by Will Robinson, Chief Marketing Officer, Ledo Pizza
In today’s business climate, consumers expect to gather information about a brand at the touch of a button. Our world has changed drastically with the digital age, and with this shift, we’ve developed a whole new way to effectively market to consumers.
Search engine marketing is a low-cost, geo-targeted advertising opportunity that supports franchisees by bringing in more foot traffic. In the past few years, we’ve seen the strategy skyrocket with consumers. Think with Google reported in 2019 that in the two years prior, mobile queries for “where to buy” plus “near me” grew by over 200%.
When the pandemic forced dining rooms to close across the country, many restaurants survived because they had robust delivery and to-go strategies in place. Other brands creatively introduced additional revenue opportunities to bounce back. At Ledo Pizza, we launched many innovative tactics at the onset of the pandemic, but what really enabled our franchise to succeed was our well-established digital infrastructure.
Because we were already ahead of the technology curve before the COVID-19 crisis, we were well-positioned to support our franchisees by efficiently marketing to consumers across our system. Google’s listing management tool – Google My Business – proved to be vital in our customer communication process at all of our locations. Every day, we manage thousands of pages per franchisee to ensure every location’s information, like menu and hours of operation, is consistent and accurate.
Throughout the pandemic, several of our restaurants were changing their hours and service styles, so we acted fast and updated their pages immediately with this information. We also used the tool to communicate how Ledo Pizza was combatting COVID-19 at each restaurant, so when guests searched us on Google, they felt safe before even heading to the location.
In addition, we prepared all web properties to be compliant with Google’s new shift to hyperlocal search engine results by implementing the Schema language to tell the search engine to pinpoint a location and show that this restaurant has “pepperoni pizza,” for example. Having a high rank on a search that gets a ton of traffic leads to more people walking through our franchisees’ doors!
While search engine marketing was crucial during the pandemic, our efforts go far beyond just updating hours and carryout information for our franchisees. Our listings for popular sites like Google, Bing, Apple Maps, Yelp and TripAdvisor include several location-specific attributes, such as wheelchair accessibility and outdoor dining. This is incredibly important because various media channels will often create roundups centered around these terms, which ultimately drives more traffic for our operators. We also take advantage of channels that allow postings so our franchisees can create local content about upcoming events at their locations.
As a franchisor, we work hard to create an environment of success. It’s our responsibility to not only equip our franchisees with the necessary skills to run a restaurant but also support them on the backend however we can. Consumers’ behaviors were changing before the pandemic, but now they have completely transformed. Guests are looking for detailed information before they make a restaurant choice and we have to adapt to this new expectation. By leveraging digital marketing at Ledo Pizza, we’re catering to the current consumer and setting our franchisees up for long-term success!