There’s no denying that the restaurant industry is fiercely competitive, especially when you set up your dining spot in the big city. But, even with smaller, local restaurants, it can be tough to get your name out there and compete with the big names of the dining world.
To make sure you’re getting those all-important bookings and filling your restaurant with lots of hungry stomachs, your best bet is to up your marketing game and implement a cost-effective strategy that wins your audience over.
Of course, how you are marketing your restaurant will differ depending on what kind of food you offer, where you’re located, and your target market, but there are plenty of things you can try. Take a look at these ideas and start building your winning strategy.
1) Social media marketing
Social media is quickly becoming the mothership for marketing, and it’s great for getting your name out to a targeted audience without spending big bucks. There are two different approaches to social media marketing your brand can try; reactive and proactive. Reactive marketing involves posts that respond to news and current events, and they make for more engaging posts that your audience will find relevant. Proactive marketing is a little different in that you plan your content for the future, scheduling a lot of posts to be filtered out over the coming days or weeks. It does mean they aren’t so relevant but it can save your marketing team a whole lot of time and means that you’re always posting regularly.
Another great way to jump onto the social media marketing bandwagon is through Facebook messenger, which is becoming a great way to communicate with your potential diners in an easy, friendly way. Facebook has even recently introduced a smart tool known as a One-Time Notification API, which lets your brand automatically follow up on previous inquiries. For example, if a table becomes available, Facebook will automatically notify the person with the option for them to book it.
If you’re looking to get your name out there, Google AdWords and PPC ad campaigns can be a fast-track to success – as long as you do it right! By paying to appear in search engines for specific, targeted terms, you can reach your target audience when they’re looking for you, giving you plenty of attention from the right people. But, it can be difficult to get right and you don’t want to waste money on the wrong terms, so working with a specialist restaurant marketing agency would be your best bet for this method.
3) Local SEO
If you don’t want to fork out for AdWords and PPC, organic SEO is an effective alternative for getting your name noticed in search engines. SEO, also known as search engine optimisation, is the process of using searchable terms in your content to make your site more relevant in the eyes of search engines, with the aim that when someone searches for that term you’ll pop up. There are also tons of other methods to improve SEO, including posting regular content, link building, and reducing bounce rate, so be sure to explore all your options.
4) Loyalty rewards
Giving out loyalty rewards is a tried and tested method of building up a large customer base – after you use the other methods to get them through the door, of course! By offering a loyalty reward, you encourage customers to return and build up a connection with them, showing you value their custom. Whether it’s a discount or a free drink, people can’t resist a reward! Getting existing customers back like this is also a far more cost-effective and easier way of filling your tables than hunting for new potential diners.
There are tons of effective marketing methods out there, so try out a few different options to find which work best for you before creating a final strategy. Remember, it’s likely that combining different methods is going to get you the results you want, so be open to a broad mix! Once you’ve tried them out, analyse the results from each before you decide on the select few you want to put your money into.