Appeal to Environmentally Conscious Eaters

Culinary trends aren’t just about what customers like to eat; they influence how a restaurant operates its business. Currently, the environment is on everyone’s mind. Transitioning to locally sourced ingredients or incorporating eco-friendly practices in your business can appeal to environmentally conscious eaters. However, these changes can incur unnecessary costs if not properly understood.

Locally Sourced Ingredients

According to the National Restaurant Association’s annual culinary forecast report, locally sourced meat and seafood and local produce comprised the number one and number three spots, respectively, of the top food trends in 2016. In fact, 57% of people in 2015 said they were more likely to seek out a restaurant that offered locally sourced items on the menu. In terms of revenue, the local food movement has seen an increase from $5 billion in sales in 2008 to over $11 billion in 2014.

One of the major obstacles restaurants experience when purchasing local is their need for such large quantities. Regional food hubs are being established to solve this problem and provide a steady supply chain for local produce. Concerning the costs of local sourcing, there is a common misperception that local ingredients are much more expensive than wholesale or traditional ingredients. In reality, as a recent USDA study proves, local produce costs are cheaper than those sources from groceries or super centers.

With costs and sourcing becoming less of a problem, your restaurant can enjoy the benefits of bringing in new, locally conscious consumers while participating in eco-friendly practices (local food uses fewer transportation-related emissions). The best methods to participate include partnering with local farms, shopping at farmers’ markets, or using a local food distributor.

Environmental Sustainability

As people become more eco-conscious in their daily lives, this awareness is affecting their consumer behavior. For restaurants, this translates to people consciously seeking out establishments that align with their personal beliefs and implement environmentally friendly practices.

According to the 2014 National Restaurant Association study, over half of 18-24 year olds look to frequently dine at restaurants that practice environmental sustainability. This means your restaurant would not only attract new diners, but also they would be more loyal as they feel personally attached to the cause.

One of the major ways to practice eco-friendly behavior in your restaurant is to reduce food waste and use all parts of the ingredient. Showcasing these menu items and highlighting your food waste elimination efforts bring positive attention to your business and attract the conscious consumer who’s willing to pay more for such peace of mind.

Your restaurant can start small with eco-friendly strategies such as printing menus on recycled paper, using linen napkins instead of paper, and educating yourself and your staff on environmental sustainability. Eventually, sourcing ingredients as locally as possible, investing in energy-efficient equipment, and giving your restaurant an eco-conscious overhaul are all strategies to consider.

Pet Groomers, Boarders, and Trainers Need to Harness the Power of Cute

We’ve covered the ways Instagram has changed the restaurant business, but food porn isn’t the only thing inspiring searches on the Internet like wild fire. The digital age also presents important marketing opportunities for pet services. From pet groomers to dog trainers and everyone in between, if you work with animals, your social media game should be strong.

It’s no secret that the Internet loves animals, whether they’re cute, ugly, or riding a skateboard. People can’t get enough of all kinds of critters.  Working with animals gives you the unique opportunity to create original content to feed the Internet’s never-ending demand for new animal related pictures and videos.  

In a 2012 study, the majority of consumers, at 35%, reported that pictures were their favorite posts on social media. The study also showed that 44% of consumers surveyed were more likely to engage with pictures than any other media posted on social networks. These findings show that from a marketing standpoint, a picture really is worth a thousand words. When you work with adorable animals all day long, you should be cashing in on the cuteness, one slightly filtered post at a time.  

Once you have accounts on major social media platforms, encourage your clients to post pictures and videos of their pets either with a clever, company-specific hashtag or by tagging your company’s handle. Many people post pictures of their furry friends on social media anyway, so encouraging them to give your pet salon credit for a cute haircut is an easy and simple way for customers to show their appreciation.  

You can then re-post the best of these pictures to your company account, adding your own captions about upcoming deals or directing the audience to your website. If you’re savvy with a camera, you can start creating content yourself.  Ask your customers if they would be okay with you snapping your own pictures with their little bundles of fur after a haircut or during a shampoo. These quick pictures can be posted alongside testimonials on your website and are more likely to catch the attention of a potential customer than a block of text.  

People are now bombarded with images all the time. From Instagram to Pinterest, consumers are no longer satisfied with reading about a service. They want to see the service and the value that your company can provide. If you want your business to be as memorable as your competitors, you need to incorporate visuals into your marketing plan. Trust us—you’ll be glad you did!

7 Key Customers for Restaurant Owners

There are seven key customer types that have their own habits and preferences when it comes to dining. It is important to understand these customer types in order to best serve your existing and new customers. The types consist of Health Enthusiast, Functional Eaters, Foodservice Hobbyists, Affluent Socializers, Bargain Hunters, Busy Balancers, and Habitual Matures. If you know your target audience, it will assist in acquiring new busines

It is key for business owners to be able to define their target audience and the consumer types that drive revenue to their restaurant. All of these consumer types create opportunities for businesses to succeed and continue to grow.

Content created by Jenn Oskowsky and Eric Mainthow.

Accelerated Mobile Pages: A Small Business Necessity

Living in a rapidly evolving digital world, ensuring your small business has optimized your website for mobile is absolutely imperative. As the demand for mobile optimization has increased, the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project has succeeded in making mobile search even faster.

To help you understand the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project and their overall mission, we’ve outlined the who, what, and why:

Who:

Major tech companies like Google and Twitter have teamed up with major publishers like CNN and Buzzfeed to start an open source initiative to encourage and promote the use of Accelerated Mobile Pages. Their common goal is to increase the speed of mobile internet browsing like never before.

What:

The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is designed to enhance users’ mobile search experience by eliminating extended and unnecessary site load times. By designing and using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) HTML, the project aims to help anyone, including your small business, create a mobile page that is integrated with AMP in an effort to give mobile search users the information they need instantly.

Why:

In May of 2015, Google released a report indicating mobile search had officially surpassed search completed on desktop. Not only are consumers relying on their mobile devices to search for the information they need but they want their information fast. According to research, almost 50% of people expect sites to load within two seconds or less, and almost 40% of users will abandon that site if it takes three seconds or longer. The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project aims to eliminate site abandonment; websites created with AMP technology load an average of four times faster and use ten times less data than the equivalent non-AMP page. Websites built with AMP also show up first in the search results when relevant to the user’s query. Therefore, AMP puts your business at an advantage, allowing you to not only expand your customer pool, but increase your sales as well.

Building your small business’ website with AMP technology can decrease abandonment of your website while simultaneously increasing consumers’ engagement. Optimizing your mobile website with AMP technology appeals to both your small business’s sales, and your customers’ convenience. Overall, AMP technology provides your business the chance of attracting more customers, even faster.

Get Your Sales in Shape This Spring Break Season

41.9% of people said their New Year’s resolution was to lead a healthier lifestyle, and 39.6% of people said it was to lose weight. As commitments to those New Year’s resolutions start to falter, your gym needs to jump-start your customers’ motivation by enticing them with spring break specials. 

Ensure your gym or fitness center not only retains current customers but also attracts new ones with these three tips:

1. Specialize in Spring Break

By offering your current and prospective clients deals and specials, they will have no excuse to avoid getting in shape. Entice customers with discounted membership rates or personal training packages that can be customized to fit their needs, and see your sales skyrocket.

2. Commence The Competition

Set your gym or fitness center apart from your competitors by hosting a competition amongst your customers to motivate them to get moving. Set the bar high and give a worthy prize; whoever has the strongest attendance record, increases their one-rep max the most, or decreases their mile pace the most wins a cash prize or vacation for two. By upping the fitness ante, you motivate your clients to visit your gym more often, boosting member retention and membership renewal.

3. Lure with a Loyalty Program

Encourage your customers to commit to fitness by offering a loyalty program. For every visit to the gym, they earn a certain amount of points to be later redeemed for prizes, discounts on memberships, or free personal training sessions. Offering incentives to your clients ultimately motivates them to work out with your fitness center and minimizes the competition between you and your competitors. 

By implementing these suggestions into your gym or fitness center’s marketing strategies, you invite both current and prospective customers to feel their best with help from your business.

To find out how SinglePlatform can help your gym or fitness center attract the most consumers this spring break season, click here.

5 Business Trends to Watch for Local Services in 2016

Spring is a time for change—out with the old and in with the new. As your small business is gearing up for the warmer months, make sure that you’re keeping an eye on changes that might be affecting your industry. Staying current on these trends will help you give your customers what they want and help you build the loyalty that you need.

1.    New and Innovative Delivery Methods

According to Business News Daily, large businesses like Uber, Amazon, and Postmates are revolutionizing the way that consumers receive their goods. Delivery services are no longer an added convenience but a surging demand, spurred by technological advancements such as apps and drones. Consumers want their products delivered to them quickly and efficiently. Consider partnering with delivery companies or expanding your own delivery ranges.

2.    High Expectations from Consumers

The passive consumer is officially a thing of the past. While it used to be sufficient to hear out an upset customer and possibly offer a discount to make amends, the consumer of today expects a lot more. With review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, consumers’ comments reach a much larger audience than merely their family and friends.  As a small business owner, make sure that you are stressing quality customer service to your employees.

3.    Overhead Increased by Policy

2016 is an election year and politics are in the air. We can expect to see changes in public policy and social climate affect the way that small business owners conduct business. Many areas will have to adjust to increases in minimum wage as well as paid sick leave and new overtime requirements. As a business owner, you’ll need to find ways to compensate these extra expenses, either with a rise in prices or with a streamlining of services.

4.    Mobile Is Growing

For small business owners, having a mobile-friendly web presence is crucial – not only to appeal to younger consumers who increasingly search for local services when they are out and about but also to increase their company’s search engine visibility. If your website is not mobile-friendly or you don’t have a presence on top mobile apps, your business will be pushed further down in search results. The faster your mobile website loads, the better. The small business owner should look to invest in their mobile presence this year.

5.    Technology Is King

In our ever-more digital world, keeping up with technological advancements is not only key in reaching new customers and retaining established clientele but can also help business owners compete with larger companies. Major strides have been made in software, making HR programs, digital marketing tools, and CRM software more accessible to small business owners.

2016 is sure to be a year of change for local service providers. Your business needs to be agile enough to adapt to these new developments. SinglePlatform wants to help you navigate the changing environment of your local business. Check out how we can help you stand out everywhere that matters.

5 Fitness Industry Trends for 2016

The fitness industry is never at a standstill and 2016 is no different. In an ever-changing field, gym and fitness studio owners need to stay on top of the shifting demands and latest developments within the fitness industry. These are the six trends to take advantage of in 2016:

1.    Partner with Public Organizations

Considering the obesity epidemic, fitness professionals have a prime opportunity to reach new customers by partnering with public organizations. The American Council of Exercise notes that a prime partnership would be between your fitness studio and a local school. Take the opportunity to cultivate the public’s knowledge of health and in turn you are creating potential lifetime fitness lovers. 

2.    Publish Fitness Content Online

The gym can be an intimidating place for new customers who may not have a strong knowledge of fitness routines and could be overwhelmed by the various machines and classes you have to offer. Providing online content such as mini-workouts or fitness tips and tricks will help new customers feel more comfortable and prepared to take steps to meet their fitness goals. Providing detailed descriptions of your classes or services that describe the experience level and what to expect can also calm nerves of new customers. Voila — new clients!

3.    Provide Functional Fitness Options for Older Clients

The Baby Boomers are hitting their golden years, causing a shift in the fitness industry according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016. To capitalize on this demographic, fitness studios and gym owners should try to incorporate functional fitness for their older clientele. These customers are not looking for six packs, but rather increased strength, balance, and endurance to help them perform daily activities with ease well into their later years. 

4.    Offer Wellness Coaching

Health extends far beyond physical fitness to factors like mindfulness, nutrition, and relaxation. As these aspects of health gain momentum in popular culture, fitness professionals should consider how to address these areas for their clients. Consider adding services that take a more holistic approach to health such as guided meditations or tips on how to eat well before and after your workout. 

5.    Embrace Body Diversity

The National Federation of Professional Trainers notes that 2016 will be the year for the fitness industry to embrace all body types. Bodies come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. All of those bodies deserve to be taken care of with love and exercise. As a gym or fitness studio owner, making your business friendly to people of all fitness backgrounds provides you with a significantly larger pool of potential customers. Creating this welcoming atmosphere can also improve retention with your current clients as well. 

Overall, the fitness industry is growing and changing due to cultural and technological changes in our society. As small business owners, it’s important for you to keep pace. Check out how SinglePlatform can help you stand out everywhere that matters

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