Marketing a restaurant is not easy. Competition is fierce, customers can be fickle and shifting dining trends can mean the market changes quickly. Restaurants need the perfect marketing mix to entice new customers and encourage repeat and profitable return visits. To help you target your marketing strategy effectively this year, Hannah Hambleton of Beambox shares six essential elements to include in your 2020 marketing mix:
1. Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories differ from normal Instagram posts in that they disappear after 24 hours and allow links and geotags to be added (essential for restaurant search). They take the marketing power of Instagram even further – boosting brand awareness and marketing reach.
Here are some great ways to use Instagram Stories for your restaurant marketing:
- Share some behind-the-scenes clips of your restaurant. This can include getting ready for a busy service or interviewing your chef or servers. This is engaging, interesting content your followers will love.
- Include a direct link in a Story to your booking page. This feature is only currently available to accounts with over 10k followers, but it makes it quick and easy for potential diners to book a table.
- Share a specific, follower-only special offer. This disappears after 24 hours, so you can target any offers effectively. It also promotes a sense of scarcity and that’s marketing gold.
2. Providing Wi-Fi
Giving customers what they want is vital for every restaurant. And that includes guest Wi-Fi. As well as driving footfall, Wi-Fi marketing is an important part of any restaurant marketing mix. As customers log-in with their email address and sign up, you can then use details of customers who opt-in for lead-generation and retention.
Guest Wi-Fi means your restaurant will be able to:
- Send automatic requests for reviews after diners have used and logged out of your guest Wi-Fi network. You can include a direct link, making it super easy to complete.
- Capture vital data for future customer insight. This will make your marketing better and more valuable, giving you essential insight into what drives your customers to act.
- Use guest Wi-Fi marketing to send automatic coupons or discounts. This can be automatically after a customer’s visit, or in a re-engagement strategy for any customers who haven’t visited in a while.
3. Email marketing
Email marketing is low cost, flexible and its super-segmentation potential allows targeting of specific customer groups. Every restaurant needs to use it as part of their marketing mix.
- Send personalized emails to various customer segments. These can be used to target and nurture as well as upsell.
- Use emails to respond to customer behaviour. For example, immediately after they’ve visited your restaurant, send a review request, special discount offer to encourage return visits, or simply ask for feedback on their experience.
- Keep customers up-to-date and engaged with your brand with interesting newsletters.
It’s important to build a great email list of quality contacts. As mentioned above, one way to do this is building an email list from guest Wi-Fi in your restaurant, or by offering competitions online where entry requires inputting an email address.
We've already mentioned reviews above, as they're an essential part of any business' marketing strategy. In particular, customer reviews increase brand awareness, give you invaluable feedback, get you noticed, and help to make you the first choice for any diner who may be considering your competition.
- Make sure you focus on increasing your review rates. Methods include sending a link to Tripadvisor or Yelp via guest Wi-Fi, sending requests via email or offering a special offer in exchange for an honest review.
- You can then leverage the power of reviews further by highlighting them on social media or including the best quotes in any marketing copy.
5. Encourage user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat includes restaurant reviews, tagged videos and uploaded photos all taken from diners. It serves to show your customers having a great time with you, as well as boosting brand awareness and follower engagement.
Here are some great ways to encourage UGC from your diners:
- Ask your guests to share a selfie with a feature area in your restaurant, or offer a complimentary drink if they share a picture on social media and tag the restaurant.
- Create a Geofilter on Snapchat. This continually pushes your brand image and it’s relatively low cost. Your guests can use this filter when they’re at your restaurant and upload their snaps. It’s great for UGC and also for geotagging.
- Offer prize draw entries, or a money off coupon in exchange for an uploaded video from diners.
6. App marketing
Consider adding a mobile app to your marketing mix. They offer powerful marketing potential.
- Mobile apps allow your restaurant to send targeted push notifications to certain diner segments. This can also include geo-targeting based on beacon technology, so you can specifically push special offers to tempt potential diners physically close to your restaurant.
- Mobile apps have powerful potential for loyalty schemes. Your restaurant needs loyal customers, and combining customer data into a branded mobile app can be a great way to offer relevant rewards to every customer.
The right restaurant marketing mix is essential to boost SEO and brand awareness, as well as boosting long-term profitability. To keep ahead of the game, review your marketing mix regularly, testing new channels and ways to engage and nurture customers.
About the Author
Hannah Hambleton is the Content Manager for Beambox. Beambox is a guest Wi-Fi provider, combining perfect Wi-Fi with an innovative marketing platform for lasting customer insight. Beambox works with venues including retailers, hotels and restaurants.