In today’s highly competitive market, getting the marketing strategy right for your restaurant is critical. You will have a number of competitors, possibly on your doorstep, all fighting for the same trade. So how do you tempt customers through your doors? The most cost effective way to reach out to your customers is through digital marketing. But where to begin? Use these five bite-size tips to get your restaurant standing out from the crowd in the digital space.
1: Identify your target market
No two restaurants are the same, and before working on your restaurant’s marketing plan, it is important to understand what you are offering and who you are offering it to. Is your restaurant a grill house with awesome cocktails that’s a great hang out for groups of friends in their 20’s? Are you a cosy retreat ideal for mature couples to enjoy a romantic meal together? The success of most marketing strategies is owed to a good understanding of who your customers are.
2: Keep your website simple
An important part of any businesses digital marketing is it’s website. The same goes for restaurants, but keep it simple. Your website should illustrate your premises in it’s best light, and it will be worth getting some professional photographs to use across the site. Other than your menu, the one thing people will want to establish from a visit to your website is what the restaurant looks like. We suggest keeping your site to around four or five pages, and it’s also a good idea to use a CMS that will allow you to update elements of the site yourself, such as the menu.
3: Take bookings online
Taking bookings for your restaurant online is not essential, but it is hugely beneficial. Many people will visit your restaurant’s site out of hours and why not give them the opportunity to book a table while they are there? The most important thing is that the booking platform you use works and is reliable. The last thing you want is double bookings on your doorstep. There are lots of third party platforms out there that will integrate with your website. One of the most popular is OpenTable (www.opentable.co.uk). OpenTable allows people to make reservations and check availability, but there is a cost to use the service.
4: Social media is your friend
A highly cost effective way to market any restaurant is through social media. For most local businesses, restaurants in particular, social media networks such as Facebook offer you a platform to communicate with customers and target ads to potential guests. Facebook’s ‘Boosted’ content option allows you to set the budget you want and also helps you to create custom audiences that are highly targeted. It’s also a good idea to put signage on your entry to let customers know you are on social media and ask them to connect with you.
5: Encourage reviews
Encouraging people to post reviews of your restaurant on popular social media networks and review sites can be slightly nerve wracking, but it is strongly advisable. It not only gives you an insight into your customer’s experience, but negative reviews can identify areas that you need to improve on. Once things are running smoothly, building on your review count will give customers confidence in the food and service at your restaurant and encourage bookings. If you already have a number of positive reviews, many review sites allow you to integrate your reviews on your site. If you have a high turnover of guests at your restaurant, you may also want to consider a wifi login portal that integrates with review sites such as TripAdvisor.