It’s said that word of mouth advertising is the most effective - in fact 4 out of 5 people say that their buying choices are based on word of mouth. But how do you get those word of mouth advocates in the first place?
Through your restaurant’s marketing campaign.
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Learn About Your Existing Customers
To increase the number of customers to your restaurant start by getting feedback from your existing customers.
Constructive feedback will help you improve your services, and help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to understand why people go to your restaurant and what they enjoy. This is the beginning of your target customer profile.
Talking to your customers will also give you essential insight into which marketing platforms your customers consume. Are they more likely to read the newspaper or Facebook? Do they listen to apple podcasts or local radio? Knowing type of information is crucial to spending your marketing dollars wisely.
Customer Comment Cards
To encourage the valuable feedback you need to improve service and increase marketing effectiveness you can distribute customer feedback cards that can be used as a coupon.
Some example questions:
- How many times have you been to our restaurant?
- How did you find out about us?
- Did you like the food?
- Did you like the service?
- Did you like the ambiance?
- Would you recommend our restaurant? Why or why not?
- Have you ever seen one of our ads? Where?
The above questions will help you gain insight into how your existing guests think about your restaurant. Knowing how people know about your restaurant is important before spending your marketing dollars.
Read More: Facebook Restaurant Marketing
Find What Makes You Unique
Is it a hot dish? A funky atmosphere? Additional services? What’s the big draw that sets you apart from the rest of the restaurants around you?
Hopefully you have some idea, but it’s important to test the market before you spend too much money. Contact the customers who filled out your comment cards and ask them if they like your proposal.
“Would you enjoy a restaurant that had a large tank of live lobsters?” Or “Would you take advantage of our services more if we had online ordering and delivery?” Find out how your marketing target reacts before you make changes.
To develop your marketing campaign you need to decide on one unique proposition of value that you can provide your target customer. The reason to choose one is because you must make your idea clear and precise to cut through the marketing noise that consumers are faced with.
Do Post ALL The Time
Every post and reply that you write on Facebook is an opportunity for customer engagement and restaurant brand-building. A good mix of paid post boosting and organic reply-traffic will take time and effort.
It’s also a matter of keeping your name and logo in the forefront of people’s consciousness. If someone is seeing your restaurant’s name come across their screen three times or more a day, you’d better believe it’s going to affect their behavior the next time they are hungry!
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Marketing your Unique Proposition
Keeping Your Message On Target
Once you have figured out what unique proposition you have for your target customer and the best media with which to reach them, the next challenge is to decide how to say it.
Your target customers’ preferences and lifestyle determine the tone of your marketing communications. The important thing is to keep it consistent in order to have a strong sense of your brand. For example, you wouldn’t want to send out direct mail that sold the idea of a dance club atmosphere, then produce a radio commercial that makes it look like a family restaurant.
Make A Media List
List out each of the types of media you want to advertise in.
- Social Networks
- Direct Mail
- Local Radio
- Local TV
Focus on where your local customers’ attention lies.
Create a Budget
Next, determine how much money you have to spend on marketing. Research marketing costs for your chosen platforms and focus on the ones that will be most effective.
Make sure to budget for all costs involved. If you’re unsure, it’s better to over-budget than under-budget. For companies who sell advertising services, they are generally good at providing accurate estimates.
Distribute Your Content
Now’s the time you’ve been waiting for. Air your commercial. Post your food pics on Instagram. Send out those coupons. If you’ve done your research to here you should be in good shape.
Success at this stage is dependent on following the other steps leading up to this point: knowing your customers, and staying within budget.
Measure The Impact
Compare your restaurant sales over the next week. Ask your customers why they came in. Track the increase in sales to determine if the investment in marketing created a net profit.
If things didn’t work out how you hoped don’t worry. Effective marketing is a constant improvement process. What you learn from your first marketing campaign will inform your restaurant marketing tactics in the future. Experience is priceless.
Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure
Start your marketing campaign by interviewing your existing customers. Use this information to improve your business and appeal to your target demographic.
Determine what your unique restaurant proposition is. Develop a message that communicates your unique proposition. Find the most effective forms of media to reach your target customers and budget accordingly.
Distribute your marketing materials and measure the increase in business you receive. If it’s not what you expected, change course and improve. You can’t put a price on learning to market your restaurant more effectively. It’s going to take time.