As restaurant owners, we've been fed a bunch of lies on how to effectively market our establishments. However, in this article, I'll be shedding light on the untold truths of restaurant marketing, which will enable you to boost your customer count, retention, and ultimately increase revenue.
But before we dive into the good stuff, let's clarify some key terms:
> Marketing is your strategy to reach and engage your target audience.
> Branding is the messaging and voice that crafts how you communicate with your audience within your marketing strategy.
> Advertising is the act of making customers aware of your product and driving them to take action.
Now that we've defined these crucial terms, let's explore the untold truths, and change the way you approach restaurant marketing.
Value Proposition and Offering:
Creating a strong value proposition and offering is the key to your restaurant's success and serves as the foundation for your marketing. Focus on the following areas to deliver an exceptional experience to your guests:
Review your menu: Ensure your dishes stand out in terms of taste, presentation, and uniqueness.
Train your staff: Invest in staff training to guarantee excellent service for your guests.
Pay attention to ambiance: Create a welcoming atmosphere, considering factors like lighting, seating, and decor.
Maintain cleanliness: Keep your restaurant spotless to ensure a pleasant dining experience and uphold health standards.
If you don't have this down, don't read any further. Go and accomplish this first, and then come back to this post!
Know Your Customer:
The second phase of your marketing strategy involves collecting and analyzing customer data to customize your marketing tactics. This is the most effective method to gain valuable insights into their preferences. Remember to:
Utilize data collection tools: Implement systems to collect customer information, such as texting clubs, newsletters, loyalty programs, and chat widgets on websites.
Explore additional solutions: Consider other innovative solutions for collecting customer data, such as interactive kiosks, tablet-based feedback forms, or social media integration.
Conduct surveys: Regularly ask customers for feedback to better understand their preferences.
Analyze data: Use the collected information to identify patterns in customer behavior and tailor your marketing strategies accordingly.
Rethink Social Media:
It's not your fault that you've been viewing organic social media posting as your primary marketing strategy. This is what we've been told for years. However, organic posting should be focused on customer retention and community building, rather than your main marketing strategy to increase your customer count. Focus on the following:
Prioritizing quality content over quantity: Focus on creating engaging content that resonates with your target audience. There is nothing more powerful than your story.
Interact with customers: Respond to comments and messages to build relationships and show appreciation for customer feedback.
Showcase user-generated content: Share positive reviews, customer photos, and testimonials to build trust with potential customers.
Just press record: Although I previously emphasized the importance of quality over quantity, many individuals fail to take the first step in content creation - simply pressing record. You don't need a costly setup or a team of experts to create impactful content. Authenticity is key, so don't hesitate to start by pressing record.
Build a Communication Funnel and Utilize Targeted Advertising:
This is where the magic happens. Once you have your operations in line, customer data collected, and online presence established with consistency in social proof, it's time to start pouring fuel on the fire. Here's how you do it:
Develop customer personas: Use your customer data to create detailed profiles of your ideal customers, which will help you tailor your marketing efforts.
Craft compelling offers: Design exclusive deals and promotions that appeal specifically to your target audience. You know what works because of the data you've been collecting. No more random discount campaigns crushing your margins.
Choose the right platforms: Identify the most effective channels (Facebook, Instagram, Google, Bing) for reaching your ideal customers and focus your advertising efforts there. Again, boosting posts is not focused advertising.
Leverage local micro-influencers: Partner with local influencers who align with your brand and can help amplify your message to their followers. Make sure these influencers are within a 5-10 mile radius of your business. Focus on those with 1k-10k engaged followers on their pages.
Monitor and optimize campaigns: Regularly review your ad performance and make adjustments as necessary to maximize your return on investment.
Automate communication: Implement CRM tools to manage all outbound and inbound communication with newly acquired customers. Build workflows and communication funnels to keep your brand top of mind.
Automate Feedback and Leverage Social Proof:
Automating feedback and using it to drive social proof is essential to complement your online presence. Make sure you're staying on top of this:
Implement a review management system: Use tools to automate the process of collecting and managing customer reviews.
Encourage customers to leave reviews: Offer incentives, such as discounts or free items, in exchange for honest reviews.
Share positive reviews: Highlight the best reviews on your social media channels and website to demonstrate your restaurant's quality.
Respond to feedback: Show your commitment to customer satisfaction by addressing both positive and negative feedback. Thank customers for positive reviews and offer solutions to any issues raised in negative ones.
When this marketing strategy is implemented effectively, customer count and revenue no longer become the constraints in your business. Instead, the challenge transitions to an operational constraint because you may find it difficult to handle the influx of new customers. However, with the right systems in place and by continuously refining your approach, you can overcome these operational challenges and ensure your restaurant's long-term success.
If you're looking for even more guidance and actionable steps, check out the Tipshare directory, where you can find tools like those mentioned in this post or connect with marketing agencies that can help you navigate this process.