Marketing. Its something that can either make a restaurant the most popular in town, or with a lack thereof, stagnate sales. Some managers get so caught up in the daily routine of things that they push it off or completely neglect marketing their business. Considering 89% of consumers research a restaurant online before dining, your plan for reaching these consumers is of vital importance to your restaurant’s health. Below are some helpful tips and ideas for bettering your establishment’s online marketing strategy.
It should be without question to any restaurant operator that Yelp holds tremendous power over the industry. Having a strong positive backing can do absolute wonders for foot-traffic and will set your business up for success. On the flip side, negative reviews can sink a business. In a world where people are choosing where they are going to eat through a Google search, anything negative is losing you customers. For advice on how to handle your Yelp presence, take a look at this comprehensive review: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2013/07/22/yelp-reviews
Just as important (possibly even more so) as staying on top of your Yelp is setting up your restaurant’s Google+ account. When somebody goes on Google looking for your business, Google displays your restaurant’s details in a sidebar. The majority of this information is pulled from your Google+ account and if it is not set up, information will be missing. With that said, there is no doubt that every restaurant operator should want to make sure people are able to find the information they need about their establishment after the initial search.
Once you have succeeded in bringing in business, the focus shifts towards retaining those customers and keeping them interested in your brand. Utilize loyal customers to drive business and also expand the customer base by referring their friends. For a reference on how big keeping loyal customers is for your business, according to Fred Reicheld, author of The Loyalty Effect, a 5% increase in customer retention can produce as much as a 100% increase in annual profits.
One great way to keep these loyal customers interested and also give them an incentive to come back and spend more money, is utilizing loyalty programs and newsletters. Loyalty programs that are easy to use, have clever promotions, and have incentives that customers actually want, will be successful and drive repeat business. When the loyalty program has built up a solid base, it is probably time to start sending out newsletters. Newsletters allow the restaurant to highlight specials, events, and anything else they would like to communicate to their biggest customers. It may also help to add humanizing elements such as employee of the month or star customer so that people feel an emotional connection with your establishment.