Internet marketing 101

For super-busy pizzeria owners and managers, the idea of incorporating Internet marketing into the budget may not be on the top of the to-do list. Perhaps more traditional advertising avenues, such as telephone directories, newspapers and television, still sit toward the top of that list, above Internet marketing. But I’m here to tell you that now is absolutely the time to consider the power of the Internet when it comes to marketing your business. 

The first step toward establishing a strong online presence for your business is having a website. Without a website, your business cannot fully benefit from the power of the Internet. Sure, people will still be able to find your phone number and location through other websites and online local directories, but I would argue that every business can benefit by having its own website. Why is it so important? Consider Great Lake, a renowned pizzeria in Chicago that does not have a website. They should. Look at the chart below to discover why:

As you can see, roughly 3,030 potential customers type a phrase related to “Great Lake pizza in Chicago” into Google each month. Those 3,030 customers are sadly disappointed when their search comes up empty-handed, because they are not able to find what they are looking for—in this case, Great Lake’s website. If you look more closely at the search numbers, you will notice that roughly 240 of those monthly searches are from people that specifically want to view Great Lake’s menu. That fact is reason enough for Great Lake to invest in a website. I would tell them, “Customers are asking Google to see your menu—show it to them! Don’t you want to please your customers?” 

You owners and managers who currently have a website are probably thinking, “I already have a website; isn’t that good enough? Doesn’t that cover the Internet side of things as it relates to my business?” No! Having a website is only half of the equation; having your website seen by potential customers is the other half. After all, what’s the point in having a website if nobody sees it? You see, Internet marketing is all about quality website traffic. Not all traffic is created equal; you want website visitors who are interested in eating pizza right now—targeted traffic. Those are the website visitors who are going to pick up the phone and order a pizza from you.

So how can your website get those targeted website visitors? You need a topnotch Internet marketing strategy. Overall, the basic two reasons why pizzeria owners need to invest in Internet marketing:

1. People are searching for you!

2. Internet searches are going mobile.

People Are Searching for You

How many times per week do you find yourself using your favorite search engine, whether it be Google, Yahoo, Bing, or one of the hundreds of others? If you’re like me, that number is significant. In fact, today’s Internet users love Google so much that, according to Alexa.com, a company that ranks the most popular websites, Google is the most-visited website on the planet (Yahoo and Bing are Nos. 4 and 5, respectively). So what are we asking Google? Apparently, anything and everything! According to comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, there are more than 100 billion global searches each month across all of the major search engines. That’s a mind-boggling number. What does this mean for the typical pizzeria owner? It means that you are no exception—people are searching for your business as well. People are searching for pizza! 

The fact that so many people use search engines in their daily routines can amount to a goldmine for businesses of all kinds—including your pizzeria. Imagine that you are the owner/manager of a pizzeria in Chicago and your website appears on the first page of a Google search when someone types in “pizza in Chicago,” a phrase that receives an average of 14,800 searches each month on Google alone (data provided by Google Adwords Keyword Tool). With that amount of search volume, websites on the first page of Google are going to receive a large amount of traffic from people who are interested in exactly what these sites are offering—pizza in Chicago. That is the beauty of Internet search: Customers come to you when they are most interested in what you have. Obviously, not many people are going to search for “pizza in Chicago” if they do not want pizza in Chicago. That is targeted traffic.

Internet Searches Are Going Mobile

Now that we’ve established that people are using search engines to help them find delicious pizza, it’s important to understand where many of those searches are coming from. Think about it—you probably have one within arm’s reach right now. Cell phones! Today’s cell phones are equipped with the latest Web browsers, and people are catching on and taking full advantage of this feature. According to comScore, “The mobile [Internet] browser is the leading access method for seeking local information.” We are now searching for local products and services on the go. So why are mobile search trends important for a local pizzeria? Because this means that even more people are now going to be searching for pizza in your local market. Accessing the Internet on a cell phone is easy and convenient, so mobile Internet usage will only continue to grow. 

Imagine this: You are walking through downtown Chicago when you suddenly realize that you want to try “the best pizza in Chicago,” so what do you do? You pull out your phone with Internet capabilities and type “the best pizza in Chicago” into Google. The next thing you are likely to do is choose a website on Google’s first-page listings that appears to have “the best pizza in Chicago.” Notice I said first-page listings. That is because the majority of people never click on Google’s second page. We automatically believe that the best answer to our query can be found on the first page. The website/restaurant that you choose just got your business by having a good position within Google’s search listings. That is the power of Internet marketing. Of course, Google doesn’t magically know who has “the best pizza in Chicago”; the listings on the first page of Google are the result of a well-crafted Internet marketing strategy.

Internet marketing is no longer the future—it’s the present. The growth rates in search volumes are not slowing anytime soon; 100 billion searches this month will turn into an even larger number next month. The time to take advantage of the power of the Internet is now, not tomorrow. Whether we like it or not, the Internet is changing our world, and it will change your business, too. Don’t fight it; embrace it! Remember, your customers are searching for you. Be there.

Adam Malone is an Internet marketing consultant for Profit Optimization Group in Oxford, Mississippi. He can be reached at 662-626-7483 or through profitoptimizationgroup.com