Thousands of potential new customers are out there, hungry for a delicious meal, and here you are, a restaurant owner, hungry for more customers. So, what gives? Why aren’t you packed with people who want to sample your soup of the day or dessert of the week? Well, for starters, you’ll want to take a look at your marketing efforts to begin analyzing how and why you’re falling short of the mark.
As a restaurant owner, you might be thinking, “Marketing efforts? But I sell food! How can I market that outside of my actual restaurant?”
Excellent question. Many restaurant owners aren’t sure how to market their restaurant to people on the outside, and that’s perfectly understandable. If you’re not up to date with your knowledge of online marketing (specifically email marketing) and social media marketing, it may seem silly to you to think about marketing your restaurant online.
But, we’re here to tell you that it is certainly NOT silly. In fact, social media and email marketing are two of the best ways you can help spread the word about your restaurant to new customers, as well as keep your current customers interested by offering them unique deals and filling them in on the latest news.
Start With an Appetizer
Marketing in the restaurant industry is just like marketing in any other industry, but with an added twist. Most marketers are familiar with the aspect of drawing their customers in. For example: if you’re composing a restaurant email newsletter to keep your current customers in the know, you’ll want to make sure you employ the right attention-grabbers up front, or else risk your email being deleted by the vast majority.
Over 50 percent of readers delete marketing emails within the first two seconds of opening them, and yet, 48 percent of people reported a preference for email over any other form of contact with a business.
That means you’ll have to grab people’s attention almost immediately if you want to have any shot at your customers reading the rest of your message. But, how do you do that?
Restaurants should focus on getting people’s attention by using an industry-specific strategy. In the case of an email newsletter, you could include unique pictures of special dishes, starting out with an appetizer that is really spectacular-looking to eventually shift the focus to a new dish that you want to promote to your customer base.
All the usual email marketing strategies should be employed, like using short titles that get right to the point and sending mobile-friendly, optimized emails. But think of your marketing emails like you would a meal: start with an appetizer that wows, but leave them hungry for more (so they’ll keep on reading).
Feed Your Marketing with Social Media
Restaurant email newsletters are a great way to engage your current customer base, but what about seeking new business, and spreading the word about your restaurant to new customers (specifically local customers)? This is where we bring in social media. If you don’t think social media is a good idea, you might want to look around! More than 75 percent of US restaurants surveyed by Ipsos MediaCT reported using social media in March 2013.
With numbers like that, it’s no wonder you’re falling behind! If you’re not marketing your business online in 2013, you’re most certainly missing out on drawing in new customers.
How do restaurants just starting out with online marketing navigate Facebook pages or Twitter followings, and the like? The answer isn’t simple, but it’s also not as complicated as you might think.
Rule # 1: Come up with a well-researched, solid strategy. Your restaurant social media marketing strategy should most definitely include posting beautiful pictures of your food, but don’t just leave it at that. Make your marketing efforts continue to work on your behalf.
Post pictures of food with relevant hashtags to your business. Analyze your competitors’ pages, see what they’re doing right (and wrong), and change your approach based on those observances.
Craft compelling copy to match your pictures and hashtags, but don’t go overboard! Keep it short, sweet and to the point. Just like with restaurant email marketing, social media relies on good attention-grabbers.
Get the jump on local search while you’re at it. Facebook promotions are designed so you can choose the cities and towns where you want to target your post or ad.
Google+ and Google Places will show users a map of exactly where you are along with details about your restaurant, like hours of operation and phone numbers.
Make sure your details are correct on these type of indexes so that local searchers can easily find you and give your restaurant a try. After you get them in the door, it’s up to you to keep them coming back!
About the Author: Kelly Lucia is the Lead Staff Writer at PostsbyGhost.com. A ghostwriting service that provides businesses with the opportunity to build their online presence and grow their companies, Posts by Ghost offers strategic blogging, content marketing and SEO assistance to businesses of all shapes and sizes. She prides herself on providing clear and unique content for an immense variety of industries, from overseas blogs about raffle tickets to small business and marketing advice on ChamberofCommerce.com.