10 Proven Pizza Advertising Ideas To Scale In 2024

Let's grow your pizzeria in 2024. Here's a list of proven ideas.

17 min read
October 18, 2023

Key takeaways

Over the last two years, we’ve helped hundreds of independent pizzerias scale their revenue and profit margins.

We’ve seen new owners revitalize old brands, using the internet to drive an additional $20,000 per month in commission-free orders.

And we’ve seen established pizzerias go from breaking even on DoorDash orders to bringing in $24,000 per month in direct orders through their website.

In this guide, I’m going to break down the 10 most effective pizza advertising ideas that we’ve seen used over the last two years — ideas that are the most likely to be effective as you seek to scale over the next 12 months and beyond.

1. Send A Flier To New Residents

Continuing with the theme of physical mail, here is a very specific, very effective promotional campaign from Punxsy Pizza that is absolute gold.

The campaign was designed by Scott Anthony, and I personally think every independent pizzeria should be doing this, especially if none of your competitors have started doing it yet.

Whenever a home is sold in the area serviced by Punxsy Pizza, Scott mails the new homeowner the following flier:

There are several reasons this advertising idea is so brilliant:

  • Compelling offer: everybody loves free food with no strings attached
  • Perfect timing: new residents are likely to try Scott’s pizza before his competitors
  • Storytelling: the great offer motivates people to read Scott’s brand story

And I can tell you from speaking with Scott behind-the-scenes that this strategy works like CRAZY. 

Now, like we talked about earlier, you wouldn’t want to make an offer like this in your zip-code-wide direct mail campaign. You aren’t going to break even on this initially. The goal here is long term customer value.

So why are we okay with losing some money on this particular campaign?

Because it’s very targeted and low-volume.

You are ONLY sending these fliers to new residents, which means you aren’t in danger of your kitchen being flooded with unpaid pizza orders overnight.

You are going to be investing $4-5 per pizza to create new customers who will likely be worth $30-50 per month to your business for years.

Trust me on this. This pizza promotion idea is so easy to run, and it is nearly guaranteed to bring in a positive Return on Investment for your business.

Here's a short case study of how this worked:

2. Run A Crazy Food Challenge

Eating pizza is a predictable experience, so one of the best ways to grab attention to your pizzeria is to offer something... unpredictable.

In 2012, a New Zealand-based pizza chain called Hell’s Pizza launched the “Pizza Roulette” challenge. This promotion involved inviting customers to order a pizza with 2 drops of ghost pepper chili sauce added to one, undisclosed slice. 

Whoever happened upon that slice would experience the world’s hottest chili sauce, and the potential pain involved in this challenge caused it to make headlines around the world. 

The results were massive.

Not only did Hell Pizza have its biggest sales day of all time during this advertising campaign, but the previously unknown chain became a global tourist attraction for visitors who were unable to visit New Zealand during the two-month promotion window.

This is the power that unpredictability and advertising can have on a small brand.

It cost Hell Pizza very little to run this promotional event — just the cost of the chili sauce and some advertising spend to get the word out initially — and it resulted in a multi-year boost to their revenue and overall brand awareness.

What sort of wild, unpredictable food challenge could you run at your pizzeria?


3. Send Strategic Voicemail Drops

Voicemail drops allow you to deposit a voice message right on your customers’ phones without it ever ringing. 

It’s a very non-intrusive way to get a message to your customers that will receive an unprecedented 96% listen rate. Not even SMS marketing gets this level of engagement.

pizza advertising ideas

No other marketing or advertising idea will get this level of reception.

So how does it work?

To use voicemail drops, you’ll need to hire a third-party company to help you. Companies can charge as little as $0.01 per voicemail and as much as $0.20 per voicemail.

Once you’ve selected your company, you’ll need to upload a contact list. These will be the phone numbers of customers that have given you permission to contact them. 

A great way to collect these numbers is to include a checkbox on your online ordering page. By leaving the box checked, customers will give you permission to call them to leave marketing messages.

If you haven’t been collecting your customer data, START NOW! You are leaving a ton of money on the table by not being able to reach out to your customers.

Once your contact list is uploaded, create a concise, 30-second message that includes:

  • Your pizzeria name
  • A specific offer
  • How to get the offer

Here’s an example:

Hello, my name is Adam Guild and I’m calling from Adam’s Pizzeria. We’re running a special offer for our local customers this week, so I wanted to tell you that you can get half-off any of our large pizzas, this week only. To get this deal, go to AdamsPizza.com and order coupon code “LA” at checkout. That’s “L” as in Lima and “A” as in “Alfa”. You can also Google our name, but make sure to click-through and order through OUR website to get the deal. Thanks and have a great evening!

The offer you choose can be anything — a discount, deal, new menu item, new online ordering system, delivery, etc. — just make sure to deliver the message as though you’re talking to an actual person, rather than reading it off a card. If you sound stilted and rehearsed, your message will fall flat.

Once your voicemail is recorded, you’ll need to schedule it.

graph showing best times for phone marketing

Because ringless voicemail can be checked at the recipient’s convenience, you don’t have to worry too much about the time of day. 

But since pizza is a convenient and affordable “spur of the moment” dinner, think about when people are starting to make dinner decisions. A voicemail drop in the mid-afternoon is a great way to remind customers about your restaurant and give your business a boost that evening.

Also, make sure that whoever is monitoring the phones right after your voicemail drop knows that it’s happening. Sometimes people will call the number back directly, without listening to the voicemail. You want the person who answers the phone to be aware of the content of the voicemail to prevent confusion.

4. Partner With Popular People

One of the quickest ways to get in front of new customers is to find someone who already has an audience made up of potential customers and partner with them.

Right now, there are people in your area who have built large audiences connected to food. They might be food bloggers, chefs, local attraction bloggers, newscasters, etc.

Regardless of their specific title, if they have an audience of potential pizza lovers, they are a great person to partner with as advertising for your restaurant.

The simplest form of advertising here is simply to pay them to recommend your pizzeria or to help you promote something like a giveaway:

Personally, I think an even better option is to find someone who is actively involved in creating food and partner with them on a new menu item.

Thanks to sites like Youtube, Tiktok, and Instagram, there are millions of amateur and semi-pro chefs with large online followings. A lot of these “chefs” have never been able to create something in a commercial setting and would jump at the chance to partner with an established restaurant and get something they’ve created onto a real menu.

You could partner with them to create one of their recipes, or you could simply field some preferences from them and create the recipe yourself but then name it after them on the menu.

If you already have a well-known brand in your area, you might not need to pay these creators anything. Doing a profit share on their menu item will work for some. Chefs with larger audiences will probably want some form of payment.

The key here is that you are going to be cross-marketing with other people in your area who have established audiences and are also actively growing those audiences. As they grow, the benefit you’ll get from being connected to them will increase as well.

5. Run a Chatbot Giveaway

Chatbot giveaways are a fun way to “gamify” your marketing efforts while using technology to do all the legwork for you.

You’ll be getting your brand in front of customers and potential customers, and you’ll be collecting email and phone information so that you can use some of the other promotion ideas I’ll be showing you in this guide.

Your chatbot giveaway will consist of four basic steps:

  1. Decide on a giveaway and set up your Facebook ad
  2. Set up your chatbot flow
  3. Integrate your chatbot with a place to store the contact information that you’ll collect during the giveaway
  4. Post your ad and watch the fireworks!

Let’s start at the beginning.

Choose A Giveaway Offer

To start, come up with a great giveaway. 

We need something really big and impressive here. You will only be giving this away ONE time, so don’t skimp on this. A great example is “free pizza for a year”. That may sound expensive at first, but you could give the winner a free medium pizza every week for a year, and it’s only going to cost you around $250. In reality, the winner would likely only redeem 25-50% of that, dropping your costs down to $150.

marketing pizza

Next, you need to set up your Facebook ad. 

Create Your Image

Your ad image needs to be eye-catching. You don’t want people to scroll by without stopping.

So choose one of your absolute best photos. 

Make sure the light is bright, but not washed out. You want those colors to pop.

But also make sure the image is relevant. If your best picture has nothing to do with your giveaway, you’ll need to find something else. 

The ideal size for Facebook photos is 1200 x 630 pixels. Make sure your image is optimized for that size so you don’t lose resolution.

Once you’ve chosen your photo, it is a good idea to add some text. You can improve your visual impact with a short call for attention included in your image.

Make sure your text is brief. If you add text that covers more than 20% of the image surface, your ad may have reduced reach (or may not run at all). 

To add text, use a free program like Canva. It will let you add text in a large variety of fonts and colors.

pizza advertising ideas

Write The Copy

Your copy needs to grab the attention of your desired audience right away. So make it very clear who you’re trying to reach, like this: 

  • Hey pizza fanatics!
  • Attention pizza lovers!
  • Read this if you like free pizza!

Once you have their attention, you’re going to provide the details of the giveaway. Explain how people can enter, as well as when you’ll be selecting a winner.

Make sure that you include a call to action (CTA)! The CTA is the next step that you want the user to take. 

In this case, you want them to comment on your ad in order to enter your contest and to trigger your chatbot. 

Don’t make the mistake of asking users to say “yes” or “interested” in order to enter. You want the comments to appear organic, not spammy. 

So ask them to say something that won’t be the same for everyone. 

For example, you could ask what their favorite pizza topping is.  Or you could also ask them to comment with the weirdest pizza combo they’ve ever heard of.

Once you’ve perfected your copy, schedule your post for a couple of days in advance. We have more steps to complete, and you need to give yourself plenty of time.

advertising pizza

Design Your Your Chatbot

Now that you have set up your Facebook post, it’s time to set up your chatbot. 

There are several good chatbot programs out there, like ManyChat or Chatfuel. These programs will let you set up the flow of your chatbot’s conversation. 

To get this set up in ManyChat, you’ll need a Pro account, which costs $10 per month. But it’s worth the cost. 

You’ll use this chatbot to request email addresses or phone numbers, which you can use later for additional marketing. 

After you set up your ManyChat account and linked it to your business page, you’ll set up a “New Growth Tool”. 

Then you’ll select “Facebook comments”, and choose the Facebook post that we’ve already scheduled. This will tell ManyChat that we’re linking our chatbot to that specific Facebook post.

sync a scheduled post on ManyChat

Then when someone comments on your Facebook post, they’ll get your personalized auto-response. 

Here, you can ask them to respond in order to subscribe to your Facebook messages.

pizza advertising ideas

Then click “Save & Activate”. 

Now we’re going to set up your chatbot conversation. 

Click Flows on the left, and then select your giveaway and click “Edit Flow” in the top right corner. 

The first thing to remember is to make it fun! Include images, gifs, or emojis to punch up your chatbot’s conversation. 

If you want to ask for contact info like email addresses or phone numbers, use the “+User Input” option. This is only allowed in the paid version of ManyChat.

If you don’t want to collect contact info, you can use the free version. You’ll still get big engagement on your giveaway post, but you won’t gather those email addresses.

If you are asking for an email address, make sure to “tag” the Free Keyboard Input as an email address. This will be helpful later in organizing the information on a spreadsheet.

advertising pizza

After you’ve set up your flow, click Preview. This will let you sample the flow through your own Facebook Messenger account.

Now that your flow is done, the next step is to send those email addresses somewhere you can find them. 

Setup Your Integration

To save your email addresses, we’re going to use a free app called Zapier. This will pull the email addresses from ManyChat into a Google Sheet. 

First, create a Zapier account. Then click “Make a Zap” on the top right. 

Zapier sets up “triggers” and “actions.” Once your triggering event occurs, Zapier will automatically initiate the action. 

Your first trigger will be from “ManyChat”, so click that icon. Then select your Trigger Event — “New Tagged User”.

pizza advertising ideas

Select your ManyChat account, and then select the “Tag” dropdown menu. Choose "Email Address".

Now we’ll set up the action that will occur when the Trigger event happens. For our action, we’ll select the Google Sheets icon. 

Then “Create Spreadsheet Row”, and sign in to Google Sheets when prompted.

For exact details on what your spreadsheet should look like for this to work, check out these instructions. Once your spreadsheet is set up, refresh your browser. 

Zapier will populate your fields based on your spreadsheet.

Click Finish, and turn on your Zap!

Target Your Audience

Once your ad is scheduled, chatbot flow is set up, and it’s all integrated, it’s time to let your post go. But since organic engagement is generally low on Facebook, we’re going to give it a boost.

Go to your post and click on “Boost Post”. 

Then we’re going to run an Engagement Ad. And this is where we’ll lock down our audience.

promotions for pizzerias

You want to narrow down your audience so you’ll get the best return on your ad spend. Think about who would be the most likely to be interested in this giveaway and your restaurant.

A good place to start is your city and an age group. If you know that most of your customers are between 25 and 45, that may be a good age range.

pizza advertising ideas

If your audience is still broader than you’d like, you may want to narrow it down further by interest.

You can choose broad interests, like “pizza”. Or you use interests to try to poach some of your competitor’s fans. 

Generally, independent restaurants won’t show up as interests on Facebook. But the big dogs like Papa John’s and Domino’s will.

select specific interests in Facebook ads

Once you’re happy with your audience, you can Boost your post and watch the engagement skyrocket!

Lots of potential new customers will see your ad, and they’ll jump at the chance to win your big prize.

They’ll comment on your Facebook post to enter, triggering the chatbot conversation. Then they’ll subscribe to your Facebook messages and provide their email address or phone number. 

When you select the winner, you’ll let them know over Messenger. 

But you can also message ALL the losers. Let them know that they didn’t win, but you hope they’ll still come by.

Maybe give them a little consolation prize, like a coupon for free breadsticks or a discount on a pizza!

Beyond just the immediate benefits of this chatbot contest, getting used to chatbots may help you out in the future. This is one of those pizza advertising ideas that isn't going anywhere soon!

56% of customers say they prefer to use messages instead of phone calls. And as chatbots grow more sophisticated, that number will continue to grow.

Some big pizza chains are already experimenting with taking orders through chatbot. 


6. Target Custom Audiences

Facebook custom audiences are a perfect way to connect with smaller, segmented groups of your customers who have shown interest in your brand or pizza in general.

By segmenting, you can better match your pizza advertising ideas to your customer needs and interests, instead of hitting them with a one-size-fits-all marketing approach. 

To start, you’ll need to enter your Facebook Business Manager. 

From here, click on the menu icon on the top left, and then select Audiences.

Then click Create Audience, and Create Custom Audience.

pizza advertising ideas

From here, you can see the different types of custom audiences that you can create on Facebook.

types of custom audiences in Facebook

I’m going to explain these different types of audiences to you, one at a time.

Target Based On Website Traffic

Audiences based on website traffic can be incredibly valuable. 

You can build your audiences based on a number of different behaviors that customers (or potential customers) take on your website. 

In order to let Facebook track your website traffic, you need to install the Facebook Pixel on your site. 

Back in the main menu in the Business Manager, click “Pixels” under Measure & Report. Click “+Add”, and then name your Pixel. 

Click Create. Then click “Set up the Pixel Now”.

From here, you’ll decide if you’re going to add the pixel to your site yourself, or send the instructions to your web developer.

If you decide to set it up yourself, the next steps will depend on your website platform.

Once you have the Pixel installed, Facebook will follow your website visitors back to Facebook. It will then let you create audiences of people who have taken certain actions on your website.

For example, you could make an audience of people who have visited a certain page on your website, or people who made a purchase.

Target Based On Your Customer List 

Facebook also lets you create custom audiences based on the contact information that you’ve gathered, like email addresses or phone numbers.

This is one of the most solid pizza advertising ideas, because it lets you market to people who have already expressed interest in your restaurant.

When you upload your contact lists, Facebook will match that contact information to active Facebook accounts.

Not every person who has given you their email address will be Facebook users. But since about 70% of US adults use the platform, most will have an account.

Target Based On App Activity

If you have a loyalty app for your pizzeria, you can create a custom audience based on your app users. 

To do this, you’ll need to add “App Events” to your app, so you can track actions. Since this step requires a Facebook Developer account, you may need some help.

Ask your app developer if they can get this set up for you. 

Once it’s set up, you can use Facebook Ads to target app users who haven’t logged in for a while, or to promote double reward points.

Target Based On Offline Activity

A custom audience based on offline activity includes people who have been into your restaurant, or even called on the phone. 

In the Facebook Business Manager, go to the Events Manager. Then click “Add New Data Source”, and “Offline Event Set”.

pizza advertising ideas

You can make an event set based on people who have entered your pizzeria, made a purchase, and other activity. Facebook can monitor who enters your restaurant based on their location tracking in the app on customers’ smartphones.

Then you can upload your sales information in spreadsheet form. Facebook will match the sales data with Facebook profiles, letting you send targeted ads to those customers.

You can also use this data to track the effectiveness of your ads. Facebook can compare the customers who entered your location with people who were exposed to your Facebook ad, giving you a more accurate estimate of ROI. 

Target Based On Facebook Tools

With this option, you can create custom audiences based on people who have interacted with your Facebook page or posts. 

You can include people who: 

  • have watched your videos
  • visited your profile on Facebook or Instagram
  • expressed interest in an event
  • Like or follow your Facebook page
Create custom audience of people who are interested in your events on Facebook

Before planning your pizza advertising, you’ll need to determine the goal of your ad. Are you more interested in awareness or sales? 

Knowing this will help you plan your ad and select the right copy and call to action. 

Experiment with these different audiences to see what works best for you and where you get the best results for the lowest investment. 

7. Leverage Facebook Retargeting

If you remember nothing more from this post, remember this: every business should have retargeting ads running at all times.

Every business.

This goes beyond pizzerias and restaurants in general. Retargeting ads should be a foundational marketing principle for every business today.

Retargeting is simply sending ads to people who have already visited your website. It’s expensive to get someone to your website the first time, but it’s pretty cheap and much more effective to get them back a second time.

Only 2% of shoppers make a purchase on their first visit to a website. That means 98% visit your site and leave without buying anything!

But retargeted website visitors are 70% more likely to become paying customers than those who aren’t retargeted.

retargeting ads for pizza restaurants

Once you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel on your site, you can use it to build custom audiences to retarget. 

In the Facebook Business Manager, go to Audience. Then click Create an Audience, and  Custom Audience. 

Then click Website Traffic.

pizza restaurant marketing

From here, you can decide what groups you want to retarget.

You can select:

  • All website visitors
  • Visitors to certain pages
  • Visitors by time spent on your website

Retargeting isn’t limited to Facebook, by the way. 

You can retarget with Google Ads or Outbrain as well. But to prevent getting too complicated, I’m going to focus on Facebook retargeting in this section.

Option #1: All Website Visitors

Retargeting “all website visitors” casts a wide net, but it may not be the best choice. 

To get a little more insight here, check out your Google Analytics and look for your bounce rate.

That’s the number of people who left your website after visiting only one page, and it can be high — an average of 41% to 55% of your website traffic. Very often, those people navigated to your website on accident. 

a website bounce rate

If you spend ad money retargeting all website visitors, you could be throwing half of it away. Instead, you want to focus on the site visitors that are more likely to be interested in your pizza. 

Option #2: Visitors to Certain Pages

By retargeting visitors to certain pages, you can provide more specific, personalized ads. 

For example, if you have a catering page, you could retarget visitors to that page to promote your offsite catering services.

This pizzeria and brewpub has a “Live Tap Feed” where they show a current image of the tap wall. They could retarget visitors to this page (beer lovers) when they make a change to the tap wall.

tap wall live feed

Option #3: Visitors by Time Spent on Your Website

If someone has spent a few minutes or more on your website, you can assume that they had some interest in your pizza. 

So you can retarget the people who spent the most time on your site. 

pizza promotion ideas

Select your time frame, and then choose the top 5%, 10%, or 25% of visitors by time spent.

Option #4: Retargeting Abandoned Carts

If you do online ordering, you can also retarget based on cart abandonment. 

What can we infer if someone put an order together and was ready to check out, but then left your site? Possibly that the total bill was too expensive.

Retarget cart abandoners with a coupon to encourage them to think again. Create a sense of urgency by giving it a time limit, like 24 hours.

And of course, you can retarget people who have made a purchase. Your existing customers will be responsible for 65% of your restaurant’s sales, so don’t neglect them!

Run Your Retargeting Ads

Facebook Ads aren’t free. So you want to make each view count.

To make your retargeting ads effective, here are some helpful tips.

First, include a strong Call to Action (CTA).

Your Call to Action tells the customer what they should do next. So make it a strong one. You can include a CTA in your copy, and add a CTA button on to your ad. 

pizza advertising ideas

The CTA button options that are provided by Facebook are limited, but you could use “See Menu”, “Shop Now”, or “Get Offer” if you’re providing a coupon code. 

In your copy, start with a strong action word in your CTA, and build a sense of urgency. “Order now” and “Call Today” tell people exactly what to do, and when.

Second, tell people they are being retargeted.

How many websites do you go to on average per day? I’ve been to 143 today. 

With that kind of volume, people can easily forget a pizzeria website they visited a few days ago.

So let them know they’re being retargeted. It will remind them of their previous interest, and they’ll know that this message is personalized. 

Need some ways to let them know without saying “Hey, we’re retargeting you!”? How about these?

  • Hey, you left something in your cart!
  • Remember us?
  • Come back for a one-time offer…..
pizza marketing ideas

Third, split test your images.

How will you know what ads will get you the best results for each different group that you’re retargeting?

You won’t. Not unless you do some testing. 

A/B tests let you change one thing about your ad and present it to different segments of your target audience. 

how to set up a split test on Facebook

Images are responsible for a huge 75 - 90% of ad performance, so this is definitely something you should test!

You could also experiment with different headlines or calls-to action. 

Send it out to a small portion of your desired audience. Then see which version performs better.

Make sure you’re only changing one thing at a time. If you make more than one change, you won’t know which one is responsible for the better ad performance.  

Once you know which version is best, you can send it out to the rest of that audience. It is an extra step in the process, but if it gets you a few more customers, it could be worth it!


8. Sponsor Instagram Stories

Did you know that pizza is the most Instagrammed food in the world?

Instagram is THE go-to social media channel for restaurants in general, but it’s especially powerful for pizzerias.

The key to succeeding as a pizzeria is combining paid ads with organic content on the platform.

Here’s everything you need to do to find pizza advertising success on Instagram.

Start With Great Content

The first part of your Instagram strategy is obviously the content. Without great photos and clever captions, you won’t be gaining any new followers.

You don’t need to buy expensive camera equipment to take nice photos for Instagram. Most recent-generation phones have excellent cameras, and will work just fine.

But you need to make sure your setup is optimal. 

Make sure you’re taking your picture in bright, natural light. But watch out for glare.

Also, check the background. Move that napkin dispenser out of the way so you have a nice clean backdrop. 

Action shots are great for Instagram. Instead of a pizza lying on a tray, how about a slice being pulled away, with gooey cheese still connected to the pie?

That’s a great photo. 

pizza promotion ideas on Instagram

To make sure your photos look their best, you can use an app like Snapseed or Over to play with brightness and saturation levels.

For a slightly dim, dingy image, try these settings: 

  • Brightness +10
  • Contrast +13
  • Saturation +18
  • Ambiance +10
  • Warmth +7

These may not be 100% perfect depending on how bright or dark your original picture was, but they’ll be a good place to start. Check out the difference:

im image of pizza slices being pulled from a pie
bright image of pizza slices being pulled from a pie

Tweak your settings until you find the best way to make your pictures pop.

Another content tip —  don’t neglect video! Videos do really well on Instagram, receiving 38% more engagement than images and over double the comments. 

You don’t need to do long, complicated videos. Just a few seconds of a pizza coming out of the oven or a beer being poured into a glass can get you an engagement boost.

Once you’ve selected your image or video, you’ll need to come up with a caption. There is an infinite variety of captions that you could write about pizza! 

I recommend mixing up your caption strategy. Use some short, punny captions interspersed with longer, more serious captions. 

You can talk about some of your cooking methods, or express gratitude for your loyal customers. Even if you have a fun, off-the-cuff style, it’s a good idea to switch up your captions so your readers don’t get bored.

Use Strategic Tagging 

There is more to Instagram tags than just hashtags (although those are important). There are also user tags and location tags, and you’ll want to use all three for organic growth. 

Tagging your restaurant’s location can result in 79% higher engagement on Instagram, so you should tag it every single time you post something. 

You also want to tag users whenever possible, but only if it’s relevant. Tagging 5 random people on a photo is spammy and won’t get you the growth you’re looking for.

But you could take some photos of customers enjoying a pizza at your restaurant. Ask them if they’d share their Instagram profile names with you.

Then when you post the photo, you can tag the users, increasing the likelihood that they’ll engage with you on that photo and in the future. Plus, photos with faces get 38% more likes than photos without them!

You can also repost user-generated content. You should get permission from the original poster before you use their images, and always give photo credit.

pizza advertising

This is a great way to encourage users to post their own photos of your pizza, and to engage with your customers. And Instagram users really like it. 

It builds a brand’s authenticity and increases engagement by as much as 6.9x.

Use Popular Hashtags

The last important tag to use on Instagram is the hashtag. Hashtags help people on Instagram to find new content. 

You can add up to 30 hashtags on each image or video, and up to 10 on each Instagram story. 

But you don’t need to include that many. Opinions differ on the “optimal” number of hashtags, but some studies say 9 to 11 is the sweet spot.

So what hashtags should you use? 

You can tag literally anything you want, but your goal with hashtags is to help people find your content. So using a hashtag that no one has ever used before isn’t going to help much.

On the other hand, if your only hashtag is #pizza, your content will get buried in the 42 million other posts using that hashtag.

pizza restaurant ads

So you’ll want to use a variety of tags on each post, including some common tags, and some that are more niche. 

You can also use location hashtags, like #[yourtown] and #[yourneighborhood]. 

Some options: 

  • #pizzalover
  • #pizzatime 
  • #pizzaparty
  • #[town]pizza
  • #[town]foodie
  • #thincrustpizza
  • #deepdishpizza

You can also look at what your competitors are doing, and try some of those hashtags as well. 

For your Instagram stories, what to do with hashtags can cause confusion. After all, there is no “caption” area in stories, and adding 10 hashtags will really clutter up your image.

A great solution is to hide them. 

Instead of this: 

izza restaurant marketing

You can have this: 

pizza promotion ideas

Just shrink your hashtags, and cover them up with text, stickers, or gifs.

pizza marketing ideas

You can do this with hashtags, location tags, and usertags. This way, you still get the benefit of the tag, but you can still keep your stories looking really clean.

Post At Optimal Times

So now that you know what to post, do you know when to post?

Believe it or not, but there are optimal times to post on Instagram for the most engagement. 

This chart shows the best times to post for engagement on a global level, which is a good place to start. 

best times for pizza promotions on Instagram

But you aren’t really concerned with the best overall time for Instagram posts. 

You’re more concerned with when your followers are most engaged. That’s the audience that matters. 

Fortunately, Instagram business profile insights let you see when your followers are active. 

Under Insights, click on Audience. Then, scroll down to the “Followers” section. 

You can check your follower’s activity by hours of the day or days of the week.

advertising for pizzerias

For this particular account, posting in the afternoon will be much more effective than posting in the morning. 

If you’re concerned about missing your prime window for posts, use a scheduling app like Buffer or Hootsuite. These services will let you schedule all your content in advance and automatically post it for you at the time you select. 

Incorporate Paid Ads

In speaking with several restaurateurs who are very effective on Instagram, I’ve found that more and more are relying on paid ads to supplement their organic activity on Instagram.

You don’t need to rewrite the playbook for your instagram ads.

Just do the same thing you’re already doing, but then run the content that does well as a sponsored post.

The best fit for these is stories.

Take your best performing stories and then run them as paid stories.

This will put your brand in front of new customers in the area of the app they engage with most.

As you create new offers to try, you can include them as a sponsored story as well.

How much you spend really comes down to your budget and how aggressively you want to grow. But regardless of your budget, mixing paid ads with regular organic content is the key to success on Instagram today.

9. Run An Evergreen Offer

There’s a difference between advertising campaigns that you run once and advertising campaigns that you run continuously. Continuous campaigns are often referred to as “evergreen” because they stay on and profitable (green) year-round.

The advertising idea I’m about to share for you is a simple-yet-effective offer that you can send out:

  • To both new and returning customers
  • Via your website, email, text, facebook ads, instagram, etc
  • All day, every day, year-round

In fact, the following offer is consistently the most effective promotion we see run over the thousands of businesses that use the Owner.com platform.

It’s the simple percentage discount offer.

Here’s an example from Deen’s Cheesesteak and Pizza in Houston, Texas.

Deen’s uses this offer specifically for facebook ads as a way to drive new business and retarget previous customers who haven’t been back to the restaurant in 30 days.

A lot of our Owner.com partners use this as a monthly offer to members of their loyalty program.

We’ve seen restaurants succeed with this same offer via direct mail, instagram, and many other methods.

Why is it so effective?

To be honest, I think the answer is simplicity. It’s easy for customers to understand 20% off. It’s easy for restaurants to deliver 20% off of orders. 

Plus, it’s a reasonable offer for both parties. It provides a nice savings on larger orders for the customer, but it doesn’t completely eliminate the margin for the restaurant.

Just remember to create some urgency and limit your liability by making the time time-sensitive. There should always be an expiration date on these, and it should be within 1-4 weeks of the offer being made.

10. Run A Direct-Mail Campaign

Direct mail may seem old fashioned, but as more and more marketing moves online, offline advertising methods like direct mail are making a major comeback.

The volume of direct mail has decreased about 30% since 2006, which means there’s a lot less competition for independent pizzerias looking to attract local customers. 

marketing for pizza

In fact, where people used to get annoyed by physical mail, we’ve now grown so used to online chatter, that mail in the mailbox is a welcome change.

Most importantly, the numbers supporting direct mail are staggering. 

39% of customers say they will try a business for the first time as a result of direct mail ads, and 79% of pizza fans reported responding to a direct mail ad within the past year.

There’s an old marketing rule called the 40/40/20 rule. It says that 40% of your success is reaching the right audience and 40% is how good your offer is. Only 20% is presentation and format. 

So I’m going to break down our explanation of direct mail into those three categories. 

How to Find The Right Audience

Reaching the right audience is the first important part of your direct mail campaign. 

Your “house list”, or the people you already have a relationship with, will be one of your audiences. House lists have an average 9% response rate, which beats out most digital marketing methods.

promotions for pizzerias

New, potential customers will be the other part of your audience. The direct mail response rate for these “prospects” is currently 5% — the highest ever reported by the Data & Marketing Association. 

Given you likely have a fixed range in terms of your delivery radius, you’ll only be sending direct mail to people within the delivery area you service.

pizza restaurant marketing

Once you’ve settled on the geographical location, I recommend simply doing a saturation mailing. This means that you will send out direct mail to every single address in a given zip code or set of neighborhoods.

This type of mailing will be larger in volume and it won’t be personalized, but you will get the best postage rates, and you won’t have to worry about building or sourcing a specific list of addresses. You’ll just be sending mail to every single household in the designated area.

Now let’s talk about what you’ll actually be sending to people in the mail.

How To Craft The Right Offer

Once your audience is selected, it’s time to work out the right offer for your campaign. 

You want to offer something that is compelling enough to get people into your pizzeria but not so extreme that you lose money on it. Make sure you are still breaking even on your offer at minimum.

Some great options here include:

  • Free 2-liter of soda with purchase of any large pizza
  • BOGO medium pizza
  • BOGO individual slices
  • Free appetizer with purchase of any large pizza
  • 50% off any large speciality pizza

Anything on your menu that is popular and high-margin is a great fit for your offer.

Don’t be stingy here, but at the same time, never make an offer you wouldn’t want people to accept. If you get 20 new orders per day taking advantage of this offer over the next month, will that hurt your business? 

If so, it’s the wrong offer.

How To Create The Right Presentation

If you make a solid offer to people in your local area, you are going to get sales.

That is virtually guaranteed.

Nailing the presentation isn’t going to make or break your campaign, but it will affect your branding, and a great presentation can notably increase those sales. 

You want to be asking yourself the following two questions in creating the design and presentation of your direct mail campaign:

  1. Will this grab attention?
  2. Will this give people a positive impression of our pizzeria’s brand?

Your direct mail recipients are not going to be looking for your mail piece, so it’s important that the design grabs attention. Interesting shapes and bright colors can help your mail piece to get noticed.

direct mail ads for pizza

Use pictures on your mailer, and try to make those pictures really pop. If you need to hire a reasonably priced professional photographer, this is a good time to do that, but with good lighting, you can probably get what you need via a smartphone.

Alternatively, you can use big, bold lettering and grab attention with the message you print, like in the example below: 

pizza marketing ideas

Just like in digital ads, include a strong call to action: 

  • Order today
  • Order now
  • Order online
  • Get your free _____
  • Call now

And once you’ve finalized your design, make sure you have a method of tracking redemptions so you can calculate your ROI. One option is to use a QR code to send people to an order page or coupon download. 

advertising for pizza

You could also provide a code for them to enter when they check out on your website. Just make sure the code is unique to this mailer, so you’ll be able to track it. 


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Adam Guild is the CEO of Owner, a restaurant marketing platform that makes online growth easy for restaurants.


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