For as long as there are human beings around, there will be a need for restaurants because we all need to eat. The food industry is one of the rare ones where the demand never dies, and because of that it has always had fierce competition especially with so many celebrities joining in on the fun. Fortunately, the market is still big enough for you to not have to fight over scraps with the competition and still make a profit, although that all depends on how you market yourself.
First and foremost, what every restaurant owner needs to figure out is what type of audience you want to cater to. Is your target audience millennials? Do you want to create a family-friendly environment? Or perhaps you’re aiming for the older generation?
All these things matter because the tastes differ significantly within each generation. What the youngsters like won’t probably be held in very high regards by some of the older folks out there. From their standards to expectations, everything is worlds apart. Once you have figured that out and decided on your audience of choice, we can start working on developing a marketing campaign for your business because such parameters need to be defined clearly to create content that will be accepted by them.
Use Social Media to its Fullest Extent
Many people forget the importance and the relevance of Social Media websites as a marketing platform. They are not only free to use but also have some of the highest traffic passing through them at any point in time. So how can you take advantage of it? By doing these simple tasks.
No one will ever say no to free things. Holding giveaways every so often is a great way to maintain user interest and bring in new people by adding conditions to the contest like “The more you share, the higher the chance of winning you have” or simply “Tag a friend”.
This is a fairly common practice and is used by many popular restaurant chains quite often. The giveaway could be a free dinner, all you can eat buffet for up to two people or anything else related to the restaurant. It all depends on how much you’re willing to spend.
This not only creates free publicity but also gives your business page more followers and subscribers that will like just to be included in any future events. It’s a great way to raise brand awareness relatively cheaply.
Another great use of Social media platforms comes with these new ‘challenges’. You probably heard about the “Ice bucket challenge” which was all over the internet some time ago. It was created to raise awareness for ALS but the concept is solid and is proven to work in other situations as well.
A potato chip brand used a similar marketing method in which they created a single chip with some of the hottest peppers in the world and the challenge was to eat it without drinking anything. This of course is quite an extreme example and you should probably go for something that won’t land you in the news or the court, but it’s a great way to advertise your restaurant and if it catches on, it could do wonders.
Hold creative events at your establishment like bringing in local bands, artists and musicians every now and then to attract new crowds and further differentiate yourself from the competition.
Hashtags are a great way to increase your brand visibility and further increase customer engagement. Accompanied by your restaurant logo hashtags can keep your business’s name circulating in the popular social circles and even increase discoverability of other similar posts. Many smaller restaurants and food trucks even give their customers a discount if they post a selfie with the food with a particular hashtag. It’s a win-win situation where the business increases actual sales and further cements its online presence.
There is no point in advertising on an international level when you can only serve the local community. What you should be focusing on is becoming popular locally and coming up whenever someone searches for restaurants in your area. This can be done in a few different ways like ranking higher in Google searches. For this you will need to do some SEO on your website and social media pages with relevant keywords.
Geo-targeted ads are also a great opportunity that should not be wasted. They are offered by almost every major advertising service and can save restaurants a lot of money by only showing your ads to people in a specific area of your choosing. This gives you the most return on your investment by making sure that every click is as relevant as possible.
Reviews are another great way to increase brand awareness. Offer deals and discounts to those customers that are willing to leave reviews on your social media pages or on other platforms like google and yelp. But since it is the internet, you are bound to get a few negative reviews in which case you should contact them and see if their minds can be changed (they usually can be).
Fully Functioning Website
The advancement of technology has made business websites pretty commonplace. Everyone uses them for making reservations or even ordering takeaways or home delivery’s so having a website which accurately shows what your restaurant is all about is extremely important.
Show off your establishment with tasteful photo galleries, post your menu and drink lists so the customers know what to expect, and most importantly, make sure it is user-friendly. The website should work with all mainstream mobile devices natively and have no compatibility issues whatsoever. There is nothing more annoying than trying to access a restaurants website and not being able to navigate through it.
Customer loyalty programs are another great way to expand on your current marketing strategy, whatever it may be. Loyalty programs have always been popular and are a big part of the restaurant and fast-food businesses.
How they work is with a certain number of purchases the customer becomes eligible for a large discount or even a free meal entirely. This creates more opportunities for return business, even making non-regulars think twice about switching to a different restaurant. It always remains on the back of their minds when they know there is a guarantee of a free meal as long as they keep coming back, which is all any business can ask for.
There are numerous apps out there that can help restaurants with loyalty programs and you won’t even have to spend any extra capital on developing an app or a program from scratch and will be able to simply adapt any one of the ones that have been perfected with time.
Text marketing or SMS marketing is one of the most basic and most important marketing methods for restaurants and one that is largely ignored. Texts are so commonplace and are such a big part of our everyday lives that we don’t even think of them as marketing tools, but they are and great ones at that.
SMS marketing offers some of the best features for all small to mid-sized businesses. Let’s take a look why:
Text-Based marketing programs have always been cheap no matter the field. They barely cost anything when compared with the other, more traditional methods while having a lot more reach. With texts it doesn’t matter how far the sender and receiver are from each other whereas the delivery is instantaneous.
They are a great way for restaurants to advertise new offerings, special events, and limited-time deals just to name a few, directly to potential customers. With features like Mass messaging restaurants have the ability to reach an entire demographic at once if they wish to, which makes marketing efforts a lot more worthwhile.
Most Bang for Your Buck
The first thing you should look at when making any financial decision is the ROI, and in SMS marketing, you won’t ever be disappointed with the results.
Avenue, a clothing store kicked off an MMS campaign that gave a $5 coupon to every person that joined their campaign. By the end, they were able to get an ROI of 6,600 percent and a staggering open rate of 97%, which is almost unheard of. It is a prime example of what can happen when the marketing campaign is done correctly and by the right hands.
As a restaurant owner/manager you should be well aware of how important repeat business is in the Food industry. Because at the end of the day, you are not offering an intangible service but a product that can only be enjoyed locally. Which is why even if you have high foot traffic, but without regulars sooner or later you’re going to run out of customers to serve. That’s why you need to go above and beyond and do everything possible to retain customer interest by creating more opportunities for engagement.
The feature of 2-way messaging is of extreme importance in the restaurant business. It will allow you to not only send promotional messages en masse but also receive them as well. If need be you can connect directly with your customers and ask them for feedback on particular dishes, new design or expansion ideas and find out what they really want, because in the end that’s all that matters.
This feature is also useful for making reservations, placing orders for delivery and takeaways etc. basically completely removing the need for other, similar sources, although it never hurts to have them as well.
Full Creative Control
SMS marketing service providers like Express Text which are leaders in their own fields don’t put any limitations on the contents of the messages. The client has full control to change the message at content at will on their side, without the interference of any third parties. You can, of course, ask for advice but if not, proceed how you think is right because you can truly know what’s right for your business.
Put links of your social media pages and profiles within the text messages and share them directly with potential consumers. You are even able to track who clicked on which link, when and where. This data can help businesses find out which platforms are popular with which type of customer, allowing you to better optimize them for any future endeavors.
Clients have complete freedom to choose from several different subscription plans and decide on the one which best fulfills their needs. There are no binding contracts so any plan can be changed later on if you feel like you need more or fewer features according to your businesses capabilities.
Automatically get the email address of all subscribers that join the list and grow your own subscriber lists with ease.
Marketing can literally make or break your brand. It is entirely up to you how you decide to go about it but keep one thing in mind, adapting is not a weakness. If you see something is not working, change it. If it looks like you can be doing more or less, be flexible enough to change according to the market needs.
There are as many marketing strategies as there are types of products, so choose something that is compatible with your idea of what the business should look like instead of the other way around.
But with everything from Scheduled texts, Autoresponders, unlimited storage, to Link tracking, and detailed analysis of every single figure, text marketing has a lot more to offer than most people know about. It is much more personal than other methods out there and has sky-high open rates. Its many success stories are a testament to its effectiveness.
And with the much bigger pool to choose from than the other marketing methods, the chances of you finding the right demographic and establishing trust and loyalty with them are high to enough to warrant the extra bit of time it would take go opt for something like this.