How to Develop a Marketing Strategy for a Restaurant

 Wondering how to develop a marketing strategy for a restaurant? In this post, we’re going to show you a few effective marketing strategies that you can use for your restaurant promotion. 

In the 90s, only 1 percent of the population had access to the Internet. Fast forward to today, more than 7.4 billion people have an internet connection. That’s over 48 percent of the population. A major chunk of this population searches for restaurants online. They compare prices, look up menus, and read reviews before deciding to go to a restaurant.

However, they don’t stop after discovering the restaurant they like or ordering the food. Today’s tech-savvy consumers’ take pictures of the food that is served to them, go online for posting their reviews and share the experience with others through social media. This can increase footfalls at a restaurant or dissuade others from visiting an eatery. People online discuss the food, the ambiance, the service quality, and the staff at your restaurant. Since consumers are using online options to discover restaurants and interact with them, you need to develop a restaurant marketing strategy that caters to online consumers. How can you do to that? We’ll show. 

How to Develop a Marketing Strategy for a Restaurant: Tips and Strategies

1. Invest in a Great Website

When people ask us how to develop a marketing strategy for a restaurant, the first thing we tell them is: build a great website. The reason is that almost every restaurant today has an active online presence. So, if you want to compete with them and grow big, it’s essential that you invest in a great website. A website provides an opportunity to portray your restaurant professionally online and attract consumers to it. Ideally, you should have a WordPress-based website as it allows easy management of content and multiple customisation options via its many well-supported plugins (add-on software). In addition to this, you can have a blog section on your website and improve your search engine rankings by posting high-quality content consistently.

 

To find out what you need to do to create a great website for your restaurant, click on the following link Website Design For Restaurants: What You Need To Know.

Website Design For Restaurants

2. Email Marketing is Essential for Promoting a Restaurant

Restaurant Email marketing starts with creating a list of customer e-mail addresses. You will be able to collect email addresses when customers book through your own website if you the restaurant booking system set up correctly. To build an email list, use pop-up forms where visitors can enter their email addresses. Include a sign-up field in a very visible area of your website like the sidebar or footer etc.

Once you’ve collected the email addresses, start sending out your email campaigns regularly. Create personalised emails and make sure they provide value to the recipient. Offer discounts or coupons in your email message to attract the recipient to dine at your restaurant. Use Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Get Response or any other email marketing tool to manage your email marketing campaigns.

 

To find out more about growing an email list, click on the following link to read a blog post entitled How To Get Email SubscribersSecrets of Building a Huge List. 

How to Get Email Subscribers

3. Partnership with Apps and Loyalty Programs

When restaurateurs ask us how to develop a marketing strategy for a restaurant, we suggest to them to partner with food apps to encourage people to check out their establishment through loyalty programs. There are apps that you can use to offer a discount or free purchase to customers for visiting your restaurant a number of times. Loyalzoo is a popular food app that offers loyalty programs while PepperHQ can create an app for restaurants with loyalty programs.  

How to Develop a Marketing Strategy for a Restaurant

4. Use Social Media Professionally

Social media provides a great opportunity for you to promote your business and connect with your customers. In order to get great results from social media marketing, you must identify the social media channels that your target audience is active on. Once you’ve figured this out, start creating posts to connect with your potential customers. Share stories that will engage them.

It’s important to note that if your audience doesn’t see your posts, there’ll be no point of creating and publishing them. So, check the analytics for the social network(s) you’re using and analyse the (reach) of your posts. The ‘reach’ figure represents the number of people that saw your post. Use the analytical data from each social network to fine-tune your social media strategy to get better results. For example, check which pieces of content performed best in terms of engagement and publish more of the same at the best times to generate maximum visibility for your posts.

If you want your posts to reach even more people, consider using paid ads for either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter etc.

5. Manage Your Online Reputation

When 92 percent of potential consumers are reading online reviews, it goes without saying that you need to manage the online reviews about your restaurant. Click on the following link to find out more about how online reviews influence your customers. People are more likely to share their horrible experiences with a restaurant than the good ones.Therefore, you should ensure that the reputation of your business doesn’t get damaged from bad reviews. Manage the reviews for your restaurant on different websites, especially TripAdvisor. Reply to negative reviews and thank those who’ve left positive comments about your restaurant.

To find out more about the power of TripAdvisor and why it is such an essential marketing tool for any restaurant business, click on the following link, TripAdvisor for restaurants.

TripAdvisor For Restaurants - Restaurant Marketing Agency

6. Incorporating a Blog in Your Restaurant Marketing is Essential

Create your own restaurant blog to engage with your target audience and boost your search engine rankings at the same time. Posting on your restaurant’s blog will offer you a chance to establish the voice and personality of your restaurant. Share your struggles and success stories, food recipes, funny stories and anything else that you think would interest your readers. Make sure to regularly post new, high-quality content to keep the readers engaged. However, to make your blog truly beneficial to your business, people must first be able to find your blog posts, so make sure each post is fully optimised for search.

 

To find out what you need to do to create a blog for your restaurant, click on the following link Starting A Restaurant Blog.

Starting A Restaurant Blog - Restaurant Marketing Agency

7. Optimise Your Google My Business Page

One of the most important pages after your website is your Google My Business page. Why? Because it puts your restaurant on the map. When people are searching for restaurants on Google, the search engine will suggest restaurants closest to them. Moreover, Google My Business links to your business website and other details. It lists your operating hours and other important information such as your business contact details for customers’ convenience. Take care of this page and make sure all the information listed is up-to-date. If you haven’t created this essential page yet, head over to Google My Business to create your free page now!

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8. Video Marketing

Video marketing is worth the investment. Statistics show that 76.5% of small business owners and marketers are getting positive results from video marketing. Make YouTube a part of your restaurant’s marketing strategy. It’s a great medium for promoting your restaurant and demonstrating your expertise. Share wonderful recipes with potential customers to attract them to your restaurant. Show off the amazing skills of your chefs and let people see the general ambience of your restaurant. You could also talk about new promotions and special events, answer questions or simply give a tour of your restaurant’s kitchen. Don’t forget to share the videos you post on YouTube with your social media audience to drive more engagement and views. It is also worth uploading the same video to Facebook’s own video player to help gain more organic reach specifically within the Facebook platform.

 

Click on the following link to find more about video marketing for restaurants.

9. Use High-Quality Photos

Restaurateurs who inquire about how to develop a marketing strategy for a restaurant are usually unaware of the importance of visual content. Photos are perfect for getting the attention of online audiences. Beautifully plated dishes can tease viewers and entice them to come to your restaurant. Post-drool-inducing, high-quality photos on Instagram and other social media channels such as Pinterest. You could also hire a professional photographer to take stellar images for your website and social media channels.

To find why the use of high-quality photos of your food in your restaurant’s marketing mix is such an important ingredient for success, click on the following link. Find out how restaurants use visual marketing to drive sales, Food Photography Marketing.

Food Photography Marketing - Restaurant Marketing Agency

10. Invest in Local SEO

Get listed on local directories and make sure that the information about your business on those websites (exactly matches) the details listed on Google My Business. Reviews are also important for local SEO. Ask your customers to leave you a review. You could do this via email or ask them in person. If your regular customers have not given your restaurant a review yet, ask them if they would, after all, this group of people provide repeat business for the restaurant and are happy with your service. Therefore, this group of people, are very likely to leave you a great review!

11. Contests

Offer contests to promote your restaurant and spread the word about the food your serve and the quality of service you provide. Offering both online and offline contents may maximise the engagement of potential customers with your restaurant. You can use various contest tools to help run and manage the whole process. Click on the following link to view some of the contest tools available.

How to Develop a Marketing Strategy for a Restaurant

12. Invite Food Bloggers to Review Your Restaurant

Another great way of marketing your restaurant is by inviting food bloggers to dine at your restaurant. Connect with them and get them to create content about your restaurant. Offer them incentives like free meals for promoting your restaurant among their network. However, be sure to do your research first and carefully select the food bloggers which can provide the best value for your particular restaurants. Food bloggers come in various shapes and sizes, so don’t just offer free food to any blogger. Find out which cuisines they have already covered and what the ‘reach’ of their blog is, i.e. how many monthly visitors does their blog get. There’s no point in getting a post of your restaurant featured on a food blog that gets no, or next to no views…

13. Use Paid Advertisement

Paid advertisement can be expensive, but the results make it worthwhile. Use paid Facebook advertising and/or Google Ads to run promotional campaigns to market your restaurant. Online ads allow you to target a specific audience – you can filter by age, location, and gender etc. You could keep those cash counters ringing if you’re able to advertise to the right audience with the right promotion. Before venturing down this route, ensure your website is fit for purpose. Make sure that your restaurant’s website is mobile friendly, loads within 2 seconds, (or less ideally) and has the correct landing pages set up for the corresponding online ads. Otherwise, you are very likely to burn through your marketing budget without getting the desired results.

How to Develop a Marketing Strategy for a Restaurant: Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve got the answer to the question: How to develop a marketing strategy for a restaurant. If you need more assistance in understanding how to develop a marketing strategy for a restaurant, reach out to us and we’ll do our best to help you out.

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