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How to Win at Local Marketing


Written by Jim Stokes

Whether you’re a single store owner, multiunit owner or part of a larger franchise, there are a few best marketing practices that almost always ensure success.

Have A Plan

The first is to establish a goal. Then create a plan to achieve it. You need a plan with specific benchmark goals to succeed. #localmarketplanning

It’s one thing to say that you’re going to accomplish something, it’s another to follow through and do it. A good plan is like a road map that helps you stay on course.

Consider Your Location

Let’s say you have a quick-service restaurant, and you want to create an increase in new customers and generate more frequency from your existing customers.

First, look at your location and think about the four dayparts when customers want to eat something (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner).

Why consider your location? It can be a big factor in developing a marketing strategy for these dayparts. What may work best for your location may not be best for others.

Let’s look at a few examples.

  • If you have a shop that is located near several businesses downtown with lots and lots of employees, you have a legitimate shot at winning in all four dayparts.
  • Many city-based workers get to work early and stay late. Some are looking to grab a quick-bite they can take back to work. In this case, you can increase customers and frequency by directly marketing to your existing customers.
  • If, however, your shop is in a shopping center in the suburbs, your main opportunity for growth may be limited to breakfast and lunch. And if it happens to be buried in the corner of a shopping center with little or no street visibility, you shouldn’t count on a great deal of breakfast business, better to concentrate on lunch, snack and maybe dinner

Thus, the term location, location, location.

Create Opportunities


For those who come in for lunch only, giving them a BOGO offer may incentivize them to invite a co-worker to join them. In addition to gaining another customer, you benefit from a higher check.

The average test for a well-structured BOGO is generally much higher than the average check. It would help if you also gave these customers an incentive to try your breakfast, snack, or dinner. There are services available that can do this for you automatically, being one.

2. Promote Specific Dayparts

If you’re not readily visible and convenient to commuters, then don’t plan to spend a lot of time and marketing dollars to promote breakfast. Instead, be a great snack resource for customers and employees of the shopping center who are looking for a boost or bite around 3:00pm every day. You may want to create a dinner special or bundle offer that will be attractive to the same group.

3. Catering

Think about catering to local businesses, schools, churches, and teams. Catering can be a great source of revenue, but like anything else, you’ve got to work it to develop a loyal following who will keep reordering if you provide exceptional service.

Stay On Track

Ok, so back to the plan:

  • What are your strongest and weakest dayparts?
  • Do you have a strong lunch business, but not much else?

Once you’ve decided on where you have the best chance to grow, plan to do just that. Track your daypart sales before and during your plan so you know if your local marketing strategy is working and so you can staff accordingly.

In my next blog, we’ll explore local media, how and when to use it to reach the new customers you need and how to develop more frequent visits from existing customers.