Top off your marketing menu with a website

Consider the choices you have available to market your pizzeria. You've probably utilized or considered direct mail, box toppers, coupons, radio, television flyers, message on hold and your required yellow pages ad.

In recent years the Internet has become a powerful medium, but it can be a lost cause for those without a clear picture of what a Web site should do to increase sales.

It's been reported that over 70 percent of pizza operators nationwide now have some level of an online presence. However, less than 20 percent use their Web site for more than a brochure. While displaying your products online is important, your customers are demanding more from your Web site.

A Web site has proven to be a factor in finding new customers, growing existing business and most importantly keeping your current customers from finding another pizza establishment. The question is not if you should have a Web site, but how you should go about getting an effective one.

A well-structured Web site will not only allow you to generate more revenue and reduce costs, but also to secure relationships with your existing customers. The key to an effective Web marketing plan is to implement functionality and tools important to pizza consumers.

Moving From An Online Brochure To A Business Management Tool

Let's discuss the true revenue-generating potential. When you purchase a new oven, you expect a return on that investment. Consider your Web site the same way. An online presence, coupled with online ordering, can add a powerful dynamic to your business and can you save you time and money.

How do orders come into your restaurant right now? How long does the average phone order take? Are your customers waiting on the phone or getting a busy signal? Do your employees consistently up-sell or cross-sell? How often do errors occur when you are being hit with a rush?

Online ordering through your Web site nearly eliminates all of these issues. In pilot programs Digital IMS conducted, pizza chains lowered their delivery error rate from 5 percent to less than 1 percent and increased the per order revenue by $3. How? A customer goes online to place the order. They log into their account and follow an easy-to-navigate order form and can even use a one button ordering feature that allows them to order their usual.

The order is placed through a secure server to protect customer information. Some restaurants even take credit card information so the order is paid before delivery. This assures that you receive your payment, but you will incur additional credit card banking fees by utilizing this feature.

Once your customers submit their order, an email is sent to your pizza operation. Some restaurants choose to utilize a fax-forwarding feature that sends the e-mail to a fax machine at the appropriate location. If this is the customer's first order, it is recommended that you call them to assure them the order was placed and confirm delivery details. After the first order, customers become comfortable with the process and you can just publish a standard delivery time, such as 30 minutes, in their order confirmation e-mail.

Online ordering doesn't disrupt your regular order process, your Web site actually streamlines your system and provides you with hard copy order data that is much easier than relying on an employee to enter orders as the customers order on the phone.

Unleashing Internet Marketing Potential

Now that you have online ordering on your Web site, consider all of the opportunities you have to market your pizza operation while you have your customers online. Change your pricing or add new products in a matter of minutes. Offer online promotions and coupons that can change weekly. Up-sell and cross-sell based on the preferences of the particular customer logged into their account. Send out weekly email specials to those customers that have used your site.

Maintaining your Web site and keeping the information fresh is critical to your Internet success. How many times have you gone to a Web site to find the information to be two year old or more? Frustrating, isn't it? Consumers want fresh content relevant to doing business with you.

A Web site provides a great opportunity to react to changes in your company and the industry in minutes compared to the expense and hassle of reprinting menus or throwing away boxes of coupons that are now outdated.

Once thought to be an expensive and time-consuming chore, new Web technologies make the upkeep and management of your Web site painless. Your Web site should come equipped with tools to update your site, whenever you want, for no additional cost. Once you become comfortable with your Web site administration, the process can eventually take you less than one hour a week to maintain the content of your site.

Of course, having a Web site doesn't eliminate your other marketing initiative. But now you can encourage your customers to utilize your Web site in your other messages. Eventually, you'll notice that you can reduce the costs in your other marketing efforts by directing customers to your Web site.

For more information visit

what should be on my web site?

  • Online ordering
  • Online specials
  • Gift Certificates
  • Menus
  • Catering Menus
  • Location Finder
  • Career Opportunities
  • Basic Company Information

Good Questions To Ask While Looking At Online Solutions…
Ask these questions when researching your Internet marketing partner:

  1. How will I maintain, manage, and modify the content of my Web site in order to keep my image fresh?
  2. What will it cost me to make changes to my site?
  3. What type of customer support do you offer?
  4. Is your system compatible with our POS system and any other technology we have in place?
  5. How will I receive the online orders at the restaurant?
  6. How long have you provided Web solutions?
  7. Does your solution offer marketing support for driving traffic to our site?
  8. How will I add future promotions, new products, or advertise specials on my site?
  9. How will my customers pay for their online orders? What other Pizza operators have you worked with?

For additional information on how to use the Web, email and your Web site, check out some of these articles on the site:

  • Email Marketing Part 1
  • Email Marketing Part 2
  • Blown Away by a Web Promo