I spend a good bit of time online, checking out pizzeria websites and social media pages, and sometimes I get deeply discouraged. Online marketing is essential to success in the restaurant business, yet I see so many pizzeria operators handling it poorly. Worse, some still don’t have a website or a social media presence at all. That’s like refusing to invest in signage for your shop—how are potential customers supposed to find you if you don’t even tell them you’re there?
A lousy website is better than no website at all, but just barely. I see too many pizzeria websites that seem to have been thrown together as an afterthought—text-heavy, no photographs, no branding, blocky and boring and utterly forgettable. I came across one site that devotes inordinate space to promoting its various flavors of Red Bull while a link to the menu is hidden away in tiny text at the top of the screen. No logo, no mouthwatering food pictures—just a bunch of verbiage and, inexplicably, a great big Red Bull ad.
I’m not saying restaurants with bad websites will fail. Many are firmly established in their communities and thrive on old-school marketing techniques. But if your pizzeria struggles to attract new customers, if your sales remain stagnant no matter how many coupons you mail out, you should take a second look at your online marketing strategy. Hire a professional designer with a proven track record to overhaul your Stone Age website and assign a staffer to update the site regularly with new specials, menu items and promotions.
Take a closer look at your Facebook page, too. Are you engaging with your followers or just promoting your specials? If it’s the latter, you are boring your fans to tears—and squandering a moneymaking opportunity.
Keep paying short shrift to the Web, and you shouldn’t be surprised if that megachain down the street steals away your customers. Learn how to do online marketing right, and you can get right back in the game!