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Howdy neighbor

Marketing your business is a huge priority with huge potential to reap huge benefits! Therefore, the bigger campaign, the bigger budget, and the bigger your audience, the bigger results. Right? Wrong.

When it comes to promoting your restaurant, the most effective external marketing happens right in your own back yard. Forget about the radio advertisement that shouts your name out to the greater metropolitan statistical area. Forget about newspaper ads that end up miles away in the bottom of the birdcage. Resist the urge to spend extra cash to reach out and touch someone. As our friends at Moving Targets say, "Stay close to your front door."

It's commonly held that your "neighborhood" — the area from which the majority of your guests come — is within a 3 to 5 mile radius, or 10 to 15 minute drive time of your location. In fact, 75 to 80 percent of your customers live, work and play in your neighborhood. Therefore, it's important to come up with innovative ways to keep yourself top-of-mind with these core customers.

While limiting your marketing area might seem counterintuitive, it actually opens up a whole new set of opportunities. And when your marketing is targeted, your hit rate and return on investment (ROI) are higher... plus you'll spend fewer dollars per marketing campaign. This will allow you to implement a wider variety of marketing initiatives that cater specifically to the people in your neighborhood.

Marketing possibilities

  • Target surrounding merchants and businesses to draw in a lunch crowd, and then bring 'em back for dinner, too.

  • Tell your staff to take a hike — around the block, that is. Let employees distribute flyers or business cards and invite people to your operation. A small gift certificate never hurts, either.

  • Be involved in grassroots and community-based activities.

  • Seek out new residents, and invite them for a meal.

  • Are there schools in the vicinity? Look for ways to market to families through their kids, such as sponsoring a sports team. Check out our Most Valuable Player program for details.

We've detailed some marketing campaigns designed specifically to reach your neighborhood market.

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