For most restaurants, mobile advertising is an untapped resource for new customers. Despite the rise in smartphone use, many restaurants are still missing the opportunity to generate new business through mobile advertising. Even those that are doing it are often doing it incorrectly. With location-based technologies like geofencing, savvy restaurant marketers can deliver the right message, to the right customer, in the right place, at the right time.

If you are a restaurant marketer looking for new ways to leverage mobile advertising, here are 5 tips on how to use geofencing to target customers with mobile ads.

Location-based marketing

1. Geofence your local zip code

Start by casting a wide net and going after your local ZIP code. Geofence your ZIP code and send mobile advertising to make sure everyone in your area knows who you are and that you are open for business. Your messaging should be geared toward brand awareness and offer some sort of general call to action to get customers into your store.

2. Geoconquest your competition

Now that customers in your area know who you are, target customers that you know have a taste for your type of food. This can be done very effectively by putting a geofence around your competition so that you can capture mobile data from anyone that is visiting their restaurant. Odds are that customers that like your competition will give you a shot as well. This messaging should be more focused on a popular food item, drink, or special that will entice customers to try you over your competition. For example a steakhouse might advertise their filet or an Italian restaurant might advertise their pasta specials.

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3. Target the places where your customers go

Many restaurants have a very specific customer type that they typically serve. For example, vegan or vegetarian friendly restaurants have mostly health conscious customers. Sports bars serve mostly sports fans. Fine dining restaurants serve mostly upscale clientele. If your restaurant has a type, you can geofence the areas that those customers frequent to capture their data and serve them targeted ads. Gyms and hiking trails are great for health food restaurants. Sports fields, golf courses, and stadiums work for sports bars. High end shopping areas and country clubs make sense for fine dining. This can even be used for restaurants that see a lot of business from nearby attractions like movie theaters, malls, tourist destinations, or nightlife hot spots.

4. Don’t forget your restaurant

In a perfect world, every customer that visits your restaurant would give you the best contact information for you to remarket to them later. In reality, it’s rare for a restaurant to be able to capture customer data. By geofencing your own store, you can make sure that you have an easy way to remarket to all your customers. You can send them tailored messages about loyalty or rewards programs to keep them coming back again and again.

5. Native Apps

Once you have your ZIP code, competitors, local hangouts, and your own store geofenced, consider sending your highly targeted messaging to native mobile apps. Think of the native apps that might be popular amongst the types of customers that eat at your restaurant. For example, fitness apps for health food restaurants, sports apps for sports bars, stock market or business news apps for fine dining. By picking out apps that are relevant to your customer base, you can increase the chances that your ads will convert.