Keys To Actionable Restaurant Marketing:
How To Market A Restaurant
There are more than 1 million restaurant locations in the United States. That’s some fierce competition if you’re a restaurateur or restaurant operator. You know that to win new customers and increase revenue, you’ll need to gain consumers’ attention in your local market(s) as quickly as possible.
But what do you need to do to gain the attention of an audience? What level of customer engagement do you need to convert, take control, grow customer loyalty, and own that relationship after the first visit?
Here are some top restaurant marketing tips to get you started!
Connect With Your Audience Where And When They Are Searching
Restaurants need to have responsive, search engine optimized websites. Nearly 90% of adults use their smartphones to search for places to eat, drink and gather. Having a fast and optimized website that allows potential customers to know how to find you, what you serve, and your opening hours is a must.
A data-rich and dynamic optimized digital experience will also help you to:
- Create brand awareness
- Establish your local market presence
- Connect with your audience and customers in meaningful and personalized ways
You’ll also be able to share different ways potential customers can interact with your brand. You can share information about how to book a reservation, order online, make inquiries about catering, purchase gift cards, gift box subscriptions or individual products.
Grow Brand Awareness With Social Media
It’s easier than you’d think to use visual and compelling photos and videos to build an audience online. Restaurant audiences love foodie content, and if you can make your brand part of the community, you’ll find you can generate some fantastic interest in your restaurant business.
If you’re not active on Facebook or Instagram yet, think about signing up. You will need to invest time to grow a community on whichever platform you choose, but it will be worth it! You may also want to sign up for Google Business, which will also help you grow your company.
Reasons to consider using Instagram and Facebook as your main social media channels:
- It is free and easy to set up an Instagram and Facebook account
- It is easy to integrate with your website, allowing you to showcase new content in both places
- Build a community around your brand
- Engage directly with your customers
Put Added Emphasis On Food Photography And Presentation
There is a lot of competition on social media, and you’ll want to make sure you have a curated feed of great photography that showcases the best your restaurant has to offer.
These days, it’s challenging to get the best out of social media if you don’t have polished content. Great food photography is crucial for social media, and you’ll find it hard to be competitive with other restaurants if your photography doesn’t compare. Food presentation is so important, and you’ll want high-quality, well lit and delicious-looking food.
It’s so hard to get this kind of imagery without proper photography equipment, editing software, and skills. If you’re finding it hard to obtain the sort of imagery you want, consider hiring a professional to take highly appealing photos of all the foods on your menu – we promise it will make all the difference!
As well as having great photos for your website, make sure your imagery will work for social media too. You might want some more relaxed, fun shots or setups of people enjoying your venue, as well as the food items you serve.
See what is possible.
Utilize The Power Of Google My Business (Local SEO)
Google My Business (GMB) is such a powerful tool for local businesses. You’ll want to utilize it as much as possible to attract more customers.
Google’s Local Guide program can also drive a healthy amount of customers. Audiences search their maps for restaurants, coffee shops and cafes nearby to find out information about your business and read about the reviews other customers have left. If your restaurant has lots of positive reviews, you are likely to gain more customers. These sites can help build trust and get potential customers to consider your brand.
Consider Influencer Marketing
Social media is an excellent tool for your business. But you can do more than create great content and posts: influencer marketing is a great way to reach a wider audience and build trust.
If you want to try influencer marketing, you need to be strategic and plan ahead: it’s easy to get wrong and waste precious dollars and time if you aren’t careful. Using influencers who have the right audience, setting defined goals, and clear instructions will be critical to success.
Executed properly, influencer marketing can bring outstanding results for your restaurant.
Take Control Of Your Customer's Journey
Creating an online presence is not the end of your customer’s journey. You need to connect the customer’s experience back to your restaurant’s physical presence.
Why? After getting to know your brand online, you’ve created enough interest and curiosity for that individual to submit their information on your website. Better yet, they walk in, make a reservation or order online.
What do you do with that information you’ve captured? Customers love it when a brand brings humanity and personalization to every step of their customer journey. Customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.
Reasons to use a data-driven cross-channel customer engagement platform:
- Easily take control of your customer data from your website, POS, WiFi eCommerce and third-party apps in one place.
- Gain access to behavioral data like frequency of visit, average order spent, which channels they prefer when interacting with your brand?
- Get to know different customer groups or segments.
- Know which combination of menu items are purchased frequently with the power of basket analysis, deep analytics and AI.
- Craft personalized marketing automation in every step of your customer lifecycle
- Send cross-channel campaigns on email and SMS messages.
- Offer milestone-based rewards and loyalty programs that are associated with purchases in-store and online.
- Use your data to inform your decision on where to advertise and audiences to target.
- Part of actionable restaurant marketing is about understanding what an individual goes through during the initial decision-making process. Personalizing your brand’s engagement at every step of the customer lifecycle builds a great customer experience.
A data-rich customer engagement platform makes it easy to personalize the customer’s experience, regardless of whether the individual is a first time customer, a 2nd-time customer or a super loyal customer.
Run Geo Targeted Ads
Advertisements are a great way to build brand awareness and get your business in front of prospective customers. Running geo-targeted ads is the best way to help you show up in front of a targeted audience.
Successful ad campaigns aren’t just a question of setting up campaigns and hoping for the best. You’ll want to show your ads to the audience that is most likely to convert to paying customers. Running geo-targeted ads to an audience in your local area is a great way to do this.
Open Up: Showcase Your Humanity And Create Authentic Connections
When you’re running a business, it’s easy to think about your restaurant in terms of your brand. But don’t forget to humanize your restaurants. Your customers want to connect with you in a positive way that is meaningful to them. Humanizing your restaurant is an effective way to do this.
There are many different ways you can humanize your restaurant, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Introduce your chefs and your employees. Share stories about your team. Tell your audience about the ingredients you use, where they come from and how you source them.
Anything that authentically shows your audience what’s going on in the background will help you connect and humanize your brand.
Elevate Your Guest Usable Restaurant Space
WiFi marketing and the use of captive portals are not new concepts. Depending on your restaurant’s theme, WiFi marketing can be a fantastic restaurant marketing tool for you.
Reasons to use WiFi marketing as part of your restaurant marketing strategy:
- Quick service retailers like specialty coffee shops, cafes, craft breweries, wine bars and multi-mix concepts are using WiFi marketing to better manage their limited guest usable space by requiring a purchase for timed-limit use of a guest WiFi amenity
- Full-service restaurants, meanwhile, are using WiFi marketing to grow their subscribers by offering a free guest WiFi amenity in exchange for permission-based personal contact information
- WiFi marketing can be helpful to learn about anonymized location analytics and real-world behavior, including foot traffic rate per day in your location, where customers are spending the most time when in your restaurant, repeat visits, type of devices and more!
- WiFi marketing solutions offer built-in email marketing and SMS marketing and deeper integrations with your POS and eCommerce systems.
Send Personalized Newsletters
Many restaurants send out generic newsletters, but personal newsletters are a great way to connect with customers on an emotional level.
Little gestures can make such a big difference when it comes to newsletters. For example, you could send personalized birthday emails with a discount coupon or give a reward for a special occasion or anniversary that means a lot to your customers.
By sending personalized newsletters, you’ll be encouraging customers to come into your restaurant, but you’ll also be showing you’re a detail-oriented brand that values and appreciates your customers.
Ensure A Unified Customer Experience
These days, a unified customer experience is so important. Whether they are ordering online or dining with you, it’s vital that customers enjoy a coherent and satisfactory experience.
Customers will expect to experience the same however they are interacting with your brand. Think carefully about how you communicate with your customers across different channels and ensure they are cohesive.
Grow Customer Loyalty
At GoGoGuest, we view customer loyalty programs differently. While POS systems and other third-party loyalty programs focus on point-based systems $1 = $1 point., GoGoGuest offers a milestone-based loyalty program that can flex and scale to your restaurant’s customer loyalty goals.
Reasons to use a milestone-based customer loyalty or rewards program:
- Milestone based rewards programs are designed for customers who want status and an exclusive experience with your brand
- Rewards are computed across your available channels in-store, online orders and eCommerce
- Restaurants can set reward milestones every six months or every year
- Points to reach a milestone do not accumulate forever. This approach to rewards program design encourages customers to aspire to bigger and bolder exclusive experiences within specific time frames
- Add points for specific guests and customer groups to facilitate more purchases
- Communicate rewards by email or SMS
- Directly integrate with your POS, online ordering channel and eCommerce
- No third-party hardware is needed
- No plastic or digital reward cards needed
Run Promotional Campaigns
Promotional campaigns are a great way to create a buzz. You’ll also be able to build more awareness of your brand, gain instant recognition…and win more clients.
When it comes to promotional campaigns, the opportunities are endless, but you’ll want to run a promotion that will get customers engaged and ordering from you. You might want to run a limited-time deal or offer. You could give coupons, discounts, or free menu items.
When it comes to deciding what campaign will be best for your restaurant, think about what offers will generate the most excitement and interest in your restaurant.
Run A Blog Or You Tube Channel
Content marketing remains a highly effective marketing technique in 2021. However, you’ll want to make sure content adds value to your audience and is interesting, useful or entertaining. Creating great content is always an investment, and your results will only be as good as the effort you put in.
You could consider running a blog, sharing valuable and interesting insights on your food and menu. Sharing hints, tips and ideas is a great way to build trust and create a buzz about what you do.
If video is more your thing, you could try running a YouTube channel, sharing recipes, or sharing video content on social media platforms. You’ll get great exposure and will build a following of loyal fans.
Encourage And If Required, Incentivize Reviews
Reviews are one of the most powerful tools you have in your business. Prospective customers will look at reviews to see how others have experienced your restaurant and if they enjoyed their food and dining experience. If you have positive reviews and great customer feedback, you will attract more customers and interest.
Encourage customers to leave a review. You may also want to set up some kind of incentive scheme to encourage customers to leave a review.
Actionable restaurant marketing does not end in implementation and execution. Measuring the performance and iteration of each customer touchpoint is key to your success.
Reasons to measure the performance of each actionable restaurant marketing tactic:
- Apply purchase patterns and insights to menu engineering, customer engagement and loyalty programs
- Use deep analytics and insights to know which customer touchpoint is performing well or not
- Learn from the successful engagement for each customer group
- Iterate on underperforming touch points
- Measure ROI
- And more reasons to measure performance