Use social media and online marketing to connect with your customers.
When people hear the word ‘restaurant marketing,’ words like BOGO, table tents and Happy Hour specials start to come to mind. While all of those things are great tools for encouraging your guests to dine with you, they are a one-to-many vehicle for communication.
Here are some really easy and quick ways to start building a personal relationship with your guests:
- Social Platforms – Are you present on the usual suspects such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat?
Social is so rich with information on your guests and what they like and don’t like about your restaurant and the general zeitgeist. Think about surprising and delighting some of your best influencers with their favorite menu item (which you would know because you are paying attention). That guest will be yours for years to come and encourage others to come with.
Try reposting and tagging photos that your customers are sharing of your food. This will show that you are paying attention and appreciate their business.
- Email Marketing – Sure, some have shunned their inboxes for short-form texts, but according to eMarketer there are still over 240MM email users with median ROIs of 122% – the inbox is not dead, folks.
The great thing about email is that your guest has raised their hand and said they want to engage with you on a deeper level. The last thing you want to do is screw that up by offering generic newsletter updates and offers only.
Get personal here – this is an area where your guests are OK with you looking at the data and providing a custom experience. Does your guest prefer beer or hard liquor? Do they have kids, if yes, how old are they? What is their kid’s favorite menu item? Don’t know? Well, there is still time to start down that journey with your guests.
- Content Marketing – Today, advertising and marketing is all about exchanging value with your guests. Bring them in to your world by sharing stories and they will likely share some back.
Showcase your staff and their stories – the ‘why’ behind their passion for working at your restaurant. Talk about the chef and the cooks and what excites them about food. Make the experience with your restaurant more than transactional and your guests will view it as a relationship not easily replaced by the cheaper and more convenient competition down the street.
In the current age of digital and social media, one-to-one conversations are happening and if you aren’t already taking advantage of this change in consumer behavior then your competition has probably snuck in and started doing it for you.
Gina Lee De Freitas has 15+ years marketing the restaurant industry. She is the Chief Operating Officer/ Partner at IMM, a digital ad agency.