As a restaurant owner, your main objective in creating restaurant marketing strategies and spending advertising dollars is to simply bring in new customers, and create loyal patrons who will make their way to your dining room time after time, however frequent–but as the saying goes–the more the merrier!
What Restaurant Marketing Strategies Should You Focus On?
Restaurants must largely focus on branding by personally appealing to their guests with clear branding that creates a comfortable and enjoyable environment for the customer. In the restaurant industry, your customers must leave satisfied with a positive experience, and traditionally, there have been quite a few ways a restaurant can appeal to their crowd—from pleasant staffing to the ambiance to, of course, the menu. It’s all about the experience.
As a restaurant owner though, you’ve probably already considered the impact Social Media can have on your business, and you’ve probably made some steps to getting started on using Social Media as a major tactic for marketing your restaurant, like setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account. Social platforms are the stepping stones for creating incredible brand images as well as directly interacting with customers and receiving valuable insight or feedback. Every industry is different, but restaurants have a unique opportunity to reel in Social Media success from how they decide to interact on social media platforms. Hands down, using social media can be one of the most effective restaurant marketing strategies–but only when done correctly.
The greatest restaurant marketing strategies and methods you should be leveraging to your advantage over social media networks and channels are the use of contests and other similar promotions. Contests are a sure-fire way to bring traffic in through your doors in an immediate manner. With the amount of advertisement that has been thrown at consumers and customers, the lengths needed to capture your audience must go beyond the typical. Offering contests and promotions will increase awareness and publicity for your business and put your brand image in a spectacular and modern light. People want to get involved with your business, and you should want to get involved with them in new and innovative ways that don’t just benefit you, but reward them for their patronage.
4 Kick-Starters for Restaurant Marketing Strategies Success
If your restaurant isn’t seeing any substantial results from your social media marketing efforts, consider implementing any (or all!) of these ideas for restaurants marketing strategies that successfully reach out to customers with contest and will align your social media and social branding in ways that will satisfy and perhaps exceed your customers’ expectations.
- Promote within your restaurant. There are numerous ways, from promotions, contents, sweepstakes, and giveaways—to entice your guests to participate on your Social Media while they’re visiting your restaurant. Promoting within your restaurant makes customers aware of your promotions immediately and makes them much more likely to engage in the promotion, and also, visit your Social Media profiles later. This immediate awareness is a great thing to use to your advantage as a restaurant, and promoting the existence of your social media will bring a great deal of awareness to it while placing you in a modern, with-the-times brand position. Just be sure you are complying with Facebook’s rules and terms and conditions for promoting. You can no longer promote or enter a contest by posting on the Facebook wall or through the liking of a post or page. You can still however have people formally enter the contest, say, by signing and filling out a form while they are at the table or paying their bill.
- Offer Groupon deals to your customers. This particular tactic is only successful with an added touch of creativity. Some restaurants have had a great deal of success and foot traffic from organizing and creating deals that appeal, while others have simply been less successful because of their lack of thinking outside of the box. Offer a Groupon deal that is unique and that will not cause you to lose out on money by offering too sharp of a discount. Good ideas that would draw a crowd and attract new attention would be to hold a VIP part night, host a special brunch, or even host a class for baking a certain dish or ongoing classes for all types of dishes. Creativity is key in creating deals that actually entice people to join in on the fun.
- Personalize. A great idea for creating incredible foot traffic is to offer a special discount or promotions that apply to specific people, like offering 50% off discounts or complimentary items for customers who apply to the promotion. One criterion you could offer is picking a daily name and posting it to Social Media platforms. Customers with the name of that day are applicable to the promotions, but chances are customers will come in with other non-qualifying customers.
- Value customer check-ins. The advent of Foursquare and other similar social mobile platforms have changed the way people can share with their friends and family how and where they are having dining experiences. Another neat social platform is Scvngr, which is much like Foursquare, and allows restaurant owners to set up challenges or games for customers who check-in. If you don’t have a location based network set up for your restaurant already, you’re falling behind because many of your competitors are already employing them. But because they work! There are a number of great incentives you can offer your customers, and by setting up a network, you’re able to track the number of customers who check-in to your restaurant. One super idea is to even set up a contest that rewards the most frequently visiting customer.
Just like simply setting up Social Media profiles is not enough for Social Media Marketing success, simply setting up amazing, unique contests will do you no justice. You must promote your restaurant marketing strategies and contests everywhere possible on the net, and most definitely promote them from within your restaurant for viral success.
Katie is the Editor and Director of Communications and Design at The People’s Marketing. Driven by a passion for language and communication, she lives for educating and exploring the power of human interaction in a technology-driven world. In her spare time she enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time outdoors.