You might be confused as to how you will get started in making a restaurant marketing plan for your business. This competition is quite high when it comes to quality and service. Many restaurants have ingested gimmicks into their campaigns. You as a business owner will be put under pressure to think creatively about what will be your unique selling point compared to other restaurants.
Back in the days when the internet wasn’t born yet, restaurant owners relied on word-to-mouth reviews, television, and newspaper ads, flyers, and billboards. These campaigns may be powerful, but that simply won’t work anymore in the 21st century.
The downside of these types of campaigns is you are investing in something you can’t track. The only way for you to know if your marketing strategy worked is when you start to see a difference in your sales or if your foot traffic increases. This can be somewhat tricky to track too since you’re never certain what made them go to your restaurant in the first place.
So how should restaurant owners market their business online? Here are 5 restaurant marketing strategies you can add to your marketing plan.
1. Get A Website
Acquiring a business website for your restaurant is an easy way to boost your online presence and get some foot traffic for your restaurant. There are small businesses who still don’t have a website even up to this day.
If you are one of them, don’t miss out on this opportunity to use your website to increase your brand awareness online. There are plenty of options for you to get a website. You can use a third-party service, like Meegle who can build you a high-quality website that’s catered to your business goals. But if you have experience in web design, you can go with option two, which is to develop your own website.
When choosing a website domain name, you should consider picking a name that is easy to remember by your customers. This is why big companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple are using a one-word brand name, so it is easy for their customers to recall them.
Example: Brad’s Cafe and Resto = www.bradcafe.com
Take note that building a website is a very crucial task. Provide all your business information such as name, location, phone number, and operating hours. Update your menus from time-to-time and post-high-quality photos.
Add some optimized content about the history of your restaurant and informative blog articles like recipes, tips, and guides. Adding valuable content on your website will help boost your SEO and rank you higher in search engines.
2. Set-Up All Your Business Listings
Once you already have an existing website filled with your business information, you should move on to the next step, which is to claim and set up your restaurant business listings. There are plenty of online business listings and directories that are difficult to keep track, but with Meegle you can organize all your business listings in one place.
Before you claim your business listings, you should conduct a research first for a list of online review sites and directories. Choose the most popular review sites such as Yelp, YellowPages, and TripAdvisor that you think will help you drive more customers and website traffic. Once you have the list, go through each and make sure to validate all your contact information, such as your site URL, contact number, business address, and operating hours.
Ensure that once you have set up your business listings on review sites, you can use it to get more reviews from your customers. About 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they get a personal recommendation. So encourage your customers to leave a review online. All you have to do is ask, and many will comply.
If they left a positive review, thank them for their compliments. Don’t worry about bad reviews! It may considerably affect your online reputation, but as long as you know how to handle the situation, you will not get in trouble.
Take reviews as an opportunity for you to build customer relationships and loyalty. Furthermore, getting listed accurately in multiple popular review sites and earning customer reviews has a beneficial effect on your search engine marketing.
3. Invest in Social Media
Social media is one of the easiest and widely used tools to market your business online. Thousands of people are using social media today, from the time they woke up until the time they go to sleep.
There are a variety of social media channels that you can use to your advantage. You just need to choose which one works best for your restaurant. Bear in mind, that Content is King. To continually engage with your audience, you must be consistent in your organic posts.
Here are some post ideas for a restaurant page:
- Run contests – People in social media love to participate in contests online. The mechanics will depend on your goals. Other businesses usually let their followers answer one question and follow their social media accounts. In return, whoever is the winner will receive a coupon and discount.
- Your products – One way for you to catch the eyes of your followers is to post high-quality, drooling inducing photos. If you have enough budget, you can hire a professional food photographer to take some top-notch snaps for you.
- Share positive reviews and testimonials – Boast your positive reviews from your loyal customers. This will make customers feel valued for responding to their review, which will develop your credibility.
- Videos – Every social media user loves videos. This will help you increase your social media engagement fast. You can share tutorial videos or short clips on how your famous dish was done.
If your marketing effort in social media is still not enough, you may try to play around with some paid social marketing campaigns, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Ads. This can help you gain social visibility fast. Set up a reasonable budget for ads and come up with a campaign that you think will catch eyes. It is also extremely important that you do not ignore your customers on social media. Converse with your followers by responding to their comments, messages, and concerns. Responding to your followers will build a customer relationship and improve your customer service.
4. Create A Monthly Newsletter
One effective restaurant marketing tip for you is to promote your restaurant by asking your customers to sign up for a monthly email through your website and when they dine with you.
Remember, newsletters don’t have to be sent weekly. Customers will appreciate it if you don’t flood their inbox with promotional messages. Sending one or two newsletters per month is the most ideal strategy. Use your email newsletter as a chance for you to advertise new menu items, share special discounts, and celebrate your success.
If you are having difficulty getting customer emails, you may want to promote your business by offering a loyalty program. It’s an easy way for you to get their information and encourage them to do business with you. If they apply for the program, you can offer them something of value in return, such as a coupon for their next meal or a free dessert.
5. Reach Out To Influencers
Make use of influencers to help you market your local restaurant online. Influencers are people who have a strong and engaging social media following who could add up hype for your business.
You can send out a press release when you have news to share about your restaurant. One great way to get reviews and press on the web is to invite local food bloggers and journalists to enjoy a free meal at your restaurant in exchange for a blog or social media post. You can also politely ask them if they can leave a review and share their experience online about your restaurant.
If there’s room to wiggle in your budget, you can even give influencers an exclusive offer to share with their followers. From that, they will get a commission every time a customer used their code in paying the bill. For example, you can ask the influencer to post “Follow @bradcafe on Instagram. Use my code LAURAxBRAD and enjoy 10% off on your next bill.”
6. Partner Up With A Food Delivery Service
This is also one of the best restaurant marketing strategies. Convenience and ease are what customers need in today’s world. Online food delivery services make it easy for customers to order food and pay in cash on delivery. This is why a lot of people often love taking advantage of delivery services. You may consider partnering up with Eat24 and Delivery.com. This will help customers discover your restaurant for the first time.
The Bottom Line
Restaurant marketing is a must for your restaurant business.
In today’s world, technology has considerably influenced people from discovering new businesses. Creating a restaurant marketing strategy is very crucial. It may bring your restaurant to uphill or downhill. These five restaurant marketing tips can help you build your brand’s online presence so you can attract new hungry customers to your restaurant.
Angela is a Marketing Staff at Meegle. She writes words about stuff in the Meegle blog and Oh, she’s a social media addict that made her become a social media strategist and specialist.