08 Oct 7 Best Ways to Reach Local Customers
For many small businesses, and restaurants in particular, it is essential to reach people nearby. Reaching local customers presents a unique challenge: our world has become so globalized, but you want to scale it back and reach people who are local.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools and methods available to help you reach the right people in your area. Below are 7 of the best ways you can target a local audience for your restaurant.
1. Targeted Ads
One of the most common and effective ways to reach people in a certain geographic area, if your budget allows, is through targeted digital ads. Sites like Facebook and Google allow you to target the ads you’re running to only be shown to people in a certain area. You can select a location, and choose a radius around it to ensure your ads are being shown to a relevant local audience.
2. Local Hashtags and Location Tags
Hashtags can help you reach people not only within your niche or industry, but within your area as well. The explosion of food and lifestyle bloggers in recent years has led to extensive use of hashtags that are specific to a certain city, state, or general area. For instance, there are tens of thousands of posts that use #STLfood and #STLfoodie. Both by using these types of hashtags on your own posts, and by searching other posts that use these hashtags, you can reach new people to engage with and who you can persuade to become future customers.
Location tags can help you in a similar way. People like to tag their location when they visit a cool restaurant or fun attraction. Search location tags near your area to reach people who are getting out and exploring nearby. These could be great people to engage with and spread the word about your brand!
3. Partner with Other Local Businesses
Another way to potentially increase your local exposure is through relationships with other local businesses. If you can form a partnership or collaboration with another small business in the area, you can reach not only your own fans, but the fans of the other business as well. For instance, try offering a limited-time special made with ingredients from a local grocer, butcher, or farm. You and the other business can cross-promote and expand your reach, while also helping to drive short-term sales.
4. Partner with Local Influencers
In addition to building relationships with other businesses in your area, you should make use of the local influencer scene as well. Influencers who focus their posts specifically on their local community tend to have followers concentrated mainly within that community as well. By collaborating with these local influencers, you can reach a relevant audience that extends beyond your own social media following and brings in some new eyes. Offer free food or paid collaborations to a handful of popular local influencers, and you should see your own following growing in no time at all.
5. Join Community Groups
Many websites and social media channels also have community groups that have formed as places for people to interact with their neighbors and engage with their community. These groups can be anything from message boards to Facebook groups. As another way to interact with people nearby, try locating and joining as many relevant community groups as you can. You can post about your business, share deals and specials you’re running, and engage in conversations that are relevant to those in your neighborhood. This can be a very personal way to interact with potential future customers in your area.
Another digital method that reaches people based on location is geofencing. Geofencing is a great way to capture an audience in a very specific area, such as a few-mile radius around your restaurant or even around competitors’ locations. Geofencing uses GPS capabilities on people’s mobile devices to send your advertising only to people currently located in a certain area. Harnessing the power of geofencing can really help you hone in on a specific audience and keep things local. (Note: This technology is not always the easiest to use if you’re inexperienced, but we can help. You can learn more about our location-based marketing and geofencing services now.)
7. Participate in Events
Finally, sometimes it is helpful to step outside of the digital realm and find ways to meet local customers directly. Most cities and towns have events throughout the year, from farmer’s markets to concerts to fall festivals and all kinds of things in between. You should consider signing up to be a vendor at some of these local events. Digital channels can work wonders for your marketing, but sometimes all it takes is a little bit of facetime to convince someone to give your restaurant a try.
Thus, there are numerous ways to reach a local audience, both digitally and offline. Utilizing even a few of these methods and techniques can help you reach the right audience nearby and grow your brand locally.