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What’s on the menu: Everything you need to know about restaurant delivery services

Mobile technology has made many aspects of life more convenient, including ordering food. For restaurant owners, this is a boon. Even if you don’t have the resources to offer delivery on your own, you can now enlist the help of third-party services to get your food into the hands (and mouths) of hungry locals. Here is an overview of the most popular third-party food delivery services, including the options available, the pros and cons, and how to start using these services in your business. What are the benefits of restaurant delivery services? Before we look at which services you may want to consider, let’s keep in mind some of the benefits a third-party delivery service can bring to your restaurant: Demand is on the rise Home food delivery is expected to grow 79 percent during the next five years, according to the investment firm Cowen. In terms of dollars, the delivery market will grow from $43 billion in 2017 to $76 billion in 2022. You’ll remain competitive Offering an online delivery option helps your business compete with other similar restaurants in your area. Further, it may give you a competitive advantage over restaurants that do not deliver. Strong order accuracy Since third-party delivery services take orders online, there is less risk you’ll misunderstand an order, as is sometimes the case when taking orders over the phone. You’ll make more money Giving customers as many options as possible when it comes to ordering your food will translate to more orders overall. It will help attract younger customers More than half of millennials (55 percent) say convenience is among the top drivers when buying food, according to the International Food Information Council. Offering delivery is a great way to attract millennial consumers. Each young customer you get to order your food is another chance at building your long-term customer base. What are the drawbacks of restaurant delivery services? Here are two things to be aware of before getting started with a delivery service: It requires a financial investment Services vary, but each provider typically charges a percentage of each online order as…

11 website essentials to get noticed online

Every day, potential customers in your community are searching online for businesses like yours. Are they finding your website? These searchers are more likely to click on the first few businesses that appear on a search engine results page. So it makes sense that one of your search engine optimization (SEO) goals should be to show up in the top results when people search for information related to your business’s products or services. By implementing SEO best practices, your website can rank higher on those search results. What your website needs to rank online Here are 11 elements of your website to pay attention to. For a diagram of where to find them, refer to the infographic below. 1. Page title The title of each page is the most important SEO element on your website. The title tells search engines what visitors will find on the page: It’s the blue clickable text found on the search engine results page.You can boost your chances of getting found by search engines by: Including keywords as close to the beginning of the title as possible Limiting the title to 50-60 characters 2. Page URL Including keywords in the URL will help search engines better understand what the page is about. Be careful not to cram a bunch of words into your URL. Instead, try something like: www.anniesbakery.com/how-to-make-strawberry-frosting. Notice that it’s descriptive, but not overly so. Don’t use the URL “how-to-make-strawberry-frosting” if the page is actually about employees, the location of the bakery or another topic not related to strawberry frosting.  3. Meta-description The meta-description does not show on your website, but appears as the text underneath the blue clickable text in a search result. Beyond being relevant to that page’s content, the meta-description should be engaging and make people want to click. Give searchers a tease of the information they can discover by visiting your site, but don’t be too vague: You still want potential customers to know what they’ll learn or how they’ll benefit from trusting you with their time.  4. Primary headline The primary headline is the second most important SEO element, so…

Deluxe Small Business Seminar: Alton, Illinois

424 E Broadway, Alton, IL 62002 In this FREE one-day seminar, small business experts will share insights and suggestions to help you operate and market your business. One lucky attendee will win $1,000 worth of marketing products and services from Deluxe! Learn how to: Get found online locally Enhance your marketing with email and social media Leverage customer experience to improve your website Build a budget and plan your finances And more The post Deluxe Small Business Seminar: Alton, Illinois appeared first on Deluxe Small Business Resource Center.

An introduction to website analytics

A well-designed website is an indispensable tool small business owners can use to reach their goals. However, setting up your website is only half the battle. The other crucial task is measuring whether your website is pulling its weight to support your business. This is where website analytics come into play. Regularly viewing key web metrics is a great way to determine what’s working about your website and what isn’t, which then helps you increase web traffic and encourage visitors to take action. Analyzing your website should not intimidate you. Yes, there are some advanced tools and metrics that can confuse even the savviest of web experts, but there are also a number of relatively basic measurements that are easy to track. In the end, taking advantage of these metrics will help improve your website’s effectiveness. Here we will take a quick look at which metrics you should pay attention to, as well as tools you can use to easily measure your website’s performance. Which web metrics should I track? For those just getting started with web analytics, here are five metrics you’ll want to begin with: Unique visits. Unique visits are the number of people who visited your website over a specific period of time, e.g. daily, weekly or monthly. Each person is counted only once, even if they returned to your site multiple times during the period. You can also track total visits, which counts all the visits made by each person. Visits should not be confused with pageviews. Visits is the number of people who landed on your site, while pageviews refer to the total number of pages those visitors browsed while on your website. Bounce rate. A bounce rate is the portion of total visitors who landed on your site but then immediately exited by either clicking the back button or closing their browser window. This indicates that the visitor didn’t see anything they were looking for and decided to move on. A high bounce rate signals there is something about your site that makes visitors leave right away. And each lost visitor means you’re also…

4 marketing moves that get results: Lessons learned on Main Street

For many entrepreneurs, attracting customers and getting found by people in the community is a game of trial and error. In the small town of Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania, business owners tried everything from newspaper advertising to coupons to community events to promote themselves. But nothing seemed to deliver more customers.  In early 2017, the town won a Main Street makeover: Deluxe provided a $500,000 revitalization to Bristol Borough and its businesses. The transformation was captured in an original eight-episode series telling the story of the transformation.  One year later, the featured businesses look back on the experience and share which marketing improvements have made the biggest difference. Google drives customers to auto shop Megan and Roland Hems have owned Hems Truck and Auto for the last 10 years. Their challenge is the same as many other small business owners — finding the right balance between work and home life, and making ends meet on a weekly and daily basis. Deluxe provided business and financial advice, and showed the Hems how to create a better online presence and mobile website experience. Since getting verified on Google, the shop has gotten noticed by thousands of people searching for automotive services. Hundreds of those searchers have visited the website, called the business or gotten directions to the shop. Traffic to Hems’ Yelp page has also risen significantly, resulting in more inquiries and a steady stream of new customers. “All of the changes, upgrades and improvements Deluxe made help us feel like a ‘real shop,’ and the customers, vendors and locals are treating us accordingly now, too!” Megan said in an interview with a local newspaper. Social media attracts weeknight diners Chef Robert Angelaccio opened Annabella’s Italian restaurant in 2003, bringing his passion for Old World cuisine back to the community where he was raised. Robert and his wife, Alison, take pride in making every dining experience memorable. Nestled in Bristol’s historic corridor, Annabella’s is perfectly situated just steps from the popular Bristol Riverside Theatre. When a play hits the main stage, Annabella’s is bustling, but in between productions, the restaurant is often empty. There was a big…

SEO vs. SEM: How to tell the difference and how to use them skillfully

While researching search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you may have run into this explanation: “SEM is paid search like Google PPC campaigns. Search engine optimization is the practice of optimizing your site for organic search.” These statements are too simplistic and outdated to be 100 percent true. On the most basic level, SEM encompasses all things having to do with search providers such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Meanwhile, SEO has historically been focused on optimizing a company’s website so that it ranks at the top of organic search results. Other terms that fall into subsets of SEM, SEO, or both include: PPC: This is a method of purchasing advertising (most often within search engines) where you pay for each person who clicks on your ad. This can also be referred to as CPC (or cost-per-click). Search Engine Results Pages (SERP): These are the pages on Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other provider that displays after you search for a particular keyword or phrase. Although some incorrectly define SERPs as being only the organic portion of the page, they are a mix of all of the results displayed to users, and that includes paid and organic listings. SEO vs. SEM The SERP is the reason that the common distinctions made between SEO and SEM need to be reconsidered. Because your potential customer sees the entire search engine results page and is influenced by what results appear in both the paid and organic slots, you can’t view SEO and SEM as isolated entities. Although it is important to understand the difference between organic and paid, it is no longer a question of one versus the other. They now must, more than ever before, work hand-in-hand if you want to ensure your business is found online by prospective customers. How to improve search performance To develop a strong search strategy, you have to look at factors that influence overall search performance including: On-site factors On-site (otherwise known as on-page) factors, such as optimized content, images, video, relevancy to the keywords, engagement, usability and page load time will influence both…

5 questions you should be asking about your website

No business is too small for a website. But creating and maintaining a website can be daunting: How do you know what to put on your website? What color should the buttons be? What does “SEO” mean? With so many questions about your site, it can be difficult to focus on what matters. Whether you have a website, or are just beginning to build one, ask yourself these questions to measure what’s working and discover opportunities for improvement.   1. Does your website connect to your target customer? Think about your target customer, and ask yourself: When they visit your website for the first time, will they find the answer to their top question in one click or less? If your target customer visits your website, will they know they’ve come to the right place to find what they’re looking for? Imagine the personality of your business. Would your target customer get a feel for that personality from your website? Imagine how you want customers to feel when they interact with your business. Does your website inspire those feelings? If your target customer is researching your business alongside your competitors, will they understand what sets you apart from them? If you answered mostly “yes,” then your website does a great job connecting to your target customer. Keep it up! If you answered mostly “no,” try this exercise: Perform the 5-second test  When a new visitor comes to your website, they decide whether to stay or leave within five seconds. Are you making a good impression? Ask five to 10 people who have never visited your website to help you find the answer. Show them your website homepage. After five seconds, hide the screen or close the window. Then ask them what they remember seeing. Are they noticing the things you want them to remember? If not, consider making some changes to the most prominent areas of your website. Including a captivating professional photo on your homepage is a great start. 2. Does your website drive action? Think about the most important task your target customer wants to accomplish when they come…

3 questions to ask before starting a business

Small Talks features insider expertise from successful small business owners. This video series offers insider advice and highlights how real entrepreneurs overcame their most pressing challenges. Spencer Johnson got the idea for his business from a college project. At the time, he couldn’t have imagined that idea would someday blossom into a full-blown business. He founded Sota Clothing to capture the essence of what makes Minnesota special. In the past six years, the clothing company has grown to employ seven people. And much to his delight, Johnson sees his fellow Minnesotans wearing Sota designs around town on a regular basis. “My goal was to go somewhere in Minneapolis and see a random person wearing it. Just the other day, I saw somebody in the grocery store wearing my design,” he says. Johnson has learned a lot since launching the business and has three pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Could your idea make a viable business? 1. Do you believe in it? You will face many challenges on your path to entrepreneurship. Before you jump in, make sure you are fully invested in your idea, so you can be the biggest champion for your business. 2. Are you willing to make sacrifices? Johnson cautions that when you own a business, you give up the security and life balance offered by a traditional job. He says he often forgoes time with friends and family to work on his business. But if you’re willing to put in the time, the rewards can be worth it. 3. Will your strengths sustain your business? In the beginning, you may not have the resources to hire help. Most business owners don’t start out with expertise in all aspects of running a business, but they’re quick learners. Take an inventory of your skills and strengths, then think about how those will translate to your business. Johnson knew his eye for design and skill behind a camera would come in handy. Instead of being dissuaded that he wasn’t good at the financial side of the business, he leaned on his strengths to grow. Watch the full interview above for more…

3 ways to promote National Small Business Week

Every year since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has honored the contributions of the country’s hardworking entrepreneurs during National Small Business Week. This year, the celebration will take place April 29 through May 5. As the SBA brings attention to small business owners with educational events, webinars and award ceremonies, you can get involved by running your own National Small Business Week-themed promotions and awareness campaigns. Here are three ways to join in on the fun: Spread the word on social Encourage social media fans and followers to stop by your business during this special week. Incentivize the visit by having a National Small Business Week giveaway at your physical location. This is also the perfect occasion to get a little creative and personal. Throughout the week, share stories about how and why you started your business, or photos of you and your staff at community events. For extra traction and to help you connect with other business owners across the country, use hashtags such as #DreamSmallBiz and #SmallBusinessWeek. Plan an event with a local celebrity Reach out to a local newscaster, government official, author, sports team, social media influencer or artist and ask them to stop by your business for a meet and greet. This is a great way to get your customer base to visit you and to attract new prospects. You may not know any big names personally, but the florist down the street may. So consider joining forces with other businesses in the area. This kind of collaborative marketing will turn your photo op into an exciting community event and true celebration of small business owners. Once the public figure has confirmed, send out email and social messages, inviting your customers to come down for the event — and to learn more about your lineup of products and services. Kick off a week of discounts Studies show that 68 percent of businesses lose a customer because the company doesn’t appear to value them. So use this opportunity to thank customers for the contributions they’ve made to your success with a week of promotions. Send out an email…

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