Pizza is one of the world’s most popular dishes. While there will always be a market for pizza shops and delivery services, standing out from the crowd can be tough! Whether you sell New York-style pizza by the slice or fine-dining artisan pizza, you may need to adjust your marketing strategy from time to time to keep attracting new customers.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of the 9 top pizza shop marketing strategies that are sure to bring diners to your restaurant.
What’s Unique About the Pizza Industry?
Pizza shops stand out from other restaurants for several reasons. For one, pizza is an easy impulse buy. If you walk past a pizza shop, you don’t have to commit to sitting at a table and ordering a full meal. You can simply grab a slice to-go if you’re on your lunch break, making it a hassle-free choice for walk-in customers.
Second, pizza shops have long been associated with delivery. Ever since Italy’s Queen Margherita received the first pizza delivery in 1889, pizza has grown in popularity as a delivery item. It’s what you order when you have friends coming to your house for the Super Bowl, or when you need a late-night snack delivered to your college dorm.
While the growth of other delivery options like UberEats and Grubhub may be offering pizza delivery some serious competition, it’s still one of the industry’s unique selling points and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
Third, pizza comes in so many different varieties that it’s easy to keep adding something new to the menu. From customizable toppings to cauliflower crust, pizza shops can cater to a variety of diets, including vegan and gluten-free customers. Plus, a pizza shop that does one style particularly well — such as Detroit-style pizza — can stand out from other shops in the area by offering something that isn’t on anyone else’s menu.
9 Marketing Strategies to Bring In Diners
- Use a Direct Mail Campaign
Direct mail is a tried-and-true option that has served pizza shops well for decades. All of the unique things about the industry that we looked at earlier are exactly the things that make direct mail marketing so effective for pizza shops.
First, the market for quick-service pizza already exists: it’s a $41 billion industry in the U.S. Unlike less familiar types of restaurants, which have to convince new customers to give them a chance, your customers are already likely to order pizza for their birthday, holidays, or special occasions. You just have to convince them to call you before your competitors, and you can do that with direct mail marketing.
What kinds of strategies work for pizza shops? Menus and magnets are great options because your customers can leave them around the house or on the refrigerator. If you’re opening a new restaurant, you can use direct mail to saturate an entire neighborhood, or reach new movers to focus on residents who are new to your area.
In addition to simply advertising your brand, think about what kinds of special offers you can feature on your mailer. A limited-time offer can create a sense of scarcity around a new product and encourage your customer to seek it out before it’s too late. Create deals to attract new customers who are likely to bring along their friends or family to get the most from your mailing.
Finally, be sure to track your response rate to see just how effective your campaign has been. You can do this by including a QR code or a coupon code that’s uniquely linked to each individual mailer. Just because you send a piece of analog mail doesn’t mean you can’t use the latest digital tools to analyze your results!
- Get Mobile
Sometimes old-school pizza places are reluctant to update their marketing strategies for the digital age. After all, in some cases, keeping things traditional is part of the charm.
But as more and more customers turn to digital apps to look for their lunches, you’ll miss out on a valuable customer base if you aren’t accessible on mobile devices. First, make sure that your restaurant shows up accurately on Google Maps so that customers looking for nearby pizza shops can find you.
Then, design a menu that shows up well on mobile devices. Don’t make your customers click through to your website in order to find out your prices or delivery options. Include a photo of your menu on Google Maps and an easy link to place an order. Millennials don’t like to make phone calls, so include an option to order online if at all possible.
- Cater to More Diets
One of the simplest ways to attract new customers is to offer options for multiple dietary preferences, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Vegan and vegetarian diets are increasingly popular in the U.S, and simply by offering vegan cheese or meat alternatives, you’ll stand out from pizza places that don’t. Market your new offerings to the right audience by using a targeted direct mail marketing campaign.
- Use a Point-of-Sale Loyalty Program
Forget punch cards. These days, the most effective loyalty programs use Point-of-Sale apps to create digital loyalty programs your customers can opt in to. For example, if you use the Square Point-of-Sale app, you can enroll your customers in a loyalty program in which they earn points for each visit or purchase. After they earn a certain number of points, they can redeem them for a free slice of pizza or another reward.
Additionally, customers can choose to provide their phone number when they sign up, which means you can send them automatic SMS reminders about their rewards. You’ll be able to keep track of repeat customers and see how frequently they come back.
- Offer Lunch Deals
One of the fun things about ordering pizza is getting to choose your own toppings and waiting for your freshly-baked pizza to cook. But if your shop only offers made-to-order pizzas, you’ll miss out on solo customers looking for slices or personal-sized pizzas.
Attract lunch customers by offering deals such as a soda and a slice. That allows new customers to try out your food without having to commit to a whole pizza. Plus, offering daily slices gives you the chance to get creative and come up with new recipes.
- It’s All About the Box
Take advantage of the free advertising space on every box of pizza. While it might be cheaper to order generic pizza boxes, spend the money on a custom design that will keep your logo fresh in the mind of everyone who sees it. Make sure that your phone number and website are featured prominently too!
In fact, why not include a customized box topper? A box topper is an ad with coupons on it that your customers can use on future orders.
- Work With a Food Photographer
Whichever direct mail marketing strategy you use, make sure you include up-to-date, high-quality photos of your food. There’s nothing worse than using stock images that don’t look anything like the product your customer will receive.
Have a professional photographer on hand who can take pictures of your pizza every time you create a new menu item. Don’t recycle the same images over and over again either. Try to come up with a fresh look for each new campaign.
- Make the Most of Customer Reviews
If you have positive reviews on your Google Maps or Yelp page, don’t be afraid to show them off. Include a quote from your satisfied customers on mailers and other advertising materials. This extends to professional reviews and newspaper articles too. Direct new customers to leave you a review by including the URL on their receipt or pizza box.
- Sell Merchandise
Asking your customers to sport your name on a T-shirt can seem like a big ask -- but it’s really not! People love to rep their favorite local businesses, and if you build up enough brand loyalty — and come up with some cool merchandise — customers will pay for the chance to wear a branded T-shirt or baseball cap.
Get a Bigger Slice of Your Audience with Direct Mail
No matter how long your pizza shop has been around, attracting new customers can be a challenge. Especially if you’re a local business, you’ll need to set yourself apart from major pizza chains that already have national brand recognition.
A direct mail campaign can keep your business front and center throughout the year. Not only will you reach new customers, but you’ll remind satisfied customers to give you a call the next time they think of ordering pizza.
Many of the strategies below can easily be worked into a direct mail campaign, so don’t feel like you have to choose just one. Incorporate multiple campaign strategies over the course of a year to get the best return on your investment.
How We Can Help
If you’re thinking about launching a direct mail marketing campaign, you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Understanding how to target the right audience with saturation or targeted mailing lists takes time. That’s why the team at Mail Shark offers packages designed just for pizza shops.
It can take multiple mailers to build brand recognition, so we’ll work with you to come up with a long-term strategy for your restaurant that suits your budget. We can help you come up with a design and track the results of your campaign. Before long, your restaurant will come to mind the next time your potential customers think about ordering pizza.
Reach out to Mail Shark today to get a custom quote or request samples! We have all of the tools you need to design, target, and track your customized pizza shop mailers.