As a restaurant owner or manager, you’re super busy, and that often leaves little time for marketing. Yet, it’s great for business and something you want to carve out some time for.
To keep ahead of the competition and bring more diners into your restaurant, you want to craft a good marketing strategy that includes tools that work.
Successful marketing includes a mix of in-restaurant, website, and other digital tools. When you get creative, you can bring in new customers while retaining current ones.
In this article, we look at 10 game changing marketing ideas for your restaurant.
#1: Host Influencer Events
Want to get the local blogger to highlight your restaurant? Or, would you like the local newspaper food writer to talk about you?
Perhaps you’d like to be featured at the next big event in town?
The best way to do this is to host an influencer event at your restaurant. Invite all the people in town who have influence on the restaurant industry. Offer them free food and drinks and very special service.
As a bonus, if you take plenty of photos, you have content for several days for your social media accounts.
#2: Send a Regular Email
Email marketing still tops the lists as one of the best tools for marketing. It’s the one place that customers explicitly invite you, and it offers you a great chance at spreading your message.
The best suggestion to jump start your marketing is to send an email either weekly or bi-weekly.
In it, you can include special offers, tips on cooking, and information on upcoming events.
Well designed emails are key to your marketing strategy. Consider targeting your list through segmentation for the best success.
#3: Visit Nearby Businesses
Get creative and take some food to several businesses near you each month.
Consider taking several items from your appetizer menu along with special offer coupons. This enables you to meet new people, share your delicious food, and invite them in with a coupon offer.
You can also skip the coupon and just deliver the food with some menus. Do be sure that you visit with the staff, providing them with a great experience they’ll remember.
#4: Overhaul Your Website
It’s a good idea to look over your website on a regular basis because most people will visit your restaurant before deciding to dine with you.
Your website is the centerpiece of your marketing, so it should be easy to navigate, reflect your brand, and have regularly updated content (think blog).
In addition, make sure your phone number, address and hours are very easy to find. And, be sure to include a beautiful menu with professional photographs and enticing descriptions.
Finally, if your website isn’t mobile friendly, it must be as soon as possible. Google will penalize you if it isn’t.
#5: Begin SMS Marketing
Most people these days have a smartphone, and they’re never far from their text messages.
Using text message marketing, you’ll increase customer retention and see a rise in brand loyalty.
To utilize this, create a special offer and offer it to your customers on your website, on social media, and in your restaurant. The catch – they have to sign up for text messages from you to get the offer.
Once you have their number, you can send them weekly messages with specials and coupons.
#6: Respond to Negative Reviews
If this seems odd on a list of game changing marketing ideas, it’s not. It is actually one of your best tips.
You probably know that the number one search on Google is about restaurants. What’s more, your potential customers are looking at your reviews. So, it stands to reason that you want the best reviews possible.
When you get positive reviews on Google, Yelp, and elsewhere online, respond to them. Thank your customers and call them by name.
Even more importantly, respond to each negative review that you get. This gives you a chance to show your customers that you empathize with them.
By addressing customers’ complaints, you will find that many people will pull down their bad review. If they don’t, you’ve shown that you are willing to listen and change if necessary.
#7: Boost Facebook Posts
We’ll assume you’re already using Facebook. But, did you know that you need to put a little money behind your posts to increase their reach?
It doesn’t have to be much – between $10 and $30 per post should do it.
We’ve got an insider tip for you to maximize your ad dollars. Go into your publishing tools on Facebook and find your best performing posts. Pick these to boost.
Why boost posts that already have organic reach? It’s because new people are more likely to engage with active posts that have likes, shares, and comments.
#8: Use a Loyalty Program
Diners who are members of your loyalty program will return more often to your restaurant. Loyalty programs are a great way to build relationships with your customers and encourage their loyalty. (tweet this)
You can do this through your app or another mobile solution that provides a digital loyalty punch card.
#9: Sponsor a Charity
Another great marketing idea is to sponsor a charity. This not only gets your restaurant out in the public eye, but it increases customer loyalty, too.
Get your team onboard and do something together. For example, you might do a walk together. Or, you could host a charity night where a portion of the proceeds go to your favorite charity.
By getting your team involved, you’ll increase morale and help unify your staff as well. This in turn makes for happier customers.
#10: Host a Social Media Give-Away
Everyone likes to get something for free.
Create a drawing and host it on social media. Consider doing this weekly.
You’ll find that your social media followers increase as well as page engagement. By creating buzz on a regular basis, you’ll also see more diners in your restaurant.
If you want to increase sales, create a marketing strategy and put some of these game changing marketing ideas into play.
The restaurant that ups its marketing is going to rise above the competition.
Restaurant marketing takes time, so be patient. Create, test, revise and analyze your data so you know what works and what you need to change.
Use a variety of methods including special events, social media advertising, Google AdWords, text message marketing, influencer advertising, and more.
Market your restaurant successfully, and you’ll see more new customers, a rise in returning customers, better online reviews, and exponential growth.
Source: Restaurant Engine