A great menu and an enjoyable environment will go a long way, but how will people find out about your gluten-free desserts and live music on Fridays? A successful marketing strategy will help you get your share of the $621.5 billion dollars Americans will spend in restaurants in 2022. Whether it be digital marketing, direct marketing, or organic social media posts, you need to get started today.
What are the benefits of a marketing plan?
- Increases brand awareness
- Keeps current customers and brings in new customers
- Let’s you engage with the community
- Attracts new employees
- Let’s you develop relationships with vendors
- Generates more revenue
- Keeps you top of mind
Maintain an updated online presence
As with most businesses these days, without a web presence, your restaurant will be forgotten. Customers want to go to a restaurant’s website for many reasons. To check out the menu, make reservations, see if you have other locations, find out if there is a dress code, determine if the prices are within their budget, etc. People like to know what to expect when they go somewhere new and your website can give them all the information they need to feel comfortable dining at your restaurant.
“Restaurants near me” is a very popular Google search. According to SEMRUSH, that phrase is searched 168.3 million times each month. This means having a Google Business profile is critical. When someone searches for nearby restaurants, you want to make sure your restaurant is one of the first they see. Setting up your profile is quick and simple, so don’t forget this important piece of the marketing puzzle.
Social media is a great place to showcase photos of your delicious dishes and videos of the bartender making your most popular cocktails. It’s a visual representation of your restaurant that you can curate. Encouraging customers to tag your account in their posts and then sharing those photos is a great way to show the true dining experience while benefitting from free marketing. Social media ads are also marketing tools that restaurants often use. Just last week I saw a Facebook ad for a watermelon margarita at a local Mexican restaurant. I immediately tagged a friend in the comments and she replied, “Let’s go!” Without seeing that Facebook ad, I might have never discovered this local restaurant with the yummy watermelon margaritas.
Who are your customers?
Do you encourage frequent business by communicating with your customer database? Satisfied customers are most likely to become your regulars, whether it’s for special occasions or a weekly family dinner night. Assembling an email list of previous customers is the ideal way to offer specials, announce new dishes, share recipes or invite them to a special wine tasting or other events. Email marketing is a great way to keep the conversation going.
Here are some tips for growing your email list:
- An old-fashioned comment card on every table.
- Provide Wi-Fi and have customers enter their email addresses to gain access.
- Put a QR code on your menu that links to a landing page. Offer 10% off their next meal in exchange for their email address.
- Build a loyalty program where customers can earn points to eventually cash in for a free dessert.
- Develop an app for exclusive discounts and special events.
Meet customers where they are – at home!
There are several approaches to direct marketing in order to reach the households most likely to dine with you. The most affordable is mailing to selected neighborhoods using a resident mailing list that saturates your area. This is an Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaign. Once you select the neighborhoods, the mailing company, such as Bluegrass (that’s us), will compile a mailing list that’s walk-sequenced within carrier routes in specified zip codes. This offers the lowest postage rate; however, the piece will be addressed ‘Resident’ rather than including the recipient’s name. If your restaurant caters to specific demographic groups, there is a list that will serve your purposes, whether it’s income-based, households with families, etc.
Trying to fill tables at lunchtime? Develop multi-person offers and mail to businesses within a predetermined geographic area – an office park, for example, or businesses within a five-mile radius of your location. If your restaurant is equipped to handle a large crowd, business-to-business advertising is ideal for promoting catering and/or special event gatherings.
We can help you get started
If you’re a restaurant owner, you know that marketing is important. You need to maintain an online presence, send promotional emails, use social media, and send direct mail in order to reach your target market every time. Let us help you get started on your marketing plan today. Our team of experts can create a custom plan for your business that uses the latest techniques in omnichannel marketing to drive sales. Contact us today to learn more.
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