Article contributed by David “Rev” Ciancio
Marketing for a restaurant brand is hard. It’s a lot of tedious actions that happen over and over that you hope to improve upon with each move. Sounds like working the line in a kitchen right?
It doesn’t have to be hard. You just need the right road map to point you in the right direction so you can start to master your marketing. Here are 10 marketing moves that you can start to implement today that are guaranteed to increase guest acquisition and retention.
1. Update your Google My Business profile (for every location.)
Consumers search Google for what they crave and once they have decided to dine with your brand, they need to see your hours of operation, your menu, your photos and what credit cards you take. They also look at photos of your food. Update your GMB profile at least monthly to help ensure the customer journey.
2. Update all your listings
Google owns the majority of search but consumers have lots of ways to discover your restaurant and much like Google My Business, you want to optimize the journey on each of them.
Starter list: Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, Bing, Yahoo, Tripadvisor and yp
3. Add a first time discount code as a Google post
When consumers are looking at your Google My Business profile, they are at the bottom of the funnel. Create a Google post that has a first time customer discount. Give them a solid reason to take that last step to become your guest.
4. Use Facebook and Instagram ads to attract hungry locals
The fastest, easiest, most effective way to reach people that live or work near your stores and have never dined with you is Facebook and Instagram ads. They are cheap, have intense targeting and can reach people while they are scrolling through social media before they jump to Google or GrubHub to search for what they crave. Start the journey for them with ads in their social media feed.
5. Reply to your reviews
Research has proven that restaurants who respond to reviews get more positive reviews. Research has also shown that consumers look at reviews before they decide where to dine next. Plus, it’s just good hospitality. If someone was IN your restaurant and said they enjoyed it, you would say thank you. If they had a problem, you would fix it on the spot. Do the same thing online.
6. Create a welcome email flow
Once a guest has a first transaction with you and you’ve collected their contact information, send them an email all about who you are, what you do and why you do it. Then follow it up with 5-6 more emails every 5 days sharing more about what makes you special. Put your brand where their eyes are every day … their inbox.
7. Create a lapsed guest flow
What happens when one of your guests has not dined with you or ordered in 30, 60 or 90 days? That is a lapsed guest. How do you get them to come back for more? Set up an email automation that says “I miss you” and remind them why they love your food. Follow that up with another email every 5 days until they place an order.
8. Text your guests
93% of all text messages are read in 30 seconds. 10-20% of the guests that you text will take an action. You should be texting them twice a month with a quick action offer. The boss move: send them a text 30 minutes after they receive their delivery order and ask them how was the experience. That’s called a digital table touch. You would do it in store before you drop the check and you should do it online too.
9. Use calls to action on social media
When you share a tantalizing photo of your food that is guaranteed to make people salivate, you need to tell them what to do next. Do they need to order via the link in your bio? Do you want them to download your app, make a reservation or join your email list? You have to tell them to take the action and best practices would be to detail the steps they need to take. 1 out of 3 pieces of your content should have a call to action and at least one out of three of your calls to action needs to be about online ordering.
10. Reward your best guests with a loyalty program
Given the choice between two restaurants, consumers will choose the one where they know they will earn something with their purchase. Do you have a frequent flier account with an airline or a rewards program with a hotel? These work. Use them in your restaurant and let your guests earn on their purchases.
You could do all of these on your own but each of them is made easier and will perform higher with the right tech. If you want my suggestions on which tech will best work for you, reach out to me on Instagram or LinkedIn. Go crush it!
David “Rev” Ciancio is a former New York City bar owner and knows exactly how hard it is to operate and brand a hospitality business.
He is now a hospitality marketing consultant, customer and technology evangelist with more than 20 years experience in B2B digital marketing and business development, specializing in hospitality marketing, content, local SEO, reputation management and influencer marketing. He helps technology companies, brands and restaurants to acquire and retain customers. Rev is known as an “expert burger taster,” pens hospitality and marketing tips on his Instagram @revciancio, as well as his LinkedIn Profile. He believes that Pizza is a religion. Learn more at https://bit.ly/followersorders