How Restaurants Can Increase Sales With Marketing That Is Trackable and Builds a Database of Loyal Customers
The restaurant business is competitive, and it's not enough to simply be the best restaurant around. To stay afloat in this industry, you need to have a marketing strategy that can help generate new customers (and encourage them to come back). This blog post will discuss how restaurant owners can increase sales by using marketing that is trackable, builds a database of loyal customers the restaurant can use again and again to drive new and repeat business.
What's Your Restaurant Marketing Plan?
The first thing you must do to begin getting more customers in the door is to make a plan. This plan will include your restaurant's goals and the marketing campaigns you'll use to reach those goals.
- Goals: What do you want to accomplish with your restaurant? Do you want customers to come in for a special occasion, such as Mother's Day or New Year's Eve? Or are you looking to increase brand awareness so that more people become aware of your restaurant?
- Marketing Campaigns: What marketing strategies will you use to reach those goals? Will you be using social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook and advertising with Facebook Ads? Will you
Customer Information is King
The #1 thing that every restaurant can do to get more new and repeat guests in the door of their restaurant business is to begin collecting their customer's contact information.
How can a restaurant do this effectively?
Thankfully the internet has made it incredibly easy to gather the contact information of people that live near your restaurant via the use of their free advertising platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Now, don't get me wrong, to reach restaurant customers and drive them into your restaurant using their mobile device information will require you to invest money into the advertising platforms. But a wise man once said that when you figure out how to invest $1 and make $2 through paid advertising that it becomes a legal way to print money. Here's how you can do this for your restaurant business:
Decide on an offer your potential customer cannot refuse
We're not talking a free dessert here. To get people to willingly give up their name, email and phone number requires you to understand your Customer Lifetime Value (this is how much money you can make off a new restaurant customer over their entire relationship with you, including the amount they spend eating at your restaurant. UNDERSTANDING THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR TO YOUR LONG TERM SUCCESS AS A RESTAURANT OWNER)
If you know that the average CLV for your restaurant is $1500 then giving away a free meal or even a buy one get one free meals offer on someone's first visit becomes a no-brainer. Why? what's $10 or under in food costs to acquire a new customer that has the potential to spend $1500 or more? It's just smart business, especially when you as a restaurant owner take your focus off the short term and focus on the long term growth of your business.
Decide how you will acquire the contact info of your local customers
Now, you could ask for an email address or phone number when they checkout, and even set up a loyalty program where customers earn rewards that accumulate - HOWEVER that would require they already be inside your restaurant in most cases. We know most local customers that live and work around your restaurant business have never been in... so how can you easily get their contact info and do it for less than $1 in most cases?
Use Facebook Messenger
Facebook has myriad of data on every single user. In fact Facebook has over 1 million data points on every single user on the social media platform!
Armed with this knowledge, there are several ways to go about getting the customer to willingly give you their information. One of those ways is using our own Restaurant's Secret Weapon system, which has pre-built digital marketing strategies that can be easily setup to achieve success.
If you're more of a DIY restaurant owner and like to play around with restaurant marketing ideas in your spare time lookup tools such as Mobile Monkey and Manychat as a way to set this up yourself.
Added benefits of having customer data
- The restaurant can use these leads to create marketing campaigns such as text messages or email blasts with specials on specific days of the week if it is a restaurant that offers different specials each day of the week.
- Or, if you are a restaurant that is open for breakfast and lunch only on each day of the week, create a "Lunch Time Madness" campaign where they can text to get a deal on restaurant items.
- The restaurant can also offer deals to customers who have been featured in the restaurant's newsletter or blog, but if you are not sure how that would work for your restaurant it is best to get customer input like surveying them and asking what they want from the marketing campaign.
- You could ask restaurant customers the following questions:
- What restaurant items do they like?
- Where are their favorite restaurants to visit and why?
- What restaurant promotions could you benefit from or would entice them more, such as coupons for free appetizers or discounts on certain menu items.
How long does it take to see results?
Once you've determined the restaurant's goal for each campaign and how they'll be executed, it's time to create a timeline. This is crucial because restaurant owners can't expect different campaigns to work simultaneously. They'll need time to properly execute them, gain traction and show results before moving onto the next campaign.
- Timeline: How long will each marketing campaign be in effect? Will you start running ads online for three months or six months?
Once you have a timeline in place , you'll need to look at metrics. These are the ways restaurant owners can measure their marketing efforts and see if they're working or not, including impressions (the number of people who saw your ads), cost-per-click/customer acquisition costs (how many customers did you get for each dollar spent on advertising?), conversion rates (percentage of people who clicked on your ads and exchanged their contact info) and Customer Lifetime Value .
- Metrics to Track: What metrics will be most important for each campaign? Figuring this out will help restaurant owners direct their marketing efforts for maximum success. Luckily, there are systems out there like our own Restaurant's Secret Weapon that have got the top metrics down to a science and provide a dashboard of results you can see. However you decide to track your results, make sure you have a clearly defined measure of how to interpret your campaign's success.
Where should ads and offers be placed?
- Social Media Platforms: What social media pages will you use to promote your restaurant? Facebook, Instagram or both? You should already have several social media accounts created for your restaurant that will be the starting point for an effective restaurant marketing strategy.
Also take into consideration the type of restaurant you are marketing... Would you market a Casual dining restaurant the same way as an upscale restaurant? You should post restaurant offers on the platforms where your audience is most active.
- Website: A blog or social media page with a good following will help you reach out to potential restaurant customers and build customer loyalty by driving them back to your site for more information about specials, events, etc.
Make sure your website also has a way to display online reviews from your customers. I know it seems strange, but people visit restaurants based on how highly strangers speak of it!
All the local customers who have a good experience at your restaurant are potential gold mines for future business because of this. So, it makes sense for your marketing efforts to have a system in place that will allow you to get more online reviews from those happy people and then display them prominently for all to see on your website.
- Content: What type of restaurant content should be included in your posts (e.g., restaurant food, business info, pictures of happy customers)?
Make sure that social media is not your only avenue to promote your restaurant. Getting professional photographer to come in once a quarter and take updated photos of your menu items is also an important part of an effective digital marketing strategy.
Upload those photos to your website, your social media pages, google business site, and include them in any other promotional material you have made to maximize your restaurant marketing strategy.
Once these questions are answered , it's time to put them into action and see what works best for your restaurant! Keep track of the metrics that matter most to your restaurant and use them to make adjustments in your restaurant marketing plan as needed.
If you'd like to talk with us and see how our Restaurant's Secret Weapon system can handle all of your restaurant marketing needs, bring you more customers, increase customer loyalty, get more positive reviews and thus push out negative reviews, then email us at email@example.com or call us at 951-816-0181.