How to Find the Sweet Spot of Marketing for Your Restaurant - BuildFire
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How to Find the Sweet Spot of Marketing for Your Restaurant

Cupcakes are nothing if not for the sweet taste of icing. Just like a cupcake, your restaurant won’t appeal to the masses unless you absolutely nail the sweet spot. Simply put, the sweet spot of restaurant marketing is where a given amount of effort put into a combination of marketing factors results in maximum response. 72% of consumers take interest in integrated marketing approaches. This means that your sweet spot lies in the right blend of traditional, digital and dine-in marketing efforts!

Let’s face it, consumers are evolving. They are now online, and with different trends emerging every now and then, their interests are bound to change. In the increasingly competitive and saturated restaurant industry, finding your restaurant’s sweet spot is more important now than ever.

Sounds daunting? Don’t fret. Here’s what top restaurants do to find the right mix of marketing efforts.

 

1. Build Your Buzz Online

Online presence has recently become a priority for many businesses. Virtually everyone is on the Internet these days, and it’s a great platform for you to get your restaurant’s name out there.

But how do I make my restaurant stand out from the sea of competitors? Good question! We could spend all day listing all the different methods. But for now, let’s dig deeper into two very important initiatives – social media and search engine optimization.

Get personal on social media

75% of consumers use social media regularly, which makes it your go-to platform when it comes to engagement and content distribution. For starters, you can create free accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Google+. Once that’s done, it’s makeover time! Consumers want an identity to associate your brand with, so avoid using the default display icons provided for by the site. Use your restaurant’s images and logos for your account’s background wallpaper, display icon and banners to build up your online identity.

But you know what they say; it’s not all about the looks! Post high quality photos of your restaurant’s enticing menu items on Instagram to whet your customers’ appetites! But don’t just stop there. Connect with your diners by leaving comments on their posts and replying to any feedback they leave on Facebook. Always remember that engaging with your restaurant’s customers is the first step to creating a loyal community  of diners online.

The next question you may ask is: When is the best time to post on social media? Broadnet created this simple infographic to illustrate the optimal timings for posting content on different social media platforms:

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If you’re not keen on managing your restaurant’s social media accounts on your own, give HootSuite a try. It’s almost like having your own social media manager! Curate scheduled messages and HootSuite takes care of the rest for you. If a customer engages you on any of your accounts, rest assured that you will be notified.

Tackle search engine optimization

When we search for something on Google, Yahoo or any other search engine, it’s only instinctive to click the first few links that show up on our search page. As a restaurant, you’ll want your website to be one of those links. Well, guess what? Search engine optimization (SEO) can get you there!

So how do I get started with SEO?

Here are two words you need to get acquainted with: keyword research. Google’s job is to dish out information relevant to users while yours is to get Google to select your restaurant’s website as that most relevant, go-to source.

Take a look at these 15 tips to learn more about how you can make use of SEO to build your restaurant’s online presence.

 

2. Go Back To The Roots of Traditional Marketing

Being called “old-fashioned” may be an insult in the fashion world, but that’s not the case when it comes to restaurant marketing. Digital marketing is undoubtedly having much more than a moment, but you wouldn’t want to miss out on consumers who may be less tech-savvy! Be it collaterals, brand partnerships or television commercials, traditional advertising still has an impact on consumers. For starters, let’s take a look at two of the many traditional methods of marketing: television commercials and brand partnerships.

Get your customers talking

Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. It’s one thing seeing restaurants promoting themselves and another hearing satisfied customers recommend a restaurant to you. In fact, 84% of consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services as compared to any other source of recommendations. More importantly, it’s more cost-efficient as compared to  TV commercials and editorial features which are luxuries not every restaurant can afford. The sweetest part about it is that once the first few referrals are made, it could potentially multiply and translate into many more customers. How’s that for growing your consumer base?

If you’re wondering how you can get diners talking about your restaurant, here something you could start with. If there’s one thing people attend and talk about afterwards, its events. Your restaurant could organise a live music show with an up and coming local band or perhaps a fundraiser with a local charity. You can then invite your regular customers to take part. Chances are that they’ll share their experience at your restaurant’s event with family and friends and who knows, those people might feel inclined to check out what your restaurant has to offer!

Engage in brand partnerships

Your restaurant is cruising on a long road to success. Why not partner with another business to speed your way through? Many companies have been co-branding for awhile now, and you can too. Merging marketing strategies with other respectable businesses can help to build your restaurant’s credibility. After all, they say two heads are better than one. What’s more, you gain access to a bigger consumer base and twice the marketing budget! In other words, you can think less about money constraints and more on how you can create a creative campaign, service or product irresistible to your consumers.

But it pays to be careful. It wouldn’t be wise to partner with just any company. There are many factors to consider before agreeing on a brand partnership and at the end of the day, the goal is to work with a brand which complements your restaurant’s, even if it isn’t F&B-related.

For example, your restaurant can partner with a WiFi service provider and leverage on WiFi marketing. WiFi marketing platforms adds value to your restaurant by directing diners to a custom branded login page. This is something big names in the F&B business, such as Starbucks and McDonald’s, have been doing. What’s more, it’s also effective in increasing your brand recall!

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Krispy Kreme’s advertisement for its free WiFi.

 

3. Offer Dine-in Exclusives

You’ve promoted yourself online, and you’ve caught the attention of your consumers. Now they’re dining at your restaurant. Don’t rest on the laurels of your marketing efforts just yet! Anyone who has stepped into an F&B outlet would have experienced dine-in promotions. The point of these promotions is to make your diners feel exclusive. It can be in the form of discounts, promotions, free samples or even loyalty rewards. Here’s a look at how you can follow in the footsteps of well-known restaurants to create your very own dine-in exclusives!

Entice diners with ongoing promotions

At times, consumers shop with no specific product or brand in mind. In these cases, 64% of them are likely to select the brand which offers them an in-store deal. If your restaurant has yet to launch dine-in promotions for your customers, you’re on the losing end. Start placing brochures or stickers on each table at your restaurant to easily inform your diners of ongoing deals.

Don’t know of anyone who could help you design your brochures and stickers? Be your own designer with Canva or Photoshop! If you’re foreign to designing, Canva offers amazing templates for beginners to use to create brochure designs. Meanwhile, if you want to design a brochure from scratch, Photoshop gives you the tools you need  to do that.

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Pizza Hut’s dine-in promotion and discount brochures.

Start a Customer Loyalty Program

If you’ve been to Starbucks, you’d know that they have a very popular customer loyalty program.

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But Starbucks isn’t the only one adopting such a program. Truth is, many companies are planning to put more dollars into their loyalty programs this year. Which is why you should too!

But hold your horses; before you create a rewards system, ask yourself, what kind of rewards would be optimal in attracting diners and increasing brand loyalty?

Don’t have a clue? Check out this infographic by L2 for an insight to the types of loyalty rewards systems you can adapt to your restaurant:

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Once you know what your frequent customers like, it’s as simple as setting a goal for them to achieve (e.g. entitlement to a free meal), deciding the action they need to take to progress (e.g. with every $50 spent) and offering an early advancement in the program as a bonus (e.g. VIP rewards).

You’d want to chew on the fact that 81% of those who joined a loyalty program continue to participate because of how easy the program is to understand. Customers can even access the loyalty program through your mobile app. So remember to keep your restaurant’s rewards system simple.

 

Finding Meaning Behind Your Restaurant’s Sweet Spot

Having the right mix of tactics is important, but before that, there is one thing you have to establish. You wouldn’t walk into a dark cave without a flashlight in hand, the same way you shouldn’t launch your marketing efforts without a goal in mind. Regardless of platform, consider this: What is the theme, purpose and intended outcome of my restaurant’s marketing effort? This will serve as your guiding light in creating effective marketing initiatives.

While they should work effectively as standalones, you could also make your different marketing efforts complement each other. For instance, you could share your newly-launched dine-in promotions with diners on your social media accounts with a simple ‘Hurry down to our restaurant to enjoy exclusive dine-in deals going on for a limited time only!’.

No doubt, it all sounds very simple. With that being said, it’ll probably take you more than one try to find the sweet spot that works best for your restaurant. So, what are you waiting for? Get down to exploring different platforms and discover what truly works for your restaurant’s brand!

Don’t forget to take a look at this infographic by Oddle which summarises all you need to know to find the sweet spot for your restaurant’s marketing!

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Ian Blair

BuildFire Co-Founder. I'm a digital marketer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart. I'm here to help businesses go mobile and build apps more efficiently than before.

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