It’s not always easy coming up with ideas for new marketing campaigns or a new restaurant marketing strategy to bring more customers into your business. You can always fall back on the conventional tactics of course, but maybe you’re not satisfied with the results that achieved in the past. If you’re looking to make use of modern trends and technologies, you might be able to synchronize much better with the mindset of your local clientele so as to promote greater patronage. Here are five really hot trends and ideas that you could put to use for the coming year, in an effort to help take your restaurant business to the next level.
Offer a Social Wi-Fi system to patrons
There’s an even better reason for offering free Wi-Fi to patrons of your restaurant than simply for their convenience. When you set up a social Wi-Fi system rather than a conventional system, you’ll be able to acquire some very valuable information about your patrons. In addition to collecting data, you’ll also have a number of opportunities to engage with your customers and to conduct further marketing with them.
A social Wi-Fi marketing system will be gathering information on customers from their mobile devices, even if they choose not to logon to the free Wi-Fi. Whether they logon or not, a social Wi-Fi system can detect the presence of mobile devices and gather data which can be added to customer profiles which you can begin building. For instance, you’ll know how frequently they patronize your establishment, the duration of their stay with you, etc.
The information you gather from a social Wi-Fi system will allow you to target customers better and conduct more intelligent marketing campaigns, because it will be based on curated data rather than any assumptions you might have. If you have a bookstore or coffee shop, almost any social Wi-Fi solution will be adequate, because most customers will login to these systems whenever they visit your store.
For restaurants, it would be better to choose a system which you know is capable of collecting quality data without specifically requiring visitors to logon to the system. With just a little bit of research, you’ll be able to identify a number of these social Wi-Fi systems which you might choose to install at your restaurant.
If all of this is a little beyond your energy level and your expertise, don’t worry. You can accomplish the same thing or something similar by hiring a highly skilled professional agency to do it for you. You can collaborate with the experts at $99 Social on a month-to-month basis for as long as you need our services, with no hidden fees and no extra costs beyond the package price you choose.
Many businesses have already found that The Unique Plan best meets their needs, because it provides two unique posts to social media platforms of your choice (Facebook plus a post to either Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Google My Business). You’ll have brand new, relevant content posted to your accounts on these platforms, once each day, seven days a week. This will be extremely beneficial to your company, in terms of consistency and engagement with your brand.
Offer exclusive deals and discounts
One of the best and most effective ways of marketing your restaurant is to reach out to the local community, and you should start with trying to connect with businesses right in your immediate area. All of those businesses have employees, and all of them have to eat regularly, so it just makes good sense to appeal to these hungry employees in your area in a number of different ways.
For instance, you can offer special deals, coupons, and flyers, and you might even want to consider delivering to those businesses right in your neighborhood. This can be a huge advantage over your competition, if you can manage the delivery service. There are even more promotions you can run with local businesses, for instance giving away a free meal to a winner who is drawn from a business card bowl each month.
You can offer buy-one-get-one deals to employees who bring a friend along for lunch. Even if you don’t want to run promotions or discounts, you can distribute menus and flyers on people’s cars in the immediate area to achieve much greater visibility for your establishment. If you begin reaching some of these local employees, they will spread the word about your restaurant, and you could develop a solid word-of-mouth business locally.
Solicit customer-curated content
A sure way of acquiring an online following is to encourage your patrons to share their experiences on social media. You might not think it’s a good idea to encourage patrons to be on their phones while visiting your restaurant, but that’s antiquated thinking which really belongs in the past. A more current approach would be to post signs around your establishment which encourage visitors to photograph their food or their favorite beverage, or to take a picture of themselves somewhere in your restaurant.
You can provide your patrons with a hashtag to use in their social media posts which synchronizes with your brand, but make sure to let them know which platforms you have a presence on. You might want to run a contest for all those individuals who share photos with your hashtag. Keep in mind that all these customer posts on Instagram and other platforms don’t cost you a dime, but they can bring in tremendous exposure for your restaurant and increase your visibility. It’s a great idea to encourage restaurant visitors to interact with your brand online, and if you offer them something special for their contributions, they’ll feel good about it, and so will you.
Maximize use of social media
There are literally endless ways you can use social media platforms to gain recognition for your restaurant and to increase patronage. For one thing, the reputation of many restaurants hinges on their online reputation, and just a few bad reviews can literally kill your business, just as a preponderance of good ones will increase your popularity. So you should encourage visitors to write good reviews of your restaurant, because these will be read by many others who are trying to decide where to eat.
Make use of social media platforms by taking all kinds of photos of your food, beverages, and visitors, and share these photos on all the platforms you have accounts for. It’s a good idea to create a profile on all the review networks as well, so that you can be featured in as many places as possible on the Internet, and so more people will be aware of how great your food is.
By taking this approach, you can generate a number of fans and followers before they even physically visit your restaurant. When you have a strong social media presence, it can go a long way toward establishing a voice for your brand, and it can also give loads of potential customers some idea of what you’re all about. Some cleverly crafted posts, tweets, and photos can really make your brand identity very appealing to all kinds of potential customers.
Try a text message marketing campaign
This is one of the hottest trends in restaurant marketing these days, and it starts with encouraging your customers to opt-in for receiving text messages from your establishment. Opting in can be as simple as using a short code or a number in tandem with the keyword which best typifies your restaurant business.
Whenever one of your patrons sends the keyword to your short code, they will receive an opt-in message which permits you to send text messages to them at any time. In fact, it’s a good idea to post this keyword and short code on lots of your social media posts to get recognition for them. You might also want to print out business cards containing this information, and provide patrons with your business card right with their bill.
The thing that makes text message marketing so effective is that customers aren’t required to do anything other than subscribing in order to receive your offers. It’s not even necessary for them to open a browser, click a link, or to sign on to social media. Just like all other text messages, the texts you send out to potential customers will show up on their phones, in whatever messaging app they use.
One of the big benefits of using this approach is that customers see your texts immediately, and if you remember to use short text messages, they won’t even have to open their phone up to see them.
Additional help with restaurant marketing
There’s no doubt that some people simply have a knack for marketing, and others do not. If you’re a restaurant owner or manager who simply doesn’t have a feel for marketing, or you’re so busy that you don’t have the time to strategize and execute creative marketing campaigns, you should consider having it done for you by professionals who are experts in this area. Contact $99 Social to learn all the ways we can help you market your restaurant, and to help grow your business through greater visibility and engagement with your customers.