KEY POINTS:
* Local Area Marketing (LAM) embraces various methods to boost local awareness of your operation, encourage trial and repeat business and refresh your customer base
* You can add value to the traditional letterbox-drop flyer by including discount coupons or details of meal deal combos valid on certain nights of the week
* Modern digital technology has created a multichannel marketing environment enabling integration of print with digital platforms such as text messaging to smartphones
* Consumers are increasingly using social media to recommend restaurants, cafes, pubs and bistros by posting reviews, photos of meals and other recommendations online, so be sure to include this a component of your LAM campaign

YOU CAN HAVE the best restaurant, café or pizza business in your local area, but regardless of how good the quality of your food is or how much value for money you offer, it’s imperative not to underestimate the importance of publicising your business on an ongoing basis.
Customers can’t give you a go unless they know you’re there, and even those who have already enjoyed a favourable dining experience at your business need to be reminded of your presence and kept abreast of specials, new menu items and discount deals.
The term Local Area Marketing (LAM) embraces the various methods you can use to boost local awareness of your operation, encourage trial and repeat business and refresh your customer base.
The simplest ways of doing this are also the oldest — like external signage to encourage interest, and the traditional printed flyer which you can drop in neighborhood letterboxes or distribute via non-competing local business in a ‘like for like’ exchange.
You can add value to your flyer by including an incentive for your potential customers to visit, such as a coupon to redeem for a free sample product or a discount of say 10 per cent on their first order.
Flyers are also a great way to communicate value meal deals - for example a Friday or Saturday night special of two large pizzas + drink combo at a reduced price; or you might even nominate one special deal for each night of the week.
Local printing businesses are usually a cost-effective source for getting flyers designed up and printed, and with the advent of digital print technology, these days many also offer the ability to personalise messages to provide greater flexibility in delivery to your target market.
For example, if you have built up a database of customer names via on-site survey forms, competition entries or website/smartphone data capture, you can then send out special deal offers or discount coupons personally addressed to those customers as a reward for their ongoing loyalty and repeat business.
These sort of communications would once have been sent by mail but these days text messaging to smartphones is a much more convenient and cost-effective medium.
In fact the rapid evolution of digital media across increasingly mobile platforms has created a multichannel marketing environment which makes it possible to directly target your customer base as never before.
Electronic Direct Marketing is typically linked to SMS (text messaging) technology and digital print businesses are increasingly integrating the digital aspect with the traditional print medium to ensure consistency of presentation across both platforms.
Digital tools such as ‘programmatic marketing’ enable you to manage delivery of your Local Area Marketing Campaign by segmenting target audience/prospect subgroups and data fields. This is a complex way of saying that you are able to personalise the communication while also automating its delivery.
Businesses which provide these services can typically customise LAM solutions to suit your needs — from personalised print direct mail to integrated multichannel marketing campaigns across print, smartphone and web-based platforms.
For example, an effective LAM campaign might include offering discount coupons via your business’ Facebook page, or in conjunction with restaurant review/promotion websites which cover your local area such as Zomato, Trip Advisor and Yelp. With listings searchable by local area, these are valuable not only in providing locals with recommendations about your food but also out of town visitors and tourists.
Promoting your business on social media can generate considerable publicity and increase the likelihood of your business name being seen by more people. Remember, consumers are increasingly using social media to recommend restaurants, cafes, pubs and bistros by posting reviews, photos of meals and other recommendations online.
Other opportunities to market in your local area can include on local radio and in the local newspaper — local radio station ‘morning crews’ typically source information from the local paper, so a mention there can lead to an opportunity for radio coverage. Building strong relationships with local DJs can be valuable as they are often seen as community celebrities and attend local events which can provide further avenues for publicity.
Sponsorship of and participation in these events, such as school fetes, Carols by Candlelight, music festivals and parades can also help familiarise locals with your business — especially where there’s the opportunity to provide food samples.
So don’t confine your Local Area Marketing Activities simply to letterbox drops or text messaging — take a look around your community, see where the publicity opportunities lie, and capitalise upon them.
local neighborhood pizzeria
Your local area is your first source of potential customers
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