The 4 Best Restaurant Marketing Ideas
The restaurant industry is filled with stiff competition. No matter how popular your restaurant is, customers have to be able to find you. If you are noticing too many empty tables, you may want to take a look at your marketing strategy. According to the National Restaurant Association, 83% of adults use smartphones or tablets to look up information on restaurants such as locations, hours, menus, and more. Toast’s “Restaurant Technology in 2016” report states that 61% of people find out about restaurants through social media, the second most popular avenue behind friends. These numbers suggest restaurants should focus most of their marketing plans to social media and other online platforms yet less than 8% of small restaurants are posting on Facebook every week and only 2% are running ads, according to the restaurant ad agency Marketing4Restaurants.
If you don’t have a marketing plan in place, fear not. We have compiled the top restaurant marketing tips to help get you on the right track.
Social media is an easy way to reach customers. A few of the top social media platforms being used by restaurants are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As you begin to build these social media accounts, make sure to post frequently on social media, especially around meal times. You will also want to make sure that your address, hours of operation, and website information are accurate on each account. One of the first ways to advertise your restaurant on social media is by posting pictures of the food you offer. Although you can do this on any social media platform, Instagram is specifically made for sharing photos and videos, making it a great choice to target foodies in your area. If you’re catering to businesses during lunch hours, be sure to utilize these platforms and share pictures of lunch specials or other popular options. If you focus more on the dinner rush, share any prix fixe menus or unique courses. Because you will want high-quality photos, you may consider hiring a professional photographer, but you could always try to take the photos yourself. Do remember that it is very important for the quality of the photos to remain consistent. Food photos are a great way to let customers see the type of food you have to offer.
Another tip for social media promotions is to run giveaways for gift cards and merchandise. This is a great way to get followers excited about your brand. If you don’t have many followers on your social media accounts, ask followers to like and share your page for a chance to win a gift card or discount at your restaurant. Giveaways don’t always have to be for a gift card or merchandise. You could run smaller giveaways more frequently for a free soup, salad, or dessert.
In addition, if your restaurant receives any positive press, share it on social media! Set up a Google Alert for your restaurant so you never miss out on an opportunity to share an article that your restaurant is mentioned in.
Guest Management Software
A guest management software that offers a consumer-based waitlist and reservation app is an easy way to get found by diners. This will show your address and operating hours all in one place. A guest management software may also allow customers to check wait times and reserve a table, improving the overall guest experience. Once a diner visits your restaurant, you can gather important information such as emails, birthdays, anniversaries, allergy information, and more. You can easily integrate loyalty programs, too.
Once you have a customer database, keep in touch through email campaigns. According to Data and Marketing Association, “When it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), when compared to social, direct mail and more.” Personalized emails can be even more successful. Experian stated that, “Personalized promotional emails had 29% higher unique open rates and 41% more unique click-through rates in 2013.” These statistics should be proof of the power of email. If you have any special promotions or coupons, make sure to share them with your customers via email. If you have a blog or newsletter, you could include this in your email campaigns, too. Changes or new items added to the menu is something your customers would probably like to read about as well.
Your website will be the first thing people see when they search for your restaurant so it needs to be fully responsive. Restaurant SEO is a great way to get traffic to your website and should be included in your marketing strategy. Think about adding a blog on your website, too. On the blog, you can discuss signature dishes, employee spotlights, and general news about your restaurant. Your website is also the perfect platform for you to share your story. Letting customers know who you are and how you got started makes them feel more connected. Your employees play such an important part in your business so try to include pictures of them, too.
Creating a restaurant marketing strategy takes time and patience. No matter how many or few of these tips you employ, every effort counts. Which tips do you plan on implementing to promote your restaurant?
A great marketing strategy will get guests in the door but you also want them to come back. Check out our Technology Eguide to get tips on creating the ultimate guest experience:
About the Author
Conor Mullaney is a marketing contributor at QSR Automations. He attends Morehead State University where he is studying Sports Management and Marketing. Outside of school and work, he loves watching baseball and is a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity where he is the Community Service Chair.