It is imperative to develop some exciting and restaurant marketing strategies to stay relevant and get customers in the door. Having great food is just one part of it, but that alone will not bring people to your door, and your brand will not go viral without a well-defined approach.
This article will take you through the various steps you can take to structure your restaurant marketing strategy in 2021.
1. Social Media Promotions
At the current moment, most restaurants have a social media brand so that they can attract customers. Social media is the voice of your brand, and it is where you go to create great content and increase engagement. People generally quite visual, so there are a few things you can do to increase visibility.
- Call to Actions– have an order now button that redirects people to your online ordering platform.
- Video Marketing
- Behind the scenes and recipe videos of your famous dishes
- Videos of how your restaurant looks on special occasions
- Quick mocktail and DIY videos
- Creatives and Templates– Be sure to use visually stunning social media creatives to entice your audience into action. You could make use of attractive social media templates to make your brand stand out.
- Use memorable images– Lure your customers in with delicious dishes at the restaurant – remember mouth-watering food items help initiate that impulse to buy. Couple it up with a discount message to increase your conversion likelihood.
- Try live video– Live video streaming is a great way to let people know all that’s cooking (literally) at your restaurant.
2. Restaurant Loyalty Programs
A big part of the restaurant business comes from existing customers. The marketing strategy you should create should engage the customers you already have and keep coming back to your restaurant. An omnichannel strategy will make it more attractive to the customers, and some ideas that you can try are:
- Offer referral incentives– Provide benefits to customers who refer your brand to their friends. Make them your affiliates. Incentivize them so that they can tell everyone about the great experience at your restaurant.
- Provide extra points for social sharing– Social sharing is excellent as it amplifies your brand’s presence on the web. When customers provide you a review, please encourage them to share it on their timelines so that their connections see it too. You can promote sharing by offering freebies like ‘Get 40 points for sharing your review on platforms’ Positive reviews as an excellent indicator for people to check out a restaurant.
3. CRM (SMS and Email Marketing)
SMS and Email Marketing are two of the essential things in your customer relationship management strategy. Once you have access to customer information, SMS and email campaigns are a great way to engage your audience.
There are some things that you can think about when it comes to sending out the campaigns.
- time of campaign– an hour or two before meals is an excellent time to share order now messages
- Personalisation– try to bucket your customers into a few categories (high order customers values, 20-year somethings) to increase message relevance.
- Topical offers –Send messages and offers concerning special occasions, events, and festivals coming up.
- Catch them early-Title and first ten words should be crafted in an attractive way to get the most out of a campaign.
4. Online Listings
Your restaurant needs to be listed on Google and other popular sites to be found online. Creating a listing is the first step to be discovered online.
Many sites allow you to get reviews, ratings, testimonials, and pictures on their platforms. These add to positive signals that your restaurant needs.
5. Online Ads
Digital advertisements are a great way to showcase your business and the products that you offer to a targeted audience. It helps you display your brand to prospects and get direct traffic to your online food-ordering platform. Special offers and discounts can be promoted through digital ads. The paid ads approach effectively builds a traffic base for your website when you start your food ordering website.
The effectiveness of ads as a restaurant marketing channel can be measured easily. Here are a few ideas for making great ads:
- Low content, high on visual
- Make sure you provide value through the ad
- Get creative to induce more action on the ad
6. Food/Restaurant Blog
Maintaining a blog on your website is always a good idea. It’s a great way to keep your customers updated.
Why is blog a vital part of your overall restaurant marketing strategy? Well, there are many reasons:
- It strengthens your authority over any given topic (increasing your visibility on the internet).
- It allows you to tell all that’s new at your restaurant
- It conveys the unique reasons why they should order from your restaurant.
- It gives people a platform to interact with you and let you know what they like or dislike about your restaurant.
- Blogs shared on social media or promoted through other means help in keeping your brand fresh on your customer’s mind
7. Influencer Marketing
Your restaurant may not be a hit right away, even if you provide the customer with a fantastic experience or excellent food. Amplification is important. That is where influencers and bloggers come in.
Influencers are people who review your restaurant and share the experience with their follower base. Typically in the modern-day setup, influencers are active on social platforms where their posts get many engagements. This helps increase your restaurant’s views and impressions on social media and does wonder for your reach. So do consider roping in a few influencers in 2019 as part of your strategic marketing plan.
You can follow this simple process:
- List out restaurant influencers and bloggers.
- Send out outreach mailers
- Ask them to come in for a visit and share their thoughts
Once you’ve built a list, it is quite a task to keep your customers engaged with new content. If you roll out too many campaigns with aggressive CTAs, they might not resonate well with your audience.
Diverse content helps here, and a newsletter is excellent collateral. Designing a good newsletter is tricky and, if done wrong, can backfire.
Here are a few tips to help you create a good newsletter:
- Device friendly– mobile is of particular importance here. Check your collateral on all platforms
- Highly visual– your newsletter should be incredibly visual, high on images
- Include call to actions– Include link backs to your website so that they can place an order or check out all that you have to offer
- Include social buttons– Provide buttons to your customers for sharing your content on social
9. Use digital menus
Most users like to ‘stalk’ your restaurant online before actually visiting. That’s the way customers roll nowadays. Make sure your online accounts are updated with all the things that matter. Your online menu should be updated as often as you possibly can. Having a mismatch in what you serve at the restaurant and what your menu says online is a negative signal.
The menu should be:
- Well designed
- Up to date
- Auto-pushed across online platforms
Sometimes it is a pain to upload the menu each time you make a change manually. An automated setup that pushes your new menu live in such scenarios the moment you make a difference is ideal.
Make sure your website and app also reflect the new menu – these are perhaps the first checkpoints of any customers who wish to check you out online. All your marketing and branding efforts fall flat if this isn’t in place. So do keep these pages updated.
10. Offer freebies
Customers love freebies. A gift, a takeaway, a souvenir – a small token or gesture of appreciation can go a long way. Restaurants can offer freebies in a variety of ways.
Here are a few ideas.
- Free Wi-Fi – many restaurants offer free Wi-Fi services to customers. You could ask them to login with an email ID and password that will help you further build a marketing list.
- Discount coupons– throw in a few discount coupons at the end of the meals (SMS/Email them) – this will incentivize them to come back to the restaurant.
- Small gifts– You must’ve seen McDonald’s give out Happy Meal toys, which were the rage with kids. Think of a version that works for your restaurant.
11. Get feedback
Talking to customers is of paramount importance when it comes to restaurant marketing. People who visit your restaurant provide feedback that is an excellent indicator of your performance. It is also an excellent opportunity for you to connect with the customers and take in their views.
While it is possible to do marketing and public relations yourself, it is sometimes just more comfortable and less stressful to hire someone to do it for you because, as mentioned before, it can be time-consuming. PR professionals are there for a reason. They know exactly what needs to be done to create an effective marketing strategy. Companies like Pressfarm are there to make everything that a company needs from email pitches, press releases, among other things so that companies can send them out and reap the benefits. They will guide and help in any way necessary to focus on different aspects of your restaurant.