For some of you, spending money on marketing may be the last thing on your mind, especially if business is slow and you’re biggest concern is paying your staff.
However, the slow times are when it’s the most important to keep your pizzeria’s name in front of customers. After all, that’s when you need their business the most.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to promote your pizzeria. With some creativity, a little time, and maybe a drop or two of elbow grease, you can reach hundreds of potential customers and spend very little–if any–money. Below are just a few ideas to get you started.
1. Team up with a local charitable organization and organize an event that raises money for a good cause. The organization and local media will help to spread the word, and you’ll be doing something good in the process.
2. Claim your location on Google Places and help your pizzeria move to the top of the listings in local searches. This is free and should save you time when trying to figure out how to boost your rankings on Google.
3. Become a member of your local Chamber of Commerce and host a business networking event, catered by your pizzeria, of course! Members of the Chamber are typically movers and shakers in the community who can spread the word about your business and become customers who later order for office lunches and parties.
4. Visit local businesses and drop off a couple of pizzas along with some of your menus and a letter or flyer outlining your offers for catering. You’d be surprised how many people will remember you for bringing them pizza!
5. Offer to host a pizza-eating contest at a local school function or during an upcoming fair. Your pizzeria banner will be flying high over the contestants and all of the local media will mention you.
6. Create a food challenge and a wall of fame. Word spreads fast when people are trying to win something. Challenging foods could be an extra-spicy pizza, a huge calzone, 20 mozzarella sticks, you get the picture.
7. Run a contest online and in-store to create–and name–the next specialty pizza on your menu. Make it at least a month-long contest and get the local media involved to spread the word.
8. Enter your pizza into contests–both online and at trade shows. The publicity you can garner from even just entering a contest is phenomenal. Imagine if you win!
9. Host a hotel concierge night and invite them to taste your menu. They’ll be much more likely to refer guests to the pizzeria if they’ve been there themselves.
10. Offer a taxi driver discount if you’re located in an area with a high number of taxis. If you become the preferred pizzeria for taxi drivers, guess which pizzeria they’ll recommend when asked by their passengers.
11. Sponsor a local school sports team and feed them before or after the game. This will show your support in the community and give you new customers for years.
12. Offer a slice of the day, pasta of the day, or soup of the day and announce it each day on Facebook and Twitter. This will get tummy’s rumbling when they see what you have on special.
What ideas do you have for getting free or low-cost publicity? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.