Marketing your restaurant is one of the most important factors ensuring it takes off and takes root.
In fact, not properly marketing your business is one of the common restaurant mistakes you can make.
There’s no doubt among the seemingly hundreds of other tasks crowding your day, marketing your restaurant is hard to fit in.
Find a dedicated person on your team who is marketing-savvy to handle each aspect of your marketing. This gives your staff a chance to shine, takes the burden off you, and draws attention to your restaurant.
Once you have staff members dedicated to your restaurant marketing, how do you know what strategies, channels and tactics to use?
Here’s a breakdown of 3 sure-fire marketing secrets that will get your restaurant noticed.
#1 A Kicka$$ Website
Having a website that isn’t mobile is like serving a filet mignon on a paper plate.
The first interaction many people will have with your restaurant will be through its website…
Make that experience count.
When people visit your website, it should create an impression right away.
Your site should be an extension of the atmosphere and personality of your restaurant.
Most people are coming to your site on a smart phone, so make sure whatever platform you’re using to publish your website can be adjusted to display well on a smaller screen.
Stay away from clunky PDF menus that don’t display well or at all on mobile devices and please, please, please stay away from adding music files.
It doesn’t create the online ambiance you’re going for.
YOUR WEBSITE CONTENT
- Invest in a professional photographer to take shots of your establishment.
- Prepare your most famous dishes and get photos of those at the same time.
- Grab some takes of your chef, line cooks, bartenders and servers in action.
- Include your logo, the name of your restaurant, the type of restaurant you are (e.g. French bistro, pub, Asian-fusion), and your contact and location information.
- Website visitors will find it helpful if they can browse your menu items, see customer reviews from Yelp, connect with you on your social media sites, and make reservations.
WORDS ARE IMPORTANT
The words and descriptions you use are important…
But keep copy short and simple.
Most people today use their smart phones to browse websites… yours won’t be any exception. That means keeping the amount of your words succinct and to the point is integral to your website’s success.
As you write your copy, think about the words people might use to look for your restaurant in a search engine.
Consider the type of restaurant you are, where you’re located, and superlative modifiers to include, e.g. best Italian restaurant in Baltimore.
Creating a high-quality website opens the door to more digital opportunities for people to find your restaurant. For example, you’ll be able to start targeting people who visit your website with ads on Google, Facebook and Twitter.
You can also create new audiences with search ads and send new potential customers to your restaurant based on their interests.
And with a website, you can set up a Google+ business account so more people can find you when they are doing a location search.
There’s no reason to break the bank on a modern website.
#2 Get Social
Once you have a website, the next best way to market your restaurant is to create a dedicated presence on social media.
Posting on social media channels allows you to connect with your community, whether it be local New Yorkers or people who love tex-mex food across the country.
You can engage with people who are already customers… and make customers out of people who didn’t know you existed.
Although there’s no set-in-stone rule about which social channels restaurants do the best on, there’s no doubt that if you can post stunning photos of food, then Facebook, Instagram and Pinterestare going to be where you shine.
However, don’t rule out Twitter, since tweets containing photos tend to stir up more notice than those without.
Note: No shoddy pics that are under lit or otherwise less-than-excellent. Those images will only serve to make your food look unappetizing.
Just pick one or two social media sites you’re comfortable with and post on them consistently.
There are many more ways you can use social media to market your restaurant:
- Be an Insta-ham. That’s right, post pictures of your food that are so drool-worthy that foodies can’t help but follow you – and visit you – to get more.
- Tell people what’s on your menu, where you’re getting your fresh ingredients from, or any specials you’re offering.
- Pay attention to user-generated content. Give props to your followers by sharing what they’ve posted about you. Respond to customers and fans when they post good or bad comments about you on social media.
- Tell your story by showcasing your chefs and staff. Who are they? Why do they make your restaurant so special?
Last but not least, social media is a way to get the attention of local food bloggers and beat writers who are looking for hot stories about restaurants.
By keeping up a top-notch social media presence, you’ll actually be doing some undercover PR for your restaurant, inspiring those in the media to give attention to your business.
#3 Make Email Marketing Your BFF
Did you know 77% of consumers prefer to receive marketing messages from businesses via email?
And for every dollar spent on email, $44.25 is the average return on investment.
Many companies wrongly assume people hate marketing emails…
But the stats prove the opposite is actually true.
That should be incentive enough to get your restaurant’s email program up and running, and it’s not as hard as it may seem.
First start by collecting emails for your list:
- Pull emails off your reservation system.
- Ask patrons for their emails on tabletops and at checkout.
- Create a form on your website and promote it on your social channels.
Next decide on the content that will go into your emails:
- Special deals and promotions
- Links to content about the local food and restaurant community
- Links to your social media sites
As with your website and social media channels, use high-quality images of your food, your staff, and your establishment in your email marketing.
People are drawn to beautiful images, and less likely to click if an image is meh.
These sites walk you step-by-step through how to put together and send an email, from already-made templates to adding first-name and other personalization elements.
If you want to get more advanced, services like Fishbowl provide restaurant templates and even manage email campaigns for a monthly fee.
Get Noticed… Up Your Restaurant Marketing Game
The restaurant industry is booming.
Because of that you have to think about how you’re going to get noticed in such a crowded market.
Figure out what makes you unique from competitors and other independents.
Then tailor your marketing with those differentiators in mind.
The good news is most of the tips below are relatively inexpensive or even free, so you just need to invest a little time. In fact, there are free restaurant apps out there that can make marketing your restaurant so much easier.
Start small and expand as you can and give your employees a shot at helping out with social media or email marketing.
For the cost of a few extra hours of labor you can start building the tools to help you grow today.
The Orderly App helps restaurants save money they can then reinvest into their business and marketing.
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