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The following article has been brought to you by Shawn Randazzo, president of Detroit Style Pizza Co. and who won the title of World Champion Pizza Maker at the 2012 International Pizza Expo.

Does your pizzeria have an online marketing strategy? If not, it’s time to adopt one. While traditional print marketing continues to be a great way to promote your pizzeria, if you’re not also working online marketing channels I can guarantee you’re missing out on opportunities to promote your menu items and specials, find new customers, and create a more convenient customer experience. Collectively, that means you’re missing out on profits. At Detroit Style Pizza Co., we’ve made a concerted effort to promote our pizzeria in the digital arena. Below, I’ve shared 10 ways you can promote and enhance your pizzeria online.

1.  Add online ordering to your website

If you don’t have a website, launch one. If your website doesn’t offer online ordering, add it. You don’t have to pay a developer for a completely custom solution; third-party services handle all the technical legwork and allow you to focus on your menu, specials, and order fulfillment. We use Hunger Rush by Revention.

2.  Use social media extensively

Social media can be one of your most powerful promotional allies – especially Facebook. We routinely add our promotions and events to Facebook, and also add special Facebook-only promotions for our fans. In one recent promotion, we placed $50 gift cards near well-known Detroit landmarks and sent our Facebook fans on a scavenger hunt to find them. When the Tigers played in the World Series, we gave away pizzas to the first person to post the score on our Facebook page after each home run. When we host tours, attend events, or have celebrity customers, we also always post the photos on Facebook.

3.  Get a mobile app

Mobile apps make it more convenient for customers to order from you, and that convenience can translate into many repeat orders. Again, you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for custom mobile app development. Hunger Rush offers them, and so do many other companies, tailored to the needs of pizzerias.

4.  Write a blog

Your blog is a great way to connect with customers (so long as your content is interesting), and it’s also a great way to boost your search engine rankings. A well-written blog makes your pizzeria more relevant. If you don’t have the time or know-how to do it yourself, hire a writer to do it for you.

5.  Write guest blog posts and articles

Not only should you write your own blog, you should also write posts and articles to be published on other websites. Guest blogging has helped Detroit Style Pizza Co. get featured in notable industry publications such as Pizza Today.
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6.  Sell brand merchandise and more online

No one who enters your pizzeria should leave without the chance to purchase a tee shirt, but if they do they should be able to buy one online. You can also sell gift cards and other merchandise – shot glasses, beer glasses, coffee mugs, and more – online. Detroit Style Pizza Co. sells mail order pizzas and Authentic Detroit Style Pizza pans and lids online, as well as a “Make  Your Own Authentic Detroit Style Pizza Gift Set” so customers can make their own at home.

7.  Local search engine optimization

As noted, blogging and guest blogging can help with your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. But there are other strategies, such as making sure your website is properly optimized and making sure your pizzeria’s profile on popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing is fully complete. Often, those profiles are what display in search results.

8.  Local search and site marketing

If you employ an intelligent online advertising strategy, you can reach targeted local customers via search engine and website ads. Learn how to target your ads to your best customer base (or hire a pro to help you), and advertise on search engines and websites your local customers visit frequently.

9.  Email newsletter

Give your customers a chance to opt-in to an email newsletter by offering an incentive to do so. We regularly send newsletters with our latest news and special VIP-only discounts. The newsletters give us a chance to bring our customers into the fold our business on a more personal level – email – and also allows our most loyal customers to print new coupons every month good for deals only they can access.

10.  Press releases

Well-written press releases with target distribution have a powerful impact on your pizzeria. First, they can lead to exciting local and national news features. Second, they reinforce your brand image and prominence. Finally, press releases contribute to SEO efforts. They show up in a lot of news feeds as well, which makes it far more likely new customers will order from your pizzeria.

By trying these online marketing tactics, your pizzeria will reach new customers and increase foot traffic!