How to tailor your marketing message to your local weather.
All marketers and business owners know that there are some factors that impact their business but are beyond their control. For restaurants, one such factor is weather. It may be out of your control, but I’m here to tell you that you can – and should – use weather data to inform your marketing decisions. Let’s get into how you can do this.
Start by mapping historical weather data against your restaurant’s sales and traffic data
The more granular you can get with this, the better. You are looking for patterns – maybe overall sales dip when it rains or snows, but alcohol sales increase.
A temperature increase of as little as two degrees could drive a major increase in lunch traffic. Maybe your restaurants in the northeastern U.S. are less sensitive to drops in temperature or big snows, while your Californian restaurants suffer even when it drizzles even the tiniest bit. It’s up to you to understand how the weather historically impacts your business in order to take advantage of it.
Leverage a weather-based digital advertising partner
There are several vendors offering weather-triggered advertising that can hook into your existing platforms via API.
Based on your findings from your historical analysis, you may reach the conclusion that in certain locations, you always lose sales when there is a snowstorm. It would be a good idea to reduce or completely stop ad spend during these times. This might seem overwhelming if you operate multiple restaurants in various locations, but it’s easy to manage through weather triggers that control your campaign budgets for you.
Develop weather-specific ad creative
Through your weather-triggered advertising partner, you can also serve digital ad creative that is relevant to the consumer’s local weather.
Feature your patio and great margaritas during bouts of sunny weather. Push comfort food menu items or offer buy one, get one for hot beverages during cold weather spells. If you already know that foot traffic to your restaurant will be down during poor weather, that’s a great time to focus your efforts on your online ordering or delivery options.
If one of your locations has just suffered from a natural disaster, leverage your email program to build more loyalty through a “kids eat free” promotion or by letting members know that you will be donating food and supplies to the local emergency aid station.
Maintain a “test and learn” mentality
As with any marketing initiative, it’s important to approach weather-based messaging with a desire to test new ideas and make changes based on your learnings.
Gina Lee De Freitas has 15+ years marketing the restaurant industry. She is the Chief Operating Officer/ Partner at IMM, a digital ad agency.