voicemail drop knows that it’s happening.
Sometimes people will call the number back directly, without listening to the voicemail. You want the person who answers the phone to be aware of the content of the voicemail to prevent confusion.
2. Run a Chatbot Contest on Facebook
Chatbot contests are a fun way to “gamify” your marketing efforts. By integrating a contest with a chatbot, you’ll gain huge engagement on your Facebook page and earn new customers!
You can also use this system to gather useful contact information that you can later use to send out emails or SMS messages to potential customers.
Your chatbot contest will consist of four basic steps:
- Decide on a giveaway and set up your Facebook ad
- Set up your chatbot flow
- Integrate your chatbot with a place to store the contact information that you’ll collect during the giveaway
- Post your ad and watch the fireworks!
Let’s start at the beginning.
Your giveaway and your ad
To start, come up with a great giveaway.
Don’t bother with 25% off your next meal. This should be something really attractive, like a free slice of pizza every day for a month, or a date night for two.
There will only be one winner, so the cost won’t spiral out of control.
Next, you need to set up your Facebook ad.
There are three key components to your post:
- The image
- The copy
- The audience
We’ll consider each one at a time.
Your ad image needs to be eye-catching. You don’t want people to scroll by without stopping.
So choose one of your absolute best photos.
Make sure the light is bright, but not washed out. You want those colors to pop.
But also make sure the image is relevant. If your best picture has nothing to do with your giveaway, you’ll need to find something else.
The ideal size for Facebook photos is 1200 x 630 pixels. Make sure your image is optimized for that size so you don’t lose resolution.
Once you’ve chosen your photo, it is a good idea to add some text. You can improve your visual impact with a short call for attention included in your image.
Make sure your text is brief. If you add text that covers more than 20% of the image surface, your ad may have reduced reach (or may not run at all).
To add text, use a free program like Canva. It will let you add text in a large variety of fonts and colors.
Your copy needs to grab the attention of your desired audience right away. So make it very clear who you’re trying to reach, like this:
- Hey pizza fanatics!
- Attention pizza lovers!
- Read this if you like free pizza!
Once you have their attention, you’re going to provide the details of the giveaway. Explain how people can enter, as well as when you’ll be selecting a winner.
Make sure that you include a call to action (CTA)! The CTA is the next step that you want the user to take.
In this case, you want them to comment on your ad in order to enter your contest and to trigger your chatbot.
Don’t make the mistake of asking users to say “yes” or “interested” in order to enter. You want the comments to appear organic, not spammy.
So ask them to say something that won’t be the same for everyone.
For example, you could ask what their favorite pizza topping is. Or you could also ask them to comment with the weirdest pizza combo they’ve ever heard of.
Once you’ve perfected your copy, schedule your post for a couple of days in advance. We have more steps to complete, and you need to give yourself plenty of time.
We’re going to talk about your audience after your post has gone live — at the end of this section. So hold your horses!
Now that you have set up your Facebook post, it’s time to set up your chatbot.
There are several good chatbot programs out there, like ManyChat or Chatfuel. These programs will let you set up the flow of your chatbot’s conversation.
To get this set up in ManyChat, you’ll need a Pro account, which costs $10 per month. But it’s worth the cost.
You’ll use this chatbot to request email addresses or phone numbers, which you can use later for additional marketing.
After you set up your ManyChat account and linked it to your business page, you’ll set up a “New Growth Tool”.
Then you’ll select “Facebook comments”, and choose the Facebook post that we’ve already scheduled. This will tell ManyChat that we’re linking our chatbot to that specific Facebook post.
Then when someone comments on your Facebook post, they’ll get your personalized auto-response.
Here, you can ask them to respond in order to subscribe to your Facebook messages.
Then click “Save & Activate”.
Now we’re going to set up your chatbot conversation.
Click Flows on the left, and then select your giveaway and click “Edit Flow” in the top right corner.
The first thing to remember is to make it fun! Include images, gifs, or emojis to punch up your chatbot’s conversation.
If you want to ask for contact info like email addresses or phone numbers, use the “+User Input” option. This is only allowed in the paid version of ManyChat.
If you don’t want to collect contact info, you can use the free version. You’ll still get big engagement on your giveaway post, but you won’t gather those email addresses.
If you are asking for an email address, make sure to “tag” the Free Keyboard Input as an email address. This will be helpful later in organizing the information on a spreadsheet.
After you’ve set up your flow, click Preview. This will let you sample the flow through your own Facebook Messenger account.
Now that your flow is done, the next step is to send those email addresses somewhere you can find them.
To save your email addresses, we’re going to use a free app called Zapier. This will pull the email addresses from ManyChat into a Google Sheet.
First, create a Zapier account. Then click “Make a Zap” on the top right.
Zapier sets up “triggers” and “actions.” Once your triggering event occurs, Zapier will automatically initiate the action.
Your first trigger will be from “ManyChat”, so click that icon. Then select your Trigger Event — “New Tagged User”.
Select your ManyChat account, and then select the “Tag” dropdown menu. Choose “Email Address”.
Now we’ll set up the action that will occur when the Trigger event happens. For our action, we’ll select the Google Sheets icon.
Then “Create Spreadsheet Row”, and sign in to Google Sheets when prompted.
For exact details on what your spreadsheet should look like for this to work, check out these instructions. Once your spreadsheet is set up, refresh your browser.
Zapier will populate your fields based on your spreadsheet.
Click Finish, and turn on your Zap!
Now What Happens?
So now what?
When your Facebook post goes live, you’re going to give it a boost. But we have to select your audience.
The Audience Pt. 2
I said we’d get to this, remember?
Once your ad is scheduled, chatbot flow is set up, and it’s all integrated, it’s time to let your post go. But since organic engagement is generally low on Facebook, we’re going to give it a boost.
Go to your post and click on “Boost Post”.
Then we’re going to run an Engagement Ad. And this is where we’ll lock down our audience.
You want to narrow down your audience so you’ll get the best return on your ad spend. Think about who would be the most likely to be interested in this giveaway and your restaurant.
A good place to start is your city and an age group. If you know that most of your customers are between 25 and 45, that may be a good age range.
If your audience is still broader than you’d like, you may want to narrow it down further by interest.
You can choose broad interests, like “pizza”. Or you use interests to try to poach some of your competitor’s fans.
Generally, independent restaurants won’t show up as interests on Facebook. But the big dogs like Papa John’s and Domino’s will.
Once you’re happy with your audience, you can Boost your post and watch the engagement skyrocket!
Lots of potential new customers will see your ad, and they’ll jump at the chance to win your big prize.
They’ll comment on your Facebook post to enter, triggering the chatbot conversation. Then they’ll subscribe to your Facebook messages and provide their email address or phone number.
When you select the winner, you’ll let them know over Messenger.
But you can also message ALL the losers. Let them know that they didn’t win, but you hope they’ll still come by.
Maybe give them a little consolation prize, like a coupon for free breadsticks or a discount on a pizza!
Beyond just the immediate benefits of this chatbot contest, getting used to chatbots may help you out in the future. This is one of those pizza advertising ideas that isn’t going anywhere soon!
56% of customers say they prefer to use messages instead of phone calls. And as chatbots grow more sophisticated, that number will continue to grow.
Some big pizza chains are already experimenting with taking orders through chatbot.
3. Create Facebook Custom Audiences
Facebook custom audiences are a perfect way to connect with smaller, segmented groups of your customers.
By segmenting, you can better match your pizza advertising ideas to your customer needs and interests, instead of hitting them with a one-size-fits-all marketing approach.
To start, you’ll need to enter your Facebook Business Manager.
From here, click on the menu icon on the top left, and then select Audiences.
Then click Create Audience, and Create Custom Audience.
From here, you can see the different types of custom audiences that you can create on Facebook.
I’m going to explain these different types of audiences to you, one at a time.
Audiences based on website traffic can be incredibly valuable.
You can build your audiences based on a number of different behaviors that customers (or potential customers) take on your website.
In order to let Facebook track your website traffic, you need to install the Facebook Pixel on your site.
Back in the main menu in the Business Manager, click “Pixels” under Measure & Report. Click “+Add”, and then name your Pixel.
Click Create. Then click “Set up the Pixel Now”.
From here, you’ll decide if you’re going to add the pixel to your site yourself, or send the instructions to your web developer.
If you decide to set it up yourself, the next steps will depend on your website platform.
Once you have the Pixel installed, Facebook will follow your website visitors back to Facebook. It will then let you create audiences of people who have taken certain actions on your website.
For example, you could make an audience of people who have visited a certain page on your website, or people who made a purchase.
We’ll talk about this more in Pizza Advertising Idea #4 – Facebook Retargeting.
Facebook also lets you create custom audiences based on the contact information that you’ve gathered, like email addresses or phone numbers.
This is one of the most solid pizza advertising ideas, because it lets you market to people who have already expressed interest in your restaurant.
When you upload your contact lists, Facebook will match that contact information to active Facebook accounts.
Not every person who has given you their email address will be Facebook users. But since about 70% of US adults use the platform, most will have an account.
If you have a loyalty app for your pizzeria, you can create a custom audience based on your app users.
To do this, you’ll need to add “App Events” to your app, so you can track actions. Since this step requires a Facebook Developer account, you may need some help.
Ask your app developer if they can get this set up for you.
Once it’s set up, you can use Facebook Ads to target app users who haven’t logged in for a while, or to promote double reward points.
A custom audience based on offline activity includes people who have been into your restaurant, or even called on the phone.
In the Facebook Business Manager, go to the Events Manager. Then click “Add New Data Source”, and “Offline Event Set”.
You can make an event set based on people who have entered your pizzeria, made a purchase, and other activity. Facebook can monitor who enters your restaurant based on their location tracking in the app on customers’ smartphones.
Then you can upload your sales information in spreadsheet form. Facebook will match the sales data with Facebook profiles, letting you send targeted ads to those customers.
You can also use this data to track the effectiveness of your ads. Facebook can compare the customers who entered your location with people who were exposed to your Facebook ad, giving you a more accurate estimate of ROI.
With this option, you can create custom audiences based on people who have interacted with your Facebook page or posts.
You can include people who:
- have watched your videos
- visited your profile on Facebook or Instagram
- expressed interest in an event
- Like or follow your Facebook page
Before planning your pizza advertising, you’ll need to determine the goal of your ad. Are you more interested in awareness or sales?
Knowing this will help you plan your ad and select the right copy and call to action.
Experiment with these different audiences to see what works best for you and where you get the best results for the lowest investment.
4. Try Facebook Retargeting
We talked a little bit about Facebook Retargeting up in Pizza Advertising Idea #3 – Facebook Custom Audiences.
Retargeting is simply sending ads to people who have already visited your website. It gives you another chance to turn that prospect into a customer.
Only 2% of shoppers make a purchase on their first visit to a website. That means 98% visit your site and leave without buying anything!
But retargeted website visitors are 70% more likely to become paying customers than those who aren’t retargeted.
Once you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel on your site, you can use it to build custom audiences to retarget.
In the Facebook Business Manager, go to Audience. Then click Create an Audience, and Custom Audience.
Then click Website Traffic.
From here, you can decide what groups you want to retarget.
You can select:
- All website visitors
- Visitors to certain pages
- Visitors by time spent on your website
Retargeting isn’t limited to Facebook, by the way.
You can retarget with Google Ads or Outbrain as well. But to prevent getting too complicated, I’m going to focus on Facebook retargeting in this section.
All Website Visitors
Retargeting “all website visitors” casts a wide net, but it may not be the best choice.
To get a little more insight here, check out your Google Analytics and look for your bounce rate.
That’s the number of people who left your website after visiting only one page, and it can be high — an average of 41% to 55% of your website traffic. Very often, those people navigated to your website on accident.
If you spend ad money retargeting all website visitors, you could be throwing half of it away. Instead, you want to focus on the site visitors that are more likely to be interested in your pizza.
Visitors to Certain Pages
By retargeting visitors to certain pages, you can provide more specific, personalized ads.
For example, if you have a catering page, you could retarget visitors to that page to promote your offsite catering services.
This pizzeria and brewpub has a “Live Tap Feed” where they show a current image of the tap wall. They could retarget visitors to this page (beer lovers) when they make a change to the tap wall.
Visitors by Time Spent on Your Website
If someone has spent a few minutes or more on your website, you can assume that they had some interest in your pizza.
So you can retarget the people who spent the most time on your site.
Select your time frame, and then choose the top 5%, 10%, or 25% of visitors by time spent.
Retargeting Abandoned Carts
If you do online ordering, you can also retarget based on cart abandonment.
What can we infer if someone put an order together and was ready to check out, but then left your site? Possibly that the total bill was too expensive.
Retarget cart abandoners with a coupon to encourage them to think again. Create a sense of urgency by giving it a time limit, like 24 hours.
And of course, you can retarget people who have made a purchase. Your existing customers will be responsible for 65% of your restaurant’s sales, so don’t neglect them!
Facebook Ads aren’t free. So you want to make each view count.
To make your retargeting ads effective, here are some helpful tips.
Include a Strong CTA
Your Call to Action tells the customer what they should do next. So make it a strong one.
You can include a CTA in your copy, and add a CTA button on to your ad.
The CTA button options that are provided by Facebook are limited, but you could use “See Menu”, “Shop Now”, or “Get Offer” if you’re providing a coupon code.
In your copy, start with a strong action word in your CTA, and build a sense of urgency. “Order now” and “Call Today” tell people exactly what to do, and when.
Tell People They’re Being Retargeted
How many websites do you go to on average per day? I’ve been to 143 today.
With that kind of volume, people can easily forget a pizzeria website they visited a few days ago.
So let them know they’re being retargeted. It will remind them of their previous interest, and they’ll know that this message is personalized.
Need some ways to let them know without saying “Hey, we’re retargeting you!”? How about these?
- Hey, you left something in your cart!
- Remember us?
- Come back for a one-time offer…..
Do A/B Tests
How will you know what ads will get you the best results for each different group that you’re retargeting?
You won’t. Not unless you do some testing.
A/B tests let you change one thing about your ad and present it to different segments of your target audience.
Images are responsible for a huge 75 – 90% of ad performance, so this is definitely something you should test!
You could also experiment with different headlines or calls-to action.
Send it out to a small portion of your desired audience. Then see which version performs better.
Make sure you’re only changing one thing at a time. If you make more than one change, you won’t know which one is responsible for the better ad performance.
Once you know which version is best, you can send it out to the rest of that audience. It is an extra step in the process, but if it gets you a few more customers, it could be worth it!
5. Dominate SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to matching up your pizzeria’s website with local customers. It’s the absolute best way to make sure your website is found when people are searching for pizza in your area.
This is one of those pizza advertising ideas that can get as complicated as you want to make it. So we’re going to start off with some of the basics.
There are a lot of factors that determine what results people find when they search for “best pizza in Chicago.”
These are just the top ranking factors. The total number of Google ranking factors is around 200.
The goal of SEO is to make the best use of those ranking factors, increasing the chances that potential customers will find your website when they’re looking for pizza.
Note that when we talk about SEO, we’re usually talking about Google ranking factors specifically.
There are other search engines, but Google has cornered nearly 89% of the search engine market. So it makes sense to focus on Google, rather than Yahoo or Bing.
We’re going to talk about a few of these ranking factors, and how you can use them to boost your SEO and become more visible to your customers.
The most important thing to remember when discussing SEO is that you need to optimize both for Google and for the customer. You never want to sacrifice usability or readability in order to make Google happy.
The best SEO tactics also create a good user experience.
A major ranking factor for all websites is “direct traffic.” This refers to website visitors who type your pizzeria’s URL directly into the search bar.
This is why it’s key for your restaurant’s URL to be as close to your restaurant name as possible.
If Pizza Hut’s website was www.pizzahutisgreat.com instead of www.pizzahut.com, it would get far less direct traffic.
So what do you do if your desired URL is already taken? Think of the simplest change you can that will still be memorable.
Adding your town name to the end of the URL may be a simple fix. Instead of www.perfectpizza.com, you could be www.perfectpizzaalbany.com.
Time on Site & Bounce Rate
One of the ways that Google assesses your site’s quality is by how much time your website visitors spend there.
This is why two important ranking factors are time on site and bounce rate (which we discussed a bit up in Pizza Advertising Idea #4 – Facebook Retargeting).
You already know how to check your bounce rate, but what can you do about it? Well to start, you can improve your site speed.
40% of people say they’ll abandon a website if it doesn’t load in under 3 seconds. That means if your website is too slow, you’re losing nearly half of your website traffic before your site even loads.
Talk about a ranking killer.
To see if your load speed is a problem, check out Google’s Page Speed Insight tool. Type in your URL for a full report on your speed and what may be slowing your site down.
The tool provides a full assessment of opportunities where you could improve your site speed. Plus, it makes suggestions on how to fix them.
While some of the fixes may require a web developer, others can be improved by downloading simple plugins. This is such a quick task, you should do it today!
One of the things you may find through the Page Speed Insight tool is that your images are too large. If this is the case, you can use a tool like Resize Image to shrink them and improve your page speed.
“Backlink” is a technical-sounding term for links from one website back to your website, like this link from Eater Dallas:
Google takes this kind of link as a sign that your website is worth linking to and that it has value.
But not just any backlink will do.
Remember, SEO is all about the user experience. So backlinks need to be relevant.
A backlink from a reputable food blogger or restaurant review site is relevant. A backlink from your uncle’s automotive shop is not.
Backlink sources also need to be reputable. And a big indicator of whether a site is reputable is its Domain Authority.
Domain Authority is a number on a scale of 1 – 100 that reflects your site’s reputation and reliability.
To check a site’s Domain Authority, there are some great free tools you can use, like these:
Type in the website of a local food blogger or food publication to check out their DA score. Anything over 50 is pretty good.
These different sites don’t have the exact same methods of assessing domain authority, so it’s a good idea to check multiple sources. The numbers may vary, like these three results for the website blissfulbasil.com.
Once you’ve found a food blogger in your niche with a good domain authority, ask them to feature you and link to your site! You can offer them a free meal as an incentive.
Other great backlink sources include food sites like Eater and local event listing sites.
Regular backlinks from good sources like this will provide a huge boost to your SEO.
Website Security (HTTPS)
Does providing a safe, secure website make a better user experience?
Of course it does.
Your customers are providing their credit card information to order pickup or delivery, so they want to know that you’re protecting that info.
That’s why Google has started including your site’s security as one of its ranking factors.
An indicator of a secure website is that it will start with the letters “https”, rather than “http.”
Information that is sent over an “http” site is not encrypted. But info sent over an “https” site is.
If your site does not have this security feature, reach out to your website hosting company about how to add it.
Another way to improve your site’s security is to always update new plugins or software that your site uses. The new versions could have valuable security improvements.
Keywords are words and phrases that you can use on your website to connect with certain searches.
The concept is very simple: if you’re looking for “pizza in Tempe”, you will search for that phrase, or something similar. To make sure people looking for pizza in Tempe find your restaurant, you’ll want to include that phrase (keyword) on your site.
When someone uses a keyword in the hopes of reaching people searching for that term, they’re trying to “rank” for that keyword. That means they want their website to appear as high up in the Google search as possible.
Here are a few keyword suggestions:
- Pizza near me
- Best pizza in [town]
- Pizza in [neighborhood]
- Pizza delivery near me
- Pizza delivery in [zip code]
This pizza restaurant made a clever name choice. Anyone who searches for “best pizza in san diego” (5,4000 people per month on average) has a great shot of finding their restaurant!
Keep in mind that certain keywords that are used a lot will be harder to rank for. You can find out how difficult a keyword is back on UberSuggest.
The keyword “pizza in tempe” has a high search volume and a low SEO difficulty. So it could be a good keyword to rank for.
Once you’ve selected a keyword that you want to rank for, what do you do with it?
You need to include it strategically on your site.
But that doesn’t mean forcing it into every nook and cranny. Rather, it means sprinkling it into a few important places.
First, put it in your meta title. Your meta title is the title of your site as it appears in a Google search.
It doesn’t have to be the same as your website or restaurant name. In fact, if you just use your restaurant name, you’re missing out on this SEO opportunity.
You’ll also want to put your keyword in your meta description. This is the short snippet that appears below the meta title.
Next, you need to include it on your website itself, in the content and image alt text.
Alt text is text you can add to your images to describe what’s in the picture. The text is read by Google as a further indicator of what your site is about.
You don’t want to shove your keyword into the alt text of every image. But if there’s an organic way to include it in a few images, you definitely should.
Make sure your content is readable and user-friendly. Don’t use your keyword 20 times just so it’s there.
That’s called keyword stuffing, and it can actually result in ranking penalties.
Local SEO helps you to appear in a location-based search.
It can be hard to optimize for local SEO, because your pizzeria’s location is a major factor. If someone 15 miles away searches for “pizza near me”, there is nothing you can do to make your restaurant closer to that person.
But there are some steps you can take to try to improve your local SEO search results.
Google My Business
At the very least, make sure you’ve completely filled out your Google My Business listing. Google pulls information directly from that profile when populating the Google Local Pack.
From within your Google My Business profile, you can also add your menu, a reservation URL, and additional contact information. The more information you have here, the better.
On some GMB listings, you’ll see this:
On the surface, this looks great. Why not include a link to your website’s delivery platform?
Unfortunately, that’s not what this button does.
This button is actually an integration for third-party delivery services like DoorDash and GrubHub.
Unless you want customers to order your pizza through one of these services, you don’t want one of these buttons on your listing. These services charge restaurants upwards of 30% of the order price, cutting into your margins.
It will be much more profitable for you if they order directly through your website.
Local citations are simply mentions of your business online. The often include the business name as well as contact information.
Citations can be “structured” or “unstructured.”
A structured citation is usually a listing of your company info on a directory. And you’ll often find an unstructured citation at the end of a blog or article.
They help search engines to verify that your business is real, and that it has a physical location. The more sources contain accurate information about your business, the more legitimate the business appears to Google.
Similar to backlinks, some citations are more valuable than others, depending on the quality of the website hosting the citation.
Some excellent citation sources for restaurants include Yelp, TripAdvisor, FourSquare, Urbanspoon, YellowPages, OpenTable, and AllMenus. Make sure your name, address, phone number, and website are all accurate on these sites to help your local SEO.
6. Focus on Instagram Organic Growth
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that people love to post and look at pictures of food on Instagram. But did you know that pizza is the most Instagrammed food in the world?
That means there’s a lot of noise out there — and a lot of people who want pizza content.
80% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform. So getting them to follow your business shouldn’t be a tall order.
And having a good Instagram account is about more than just attracting customers. 30% of people would actually avoid a restaurant if they didn’t have a strong Instagram presence.
So I’m going to share some tips about how you can increase your Instagram followers and engagement — completely free.
The first part of your Instagram strategy is obviously the content. Without great photos and clever captions, you won’t be gaining any new followers.
You don’t need to buy expensive camera equipment to take nice photos for Instagram. Most recent-generation phones have excellent cameras, and will work just fine.
But you need to make sure your setup is optimal.
Make sure you’re taking your picture in bright, natural light. But watch out for glare.
Also, check the background. Move that napkin dispenser out of the way so you have a nice clean backdrop.
Action shots are great for Instagram. Instead of a pizza lying on a tray, how about a slice being pulled away, with gooey cheese still connected to the pie?
That’s a great photo.
To make sure your photos look their best, you can use an app like Snapseed or Over to play with brightness and saturation levels.
For a slightly dim, dingy image, try these settings:
- Brightness +10
- Contrast +13
- Saturation +18
- Ambiance +10
- Warmth +7
These may not be 100% perfect depending on how bright or dark your original picture was, but they’ll be a good place to start. Check out the difference:
Tweak your settings until you find the best way to make your pictures pop.
Another content tip — don’t neglect video! Videos do really well on Instagram, receiving 38% more engagement than images and over double the comments.
You don’t need to do long, complicated videos. Just a few seconds of a pizza coming out of the oven or a beer being poured into a glass can get you an engagement boost.
Once you’ve selected your image or video, you’ll need to come up with a caption. There is an infinite variety of captions that you could write about pizza!
I recommend mixing up your caption strategy. Use some short, punny captions interspersed with longer, more serious captions.
You can talk about some of your cooking methods, or express gratitude for your loyal customers. Even if you have a fun, off-the-cuff style, it’s a good idea to switch up your captions so your readers don’t get bored.
There is more to Instagram tags than just hashtags (although those are important). There are also user tags and location tags, and you’ll want to use all three for organic growth.
Tagging your restaurant’s location can result in 79% higher engagement on Instagram, so you should tag it every single time you post something.
You also want to tag users whenever possible, but only if it’s relevant. Tagging 5 random people on a photo is spammy and won’t get you the growth you’re looking for.
But you could take some photos of customers enjoying a pizza at your restaurant. Ask them if they’d share their Instagram profile names with you.
Then when you post the photo, you can tag the users, increasing the likelihood that they’ll engage with you on that photo and in the future. Plus, photos with faces get 38% more likes than photos without them!
You can also repost user-generated content. You should get permission from the original poster before you use their images, and always give photo credit.
This is a great way to encourage users to post their own photos of your pizza, and to engage with your customers. And Instagram users really like it.
It builds a brand’s authenticity and increases engagement by as much as 6.9x.
The last important tag to use on Instagram is the hashtag. Hashtags help people on Instagram to find new content.
You can add up to 30 hashtags on each image or video, and up to 10 on each Instagram story.
But you don’t need to include that many. Opinions differ on the “optimal” number of hashtags, but some studies say 9 to 11 is the sweet spot.
So what hashtags should you use?
You can tag literally anything you want, but your goal with hashtags is to help people find your content. So using a hashtag that no one has ever used before isn’t going to help much.
On the other hand, if your only hashtag is #pizza, your content will get buried in the 42 million other posts using that hashtag.
So you’ll want to use a variety of tags on each post, including some common tags, and some that are more niche.
You can also use location hashtags, like #[yourtown] and #[yourneighborhood].
You can also look at what your competitors are doing, and try some of those hashtags as well.
For your Instagram stories, what to do with hashtags can cause confusion. After all, there is no “caption” area in stories, and adding 10 hashtags will really clutter up your image.
A great solution is to hide them.
Instead of this:
You can have this:
Just shrink your hashtags, and cover them up with text, stickers, or gifs.
You can do this with hashtags, location tags, and usertags. This way, you still get the benefit of the tag, but you can still keep your stories looking really clean.
So now that you know what to post, do you know when to post?
Believe it or not, but there are optimal times to post on Instagram for the most engagement.
This chart shows the best times to post for engagement on a global level, which is a good place to start.
But you aren’t really concerned with the best overall time for Instagram posts.
You’re more concerned with when your followers are most engaged. That’s the audience that matters.
Fortunately, Instagram business profile insights let you see when your followers are active.
Under Insights, click on Audience. Then, scroll down to the “Followers” section.
You can check your follower’s activity by hours of the day or days of the week.
For this particular account, posting in the afternoon will be much more effective than posting in the morning.
If you’re concerned about missing your prime window for posts, use a scheduling app like Buffer or Hootsuite. These services will let you schedule all your content in advance and automatically post it for you at the time you select.
The last big key to Instagram growth is engagement. The more engagement you get, the higher up in the feed your content will appear — leading to even more engagement.
You can get impressive engagement numbers on your content by doing small giveaways every now and then.
An easy one? Ask followers to comment with their favorite pizza toppings, and give away a slice to one of the commenters.
You should also be engaging with other accounts, and not simply waiting for users to engage with yours. Follow local influencers and food publications, and regularly comment on their content.
Check out Instagram’s “Explore” tab to see accounts you might be interested in. Spend a few minutes every day leaving comments and likes!
7. Send Direct Mail
Direct mail may seem old fashioned, but it’s making a major comeback. And as far as pizza advertising ideas go, it’s absolutely a win.
The volume of direct mail has decreased about 30% since 2006. That’s a lot less mail, and a lot less competition for your mailer.
In fact, where people used to get annoyed by physical mail, we’ve now grown so used to online chatter that mail in the mailbox is a welcome change.
And the numbers supporting direct mail are staggering.
Now, as a pizzeria, you’re uniquely positioned to make the most out of direct mail. As a delivery-heavy restaurant niche, you have access to the addresses of all of your previous delivery customers.
This will let you send ads to the most valuable group out there — your current customers.
There’s an old marketing rule called the 40/40/20 rule.
It says that 40% of your success is reaching the right audience and 40% is how good your offer is. Only 20% is presentation and format.
So I’m going to break down our explanation of direct mail into those three categories.
Reaching the appropriate audience is the first important part of your direct mail campaign.
Your “house list”, or the people you already have a relationship with, will be one of your audiences. House lists have an average 9% response rate, which beats out most digital marketing methods.
Prospects, or people you don’t have a relationship with yet, will be the other part of your audience. The direct mail response rate for prospect lists is currently 5% — the highest ever reported by the Data & Marketing Association.
Now, obviously you only want to send direct mail to people in the vicinity of your pizza restaurant. If you’re promoting delivery, you’d waste your money by sending mailers to people outside of your delivery area.
Once you’ve settled on the geographical location, you can either do a saturation mailing, or a targeted mailing.
A saturation mailing will go to just about every household within the area.
This type of mailing will be larger in volume, but will also get you the best postage rates. And it won’t be personalized.
If you choose to do a targeted mailing, you can further segment your list and send more personalized offers. This may be a good choice if your pizza appeals to a more niche audience.
For example, if your pizza is on the gourmet and expensive end of the spectrum, you may want to promote to higher-income families. But if it provides a great value, a saturation mailing may be a good choice.
You can also target new residents in the neighborhood, to introduce them to their local pizzeria.
To get your actual prospect list, you will have to rent or buy it from a list broker. There are pros and cons to each.
Renting is less expensive, and you don’t have to maintain the list for future mailings. But it often takes more than one mailing to see results, so buying the list may be a better choice if you plan to send out multiple mailers.
Once your audience is selected, it’s time to work out your offer (or offers).
Remember that your house list and your prospect list are at different places in their customer life-cycle. The house list customers have eaten your pizza before, so it may take a much smaller offer to get them to convert again.
Don’t leave money on the table by sending your current customers the same deal as your prospects.
A free 2-liter of soda with the purchase of two pizzas or half-price delivery could be enough for existing customers. Save the BOGO pizza for the prospects.
And make sure to create a sense of urgency with your offer by including an expiration date.
Whatever the offer, consider your best-case scenario, and how it could affect your margins.
What will happen if you get a 10% response rate? Will that kill your COGS?
Don’t let a successful campaign become a thorn in your side!
The presentation of your mailer is the least important part of your direct mail campaign. And yet, it’s often where people spend the most time.
Do try to be creative with your mailer, to make sure you get the attention of the recipient. Interesting shapes and bright colors can help your mail piece to get noticed.
Use pictures on your mailer, and make sure those pictures the best of the best. Hire a professional photographer if you need to.
You will waste your investment if you use less-than-stellar photos on your mail piece!
You can also use the copy to get their attention, like this pizza restaurant did.
Just like in digital ads, include a strong call to action:
- Order today
- Order now
- Order online
- Get your free _____
- Call now
And once you’ve finalized your design, make sure you have a method of tracking redemptions so you can calculate your ROI. One option is to use a QR code to send people to an order page or coupon download.
You could also provide a code for them to enter when they check out on your website. Just make sure the code is unique to this mailer, so you’ll be able to track it.
So there you have it! The seven best pizza advertising ideas for 2019.
This combination of digital, social media, and physical advertising strategies will bring your pizzeria big results.
It’s not enough to focus on just one of these methods in today’s highly competitive marketplace. You’ll need to become a jack-of-all-trades in order to stay relevant in the coming year!
I know these are a lot of different strategies, so just start with one at a time. Master one before you move on to the next, and soon you’ll be marketing like a pro.
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