Running a restaurant is no easy task. After building your restaurant from the ground up, the worry of not having enough customers can be a daunting thought. Serving great food and having outstanding customer service are just two parts of running a successful restaurant.
It’s now time to think about your marketing and advertising strategies. How can you market your restaurant to the local community? How do you attract local customers to your restaurant?
A solid local marketing strategy will not only help you attract new customers, but convert them into returning customers and help them become advocates (or indirect brand ambassadors) for your restaurant. In this article, we’ll share some tips
and tricks on how to market your restaurant locally.
What Should I Start With?
The first thing you should do is to understand that marketing is anything you do to promote and grow your restaurant. There are two main options to market your restaurant – traditional and digital marketing. We’ll break down the different tips you can use for each method.
The next thing in your ultimate marketing game plan is to come up with the overall goals of your marketing strategy. It’s important to factor in your big-picture goals when creating a marketing strategy for your restaurant in 2021.
Your marketing strategy should be well-rounded and provide a holistic approach to improving your restaurant’s business.
How Can I Promote My Food Business Locally with Digital Marketing?
Effective digital marketing can give your business the boost it needs to increase your customer base and sales. Your menu, staff, and guest experience make your restaurant special. But your online presence is what will attract customers to your local restaurant.
1. Create an Online Local Business Page
A local food business can connect better with the local community compared to large chain restaurants. By creating an online local business page, you’re giving potential customers a platform to find information about your restaurant.
Your online local business page can either be a website or a social media business page. It should house all relevant information about your business, including contact information, opening hours, payment methods, and reviews.
The business page is also where you can run local promotions, engage with the local community through contests and events, and host reviews from your customers.
2. Invest in a Mobile App
A study found that 70% of consumers want to order directly from restaurants, not third-party services. The two primary reasons for this are:
· Direct ordering eliminates the delivery charges and extra fees
· Third-party customer service can sometimes be unresponsive or cold.
Restaurant-goers were already moving toward online ordering and mobile payments before the pandemic, but this has obviously increased throughout the global health crisis. This makes having a mobile app all the more important to cater to changing consumer behavior.
Crisp QSR Management can help you create a mobile app that’s highly engaging and user-friendly. With your mobile app, you can provide customers with exceptional extra services including curbside pickup and ordering, loyalty programs, digital gift cards, location finder, and behavior-based special offers.
3. Email Marketing
If you’re not already sending emails to your customer base, you should start. Even with the mobile app, some customers may opt-out of the push notification feature, making them miss important promotions they might want to get.
Email marketing isn’t dying, and it can be very effective if done right. It’s important to go through a trial-and-error phase with email marketing to find out what works with the local market, and what doesn’t.
Try sending emails at different times, with different subject lines, and different tones to see which works best for you. But don’t spam your customers! One email a week letting them know what is new and what your restaurant is currently offering is enough.
You can be personal and quirky with your emails depending on the message you’re trying to convey. Use website and email analytics to see which content is most popular with your customers.
4. Leverage Social Media
Your website, mobile app, and email marketing are tools to push information to your customers. Now you want to invite interaction and have more engaging communication with your local community. Social media is the perfect tool for this.
Decide which social media channel works best for you. Facebook and Instagram are popular channels for restaurant owners, because you can feature posts and videos about your restaurant. Try posting a behind-the-scenes video to show your customers how the kitchen operates. Or show them how a particular dish is made.
Once you have your social media accounts up and running, capitalize on the two-way communication feature by engaging with your community. Invite your customers to ask questions with engaging posts. Respond to all reviews, negative or positive. Ask the community what they’d like to see in next season’s menu. All these can help you build a healthy following, leading to increased email signups and mobile app downloads.
How Can I Promote My Food Business Locally with Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing can be very effective when used together with your digital marketing strategy. Traditional marketing includes TV, radio, print, and mail advertising, and printed promotional materials like brochures and flyers.
1. Host events
What better way for your customers to know what’s new in your restaurant than to host a menu tasting event? If you’re planning to introduce a list of new menu items and need to know how your customers will react to it, host a tasting menu with smaller portions that will allow them to taste, and provide feedback forms at the event for their input.
Flyers are still great marketing tools to promote your restaurant to your local community. Cultivate a relationship with other local businesses in your area and ask if they’d be happy to have your flyers displayed in their store. Drop your flyers in mailboxes or distribute them in a parking lot.
Hold contests on social media with a free meal as a prize. This doesn’t just increase your social media engagement but also allows prize winners to invite their friends for a meal. Winners are also more likely to share what they won and the food they had at your restaurant with their friends, leading to one of the oldest and most effective marketing strategies known – word of mouth.
4. Advertise in local media
Include traditional advertising in your marketing strategy. Depending on your available budget, consider advertising in local newspapers, radio stations, and TV. This can include a call to action for customers to visit either your website or social media pages.
But remember to make your advertisement engaging and easy to remember. The average American consumer is exposed to anywhere between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every day, including traditional and social media. If you’re thinking of advertising on TV, make your ad short, sweet, and memorable.
Which Method Is Better?
One method isn’t better than the other. The best approach is a combination that suits your restaurant’s needs. It also depends on the community and location you’re in. You don’t necessarily need a big budget to create a powerful marketing strategy. Think about your goals, then decide the elements you need to include in your strategy.
Your ultimate goal shouldn’t be just to increase profits. Instead, you should consider becoming a pillar of the community and have regular, returning customers.
If you need help with your marketing strategy, contact us to find out how we can help you and your business.