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The Big Apple is a HUGE place. In terms of restaurants alone, NYC boasts of more than 24,000 eateries featuring all kinds of cuisine: from traditional Italian to Japanese fusion cooking. So it’s safe to say that whether you’re a small café or a medium-sized diner, competition is definitely tough.

The gastronomic industry is not the only saturated one – healthcare, cleaning, and digital marketing services also vie for a piece of the Apple pie. If there are thousands of restaurants, just imagine how many companies have websites!

You can’t just dish out coupons or keep sending emails. That’s NOT enough. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach either. However, there are a few things you could do to change the game to your advantage – and win over your discerning New York customers.

#1 Target Your Customers with Laser-Like Focus

Believe in the saying that ‘trying to please everyone will end up pleasing no one’.

An average consumer is bombarded everyday with millions of choices: from where to eat, what to watch, what app to download, or which jeans to buy. Accept that there will be people who won’t like what you’re selling. So instead, focus on those that would not only benefit the most from your product, but would also be happy that you’re around.

Say you’re a New York diner that caters to people who love eating breakfast meals 24/7. That’s still too broad. How about college students on a limited budget? Better. Are you selling baby clothes? Don’t simply go for would-be mothers. Have laser-like precision and opt for stay-at-home moms who love to blog.

Properly targeting WHO your customers are is a win-win: people in that bracket will immediately be drawn to your product because they already need it, plus it shows your expertise on a chosen field.

#2 Optimize – On and Offline

The word ‘optimization’ means to make something as perfect or as effective as possible. Not sure where to start? Ask questions. It’s a great way to open doors OR uncover hidden problems. If you’re not sure who your target consumers are for example, getting to know them through an online questionnaire is a tried-and-tested formula (of course, you can also take to the streets for this task).

Contrary to popular belief, search engine optimization doesn’t end with backlinks, content, or social media. In fact, its effects are greater when paired with an offline tactic. Shopping company Zappos for instance, is a brilliant example of this. Their SEO may seem pretty basic (excellent attention to content relevancy, user-generated reviews, clean site structure, etc.), but they also extend their optimization strategies to include their customer care call centers. With no call time KPIs, they go well and beyond what is expected to keep loyal buyers.

Begin by analyzing your online approach. How is your site speed? Are customers abandoning their carts during checkout? Are you active on top social media sites? After addressing digital issues, take a look at your offline optimization strategies. Are you using customer care personnel to help resolve complaints? Are you investing in print and media ads? Do you have a downloadable app for mobile users? These little things add a LOT in terms of the overall customer experience – which brings us to point #3.

#3 Become Your Brand

When people think of ‘brand’, they think logos or the business name. Brand is in fact, much more than that. It’s everything a company stands for: their mission, core values, employees, reputation, etc. It’s what differentiates you from dozens of businesses in the same industry.

Fast food giant McDonald’s for example, is a brand known to both young and old. Why? Although there are other companies that sell hamburgers, McDonald’s has been a part of childhood memories for most folks. They see those golden arches and remember old times with Grandma and Grandpa.

But what if you’re a new fish in a big pond? How can you compete? Don’t just create a brand – BE your brand. It starts with a vision. Ask yourself: what separates you from other enterprises in your niche? What does your business aim to be? Then practice it yourself, and pass it on to your employees. Living your brand gives yourself not only the focus for success, but it also drives your workers’ to be at their best.

#4 Get Better Reviews

According to SAS Institute for Advanced Analytics, a bank with 40 million customers would get about $485 million in accruable profit if it enhanced their customer ratings from below average to above average. That’s plenty of money over time – all for getting your rankings up.

Reviews are crucial not just for discriminating customers, but also because they act as trust signals to facilitate a person’s final buying decision. For focused local search (only in NYC for example), it becomes more imperative. If you followed tips 1-3, you’ll have bigger chances of scoring awesome testimonies from real people. There are three ways to showcase your customer reviews for maximum value:

  • Show them off on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook
  • Embed them on your blog or website
  • Interview your customers and create a stunning video!


Whatever method you choose, client testimonies are a wonderful strategy to get ahead in any niche market.

#5 Be Seen Everywhere

This doesn’t mean bombarding your customer with ads and emails every day. It simply suggests that your business should be highly accessible. For instance: say you own a small café in New York and a person uses Google maps. If you did your SEO right, you should appear on the app. You should also be active on social media to let people check into your location with ease, leave comments, and participate in your promos.

In this day and age, it’s not enough to be a living legacy – you need to constantly stay in touch with your customers so as not to be forgotten. That’s how NYC’s favorite Italian restaurant Patsy’s, stays on top. Although they have been in business since 1944, they use modern marketing strategies (such as Yelp and YouTube) to stay connected with regulars. Thanks as well to word-of-mouth advertising, they were able to retain their crown as one of the Big Apple’s best places for good food.

#6 Watch Out For Negative SEO from Competitors

New York is a tough city to live in – so it should come as no surprise that digital marketing here is also a challenge! Although you may have good intentions, envious rivals may resort to black-hat tactics to remove you from the roster. In the SEO services world, this is done through spammy link-building, duplication and unauthorized distribution of your content, or sabotaging your reputation in social media using fake accounts.

That’s why you need to regularly check your Analytics for suspicious activity. If you see unusual traffic from an unknown source, check with your New York SEO Specialist immediately. If you have an in-house marketing team, they could take care of the matters for you. Remember NOT to panic! All problems have a solution (even when it seems like all hope is lost).

Your Business Can Make It Anywhere

The NYC demographic is a hard nut to crack; however, with knowledge, a lot of patience, and perhaps a little luck, you can break through the New York market. Sure, they can be very picky customers, but that’s only because they have a vast sea of choices.

Make it easy for them by being the friendly, helpful company. Commerce can come off as impersonal nowadays – so show them that you’re different. Show them some true NYC spirit with these SEO strategies today!

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