In the past, restaurants could succeed from simply having a good location, complimentary word-of-mouth and the occasional solid review in a local newspaper. Today, the landscape of the restaurant and food services industry’s been transformed by advances in digital technologies. Finding success in today’s competitive market requires restaurants and takeaways to utilise online media, IoT devices and other digital tools.
Unfortunately, many restaurants are attempting to adopt these changes, but only a few food establishments are getting it right. It’s a notoriously difficult industry to thrive in and business owners need to take advantage of every marketing opportunity they can to achieve success. Having good food and affordable prices are not enough to survive anymore. Restaurants and takeaways need to implement digital marketing strategies that entice new customers and inspire repeat business.
In this article, we’re going to explore the 10 most effective digital marketing strategies for growing your restaurant or takeaway:
Get active on social media
Any modern business will know that advertising your goods or services online and on social media can have a huge impact on your overall sales. We’re in the era of ‘food porn’ and ‘online influencers’ and food imagery and aesthetics are getting more engagement than ever. These interactions can drive social media users to spend their hard-earned money on your establishment rather than another. Get stories, images and posts about your best dishes, latest offers and restaurant décor circulating in your online community.
Be active on your website
Having a highly-trafficked website in our digital age is the equivalent of having your menu in the home of every person in the country. Professional websites can be used to advertise and market your restaurant or takeaway, as well as introduce important information about your business and introduce online orders. It may take some work, or professional help, but the rewards of having a central hub online is critical for exposure and access.
Offer rewards to customers
One of the easiest ways to spread the word about your restaurant or takeaway is to offer different kinds of rewards and incentives for choosing your establishment. You can do this by creating a loyalty programme, running in-house contests, sharing competitions online or sending out online promotions. All of these can be circulated through social media and drive customers through your doors.
Email marketing really works
Email marketing’s still one of the most effective digital marketing tools we have. Sending out newsletters, new offerings, updates and deals – via mailing lists – allows you to communicate directly with your best customers. Email marketing requires the contact information of your customers which can be obtained in-house or through online forms. Once you’ve got a significant mailing list, you can build a digital marketing strategy around this access to consumers.
Reach out to local food sites and influencers
Networking means more than ever in the digital age. Social media and online communication have created new ways of connecting with potential customers and new jobs focused on accessing them. Reach out to your local food sites, bloggers and influencers and invite them to your restaurant and to try your food. If you get them speaking about your food – especially in a positive manner – it’ll drive the conversation around your establishment, create brand exposure and drive new customers. This has become a truly pivotal stage in the marketing strategy of a restaurant.
Make sure your restaurant is listed on local food apps and sites
Due to the growing demand for online access to goods and services, food apps have become a major part of the larger food industry. It’s no longer about flipping through directories or scanning multiple similarly-named sites. Today, we have local food sites that collect ratings, reviews and information about most restaurants and food apps that give consumers access to them through delivery services and connecting them with drivers online. Not just UberEats and Zomato, get on every site and every app you can to increase your brand exposure.
Invest in your community
Doing good for your community’s not only helpful to the people around you, but helpful to your business too. Invest in your community by sponsoring local events, making promotional offers and supporting local charities. Being a strong contributor to the well-being and growth of your community will be an invaluable asset to you, your business and your local area. When locals see your investment in the community, they’ll want to return that investment by supporting your restaurant.
Make use of social media’s marketing tools
There’s no question that social media marketing has some of the most powerful and cost-effective digital marketing tools available for businesses. Social media marketing can help your restaurant or takeaway get in front of thousands of new eyes. These digital marketing tools go beyond brand awareness and direct communication; they provide you with invaluable and actionable data about your target market. Your social media accounts should give you access to feedback and information about customer experiences and public sentiment.
Build a strong online reputation
Very few things can destroy a brand like a series of bad reviews and negative public sentiment. Especially for restaurants, some negative reviews can be so damaging that they cause those establishments to close down. No one wants to order from somewhere with a history of bad service or bland food. Make sure that you facilitate the best possible customer experiences in and out of your restaurant, so that those customers will share positive stories online. Make sure you’re sharing good reviews and thanking patrons for them, as well as responding to the negative ones.
Highlight your health and safety protocols
In general, having high health and safety standards are an important part of running any restaurant or food service. Especially since the pandemic, customers are more aware of hygiene and cleanliness than ever. As we come to the end of the pandemic, our newfound health and safety concerns will continue to linger. Make sure your community knows that you’re doing everything you can to protect your staff and patrons.
So, those are ten strategies for effecting marketing of restaurants and takeaways. Make use of these digital marketing strategies and online tools that are available to grow your brand and your business. Good marketing for restaurants is critical and you need to get this right, in order to compete in this market.
If you are looking to create incredibly unique and effective digital marketing strategies for your restaurant or takeaway, consider working with Cognite Marketing to help develop your brand and grow your online presence.