2020 was a difficult year for independent restaurants. If yours has managed to keep its doors open, you certainly deserve congratulations. But as we continue to navigate these uncertain times, continuing to market your restaurant will help secure long-term success for years to come.

Moving into 2021, marketing to local audiences will be one of the most solid bets independent restaurants can make. To get you started, here’s four local marketing strategies your independent restaurant can win big with.

Partner With Local Businesses

With the pandemic ravaging businesses nationwide, local business owners have gotten used to doing everything they can to keep things going. Heading into a brand new year, consider making a partnership with a local business.

The best partnerships are mutually beneficial to all parties involved. When exploring a new partnership, take a look at local businesses in the area. Consider their audience and how you’ll approach them. Perhaps you already have a relationship with another local business. That can be a good place to start.

Partnerships can range from fundraisers to joint coupons. Decide what works for your restaurant and go from there.

Local Directories Are Essential

While you may think you’ve covered all the bases regarding local directories (e.g. Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, etc.), there are others that you may want to consider in order to keep your restaurant well promoted with local audiences.

Other than the simple benefit of simply being in a broader selection of directories, doing so will help further optimize your SEO presence. As long as the directories are relevant, this can have a positive boost on your search engine ranking. Ready to get started? Courtesy of Search Engine Journal, click here for a list of web directories worth checking out.

Leverage Loyalty

When it comes to local marketing for independent restaurants, loyalty will help win the day.

Loyal customers are perhaps the most valuable advantage independents hold over their corporate counterparts. And in order to properly take advantage of these locally loyal customers, your restaurant needs to invest in a loyalty program that can effectively keep them engaged on a consistent basis. Your loyal customers want to keep dining with you. You just need to give them reasons to do it more frequently.

In 2021, you’ll need to embrace digital loyalty. Hole-punch cards aren’t going to cut it anymore. You need a loyalty solution that can engage customers via their mobile devices. By doing so, you can remind customers when there’s a deal, send birthday messages, and offer rewards all with the push of a button. And guess what? It’s not difficult (or expensive) to start one at all. To learn more about starting a digital loyalty program, click here.

Location Targeting

Location targeting (also known as geo-targeting) is how your restaurant can run digital ads specific to local customers.

Thanks to the power of platforms like Google and Facebook, your restaurant can blast ads based on highly specific criteria, covering a wide range of demographic information. It’s a great way to attract customers in your local area who’ve never stepped foot inside your restaurant.

Get Started With CoGoBuzz

Whether you’re one of our current customers, or you’re interested in joining the CoGoBuzz family, we’re committed to helping businesses affected by COVID-19.

For current customers, we’re providing free text message service, allowing you to send a link to order online, purchase gift cards, and/or notify customers of new hours.

For new customers, we’re offering our hardware at cost, donating our services, time, and covering shipping costs. Prepare for the future with CoGoWiFi Free to collect your customers’ phone numbers. There are no contracts or monthly fees, and we offer unlimited customer data storage.

Message from our CEO

“From pricing to packaging, our mission has always been to provide customers with unbeatable value. That’s why, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeking to provide the most aggressive offers to help suffering restaurants survive. We believe that half of small restaurants will fail in the year after operations return to normal. The restaurants that survive and thrive will be the ones that win loyalty and focus on bringing customers back over the following year.”

– Steve Gould, CEO

Click here for more details on how we’re handling the crisis.

Have any local marketing tips to share? Let us know in the comments.