Did you know that in the US alone, there are over 100,000 restaurants? As a highly competitive industry, many restaurants have fierce competition worldwide that keeps the restaurant industry successful, but at the same time, also projects a lot of fear.
Therefore, it’s key to have a bullet-proof marketing strategy for your restaurant that allows you to keep up with your competition while continuing to build brand affinity and overall success!
Gratefully due to social media, with users being digitally connected now more than ever, it has never been easier to build, create and find communities of people with the same interests that your restaurant holds.
People who are passionate about food and the dining experience love to share their experiences and reviews on social media; therefore, giving the food industry many huge marketing opportunities for their marketing strategy.
Interested in learning more about how you can get started on your successful marketing strategy for your restaurant?
In this blog post written by our team of expert digital marketers at Bold x Collective, we will go over our recommended top five effective strategies that you should include in your restaurant marketing strategy to help you increase exposure, engagement, and most importantly, brand affinity.
What Restaurant Owners Need to Know
Before we get into the marketing strategies, let’s talk more about what you as a business owner need to determine beforehand when in the restaurant industry.
To effectively market to your customer, you first need to know exactly who your customer and individual buyer personas are, to be able to match their interests.
This may seem obvious; however, you’d be surprised by the great amount of detail that goes into each customer profile.
There are many variables to cover, for instance, demographics, lifestyle, consumer behavior, values, interests, and much more. By understanding your customers, you will be able to cater to them more effectively as you are better aware of their needs and wants.
Another important part of your marketing strategy that you should establish before you start marketing your restaurant, is to identify your restaurant’s brand identity.
Brand identity includes all the important visible elements that help differentiate your brand from others, for instance, logos, colour, design, purpose, and much more.
All this information goes hand in hand with determining your customer, as your brand’s identity, so the purpose and personality of your restaurant must be in line with what your customers are searching for.
Here are the following questions that you should ask yourself when distinguishing your restaurant’s brand identity:
- What values does my restaurant’s brand represent?
- What heritage or story is my restaurant communicating with?
- What makes my restaurant stand out from my competitors?
- What do I want to keep my restaurant’s brand consistent with?
- What aesthetic do I want my restaurant’s brand to display?
- What do I want people to feel when they interact with and see my restaurant’s brand?
- What kind of voice tone do I want to use to communicate with our audience through my restaurant? (ex. Happy, Fancy, Family)
Strategies On How to Successfully Market Your Restaurant
There are multiple strategies available out there already that can help you start planning a marketing strategy for your restaurant. However, in this article, we provide you with our top five effective marketing strategies that we, as expert digital marketers believe will give you a strong start to a successful marketing strategy.
Once you have determined your target audience and asked yourself the questions mentioned above regarding your brand’s identity, you will then be able to implement marketing strategies into your business plan.
Below we have made a detailed list of our top five effective marketing strategies that we recommend you should have implemented into your marketing strategy to make your restaurant stand out when in an industry full of competitiveness.
Search Engine Optimization
Improving your SEO ranking is a key growth strategy; we all want to rank higher on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and more, as it will be easier for potential customers to find you online.
With this, you can drive much more traffic to your website and increase reservations. To do this, you must make sure to include niche keywords and branded keywords to help specify and promote your restaurant, which can appear across your website, ads, social media platforms, menus, and reviews.
Other ways to improve your restaurant SEO is by engaging in the following:
- Set up a business Facebook Business account to have all your details available to the public
- List your restaurant on review websites, such as Google or Yelp
- Ask for customers to put up reviews on Google or Yelp
- Remember to respond to those reviews to build trust with customers
- Optimize your graphics by making a unique, cohesive design
- Format your content for search engines
- Create original content to share on social media or write creative blogs
- Make sure your mobile application and website are optimized
Customer Loyalty Programs
People love good, tasty food, but what’s better than good food? Good food that is FREE! This can be done by implementing a loyalty program that uses a system based on points or the number of times a guest has visited your restaurant to result in an incentive-free meal, dessert, or drinks.
Not only will this increase repeat sales, as it will want your customers to keep coming back, but it will also have your customers get accustomed to visiting and ordering from your restaurant.
The more loyal they are to your restaurant, the more likely they are to post about it on their social platforms or even recommend it to friends through word of mouth.
How To Build a Strong Social Media Presence
Utilizing your social media channels is probably the most cost-efficient way to promote your restaurant without it being too “advertise-y”. Social media platforms allow you to showcase your restaurant’s brand’s personality and create the visuals you want people to remember you by.
Therefore, while figuring out your restaurant’s theme that you want to promote on your social media platforms, it’s important to focus on both the environment of your restaurant and the food presentation to help create unique and visually appealing content that represents your restaurant and attracts customers.
Social media is used as a key marketing tool to help attract more customers to your restaurant, as it allows people to build trust with your restaurant and that you will provide them with their needs and wants that other restaurants can’t.
Another great social platform to utilize is Facebook Business Page. Facebook is known as an effective business directory; therefore, it will help build your social media presence, especially for restaurants in the large competitive food industry, like Starbucks, by encouraging customers to leave reviews, engaging with page visitors and followers, staying updated with your Facebook page, re-sharing and posting content regularly by customers and promoting any special offers or upcoming events happening at your restaurant.
For the content that you want to share on your social media platforms, you want to make sure to include user-generated content that you had received directly from your audience.
For example, on your social media channels, you can re-share the content that your visited guests shared on their own social media platforms. What’s great about user-generated content is that it is personal, creative, credible, and relevant to your restaurant and target audience to help increase engagement.
Users love to see other people’s genuine experiences at restaurants to help them visually see what their experience may be like if they visited the restaurant.
Some examples of effective social platforms that are most effective to share your user-generated content on are Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, as they are centered around visual content and have a very large community of “foodies” on those platforms; a target market that you want to make sure to interact and network with!
Offer Delivery Services
For many generations now, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, offering delivery services has become increasingly requested by many customers, especially for online delivery services from popular food delivery services like Uber, Skip the Dishes, DoorDash and more.
Partnering with these delivery services will not only make your restaurant and menu more accessible to customers that aren’t in the area but will also provide exposure for people who are simply just browsing on these food delivery service apps.
Additionally, many of these food delivery platforms offer marketing opportunities on their own platforms as well, to help you acquire more customers.
Online food delivery services have become a trend, especially on social media platforms, which also helps restaurants to get promoted on social platforms through the help of users and influencers who share their food reviews on their social channels for popular trends.
This will help increase your restaurant revenue while also bringing back returning customers and building your customer market.
Furthermore, you can promote on your social media platforms that you now offer online food delivery services to help attract customers’ attention and engagement.
By using locally store-bought ingredients and supporting local charitable organizations in your community, you are directly engaging with your local target audience, which is one of the easiest target markets to engage with when done efficiently.
Restaurants should try to promote that they focus on buying their produce from local community stores to help build trust with their community and create supplier relationships.
Supporting local stores and charities will strengthen your relationship with your homegrown customers with similar interests and provide your restaurant with a good reputation by word of mouth within the community itself.
Building an effective marketing strategy for your restaurant can be intimidating, especially when you know how competitive the food industry has become in the last few decades.
Therefore, we hope this blog will give you a good place to start to help you build a successful marketing strategy for yourself and your restaurant’s reputation.
Remember to refer to this blog which includes our recommended top five effective marketing strategies mentioned above while brainstorming your next restaurant’s marketing plan to get you the best results. Still not sure where to start? Our team of expert strategists, marketers, and creatives are ready to help! Get in touch with our digital team at Bold x Collective, where we can help you build a bold and creative marketing strategy that works best for you and your restaurant.