With the growing popularity of casual restaurants, take-out, and delivery, the competition is as fierce as ever.
Therefore, restaurant owners need to start applying more creative approaches to attracting new and existing customers if they want to say ahead of the competition.
Here are 5 cost-effective ideas that will drive more customers into your doors in 2019.
Optimize Your Facebook Page To Increase Your Exposure
With over a billion users, Facebook still reigns supreme when it comes to business promotion. It’s no secret that social media plays a huge role in getting people to visit your restaurant. The more they see and feel connected to your brand, the greater the opportunity to turn them into new and repeat customers, and ultimately, evangelists for your restaurant.
In fact, 88% of people are influenced by reviews and online comments, 75% of people purchased a product because they saw it on social media. Use Facebook as a cost-effective referral tool and encourage customers to talk with and about you, post pictures of your delicious food items, and leave glowing reviews about their great dining experience.
In addition, when someone posts about your restaurant on Facebook, their opinion carries more weight because they are sharing it with people they know. Facebook gives your restaurant the ability to talk with your customers instead of just at them.
If you don’t already have one, creating a free Facebook page for your restaurant and use it as a centralized hub to attract, and communicate with new and existing fans.
Create Engaging Promotional Posts
Now that you have your page setup, it is time to create some engaging content.
Approach posting content on your page like you would approaching a group of strangers at a party. Tell them a little bit about yourself and spark engaging conversations with a question. Those who engage with your post with a comment, or like are interested in what you have to say and are the people who will be more likely to connect and visit your restaurant.
If your followers see that you are being active & responsive on your Facebook page, they’re much more likely to do business with you than a restaurant with a limited presence or a poorly run page.
Remember that there is a fine balance between engagement and promotional posts.
If you’re constantly just posting promotional material or unappealing content, you are likely to turn a potential customer away instead of attracting them to your restaurant.
Instead, try incorporating action shots or product placement in a visually appealing way that is supplemented by engaging copy that welcomes conversation.
Followers are more likely to remember the content of the post if they interacted with it in some way.
Improve your engagement by asking fun fill in the blank type of questions and encourage responses. Once you have created an engaging post, try running a paid engagement campaign on Facebook to target more potential customers to create more social proof.
Effective Location-Based Targeting
With the Facebook ads platform, you can target users based on their country, state and city, demographics and interests. Facebook also lets you target users based live around specific addresses, and people who have visited a specific location.
For a brick-and-mortar business such as a restaurant, café, or bakery, it makes sense to target people who are in and around your area to let them know that you are just a few minutes away. If you are running a sale event, it makes sense to target people who are near your location. Furthermore, if you have many competitors nearby, you could target people who recently visited your competitor, with messaging about why they should dine at your restaurant.
Plus if your restaurant is located near a popular landmark, you can expect people to engage in a lot of social chatter, take lots of photographs, and are looking for a place to eat, so it’s a great time to introduce your business to people who are near that location with an engaging ad.
Pair up with an Influencer like a popular Chef or Food Blogger
Influencers make a living talking and writing about their experiences, products they’ve tried, and places they’ve visited in a fun and engaging way. The successful personalities accumulate a large following of hundreds of thousands to millions of followers who identify, like, and follow their every move. Therefore, it will be advantageous for a restaurant to leverage an influencer’s audience by having them introduce, and review your restaurant.
Remember, an influencer is anyone that your target customer base already listens to and trusts and therefore aligning with them will help expand your restaurant’s visibility and trust to new audiences faster than doing it yourself.
You can locate influencers you think you will enjoy working with on sites like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, and Twitter and then reach out to them directly.
Devise a mutually beneficial promotional opportunity where the influencer can, for example, review and promote certain food items at your restaurant, interview your customers, or hold contests with their followers.
Don’t Skimp on Email Marketing
90% of adults in the US use email and in general, every dollar you spend on email marketing brings you around $38 in return. Email marketing is a cost-effective way to touch your customers to showcase your brand, discounts and promotions, new menu items, blogs, events, and other exciting ideas.
Therefore, it is important to continue to grow and nurture your email list. Not only does it help introduce your restaurant to new prospects but also reminds existing customers to come back.
An effective way to collect email addresses is to ask for them in exchange for a promotional discount (called a lead magnet) on a landing page, Facebook messenger or lead form.
Utilize email marketing automation tools like Mailchimp, or Constant Contact to schedule automated broadcasts and AB test different headlines and call-to-actions (CTAs) to continue to promote engagement.
By incorporating these strategies into your marketing plan in 2019, you will have a leg up on your competitors and attract more new and existing customers into your restaurant.