Article contributed by David “Rev” Ciancio
You’re in the final stretch for a successful year and there is still some time to put points on the board. December is a time for celebration, for dining out, for dining in and for convenience. It’s a great time of year to drive home some much needed additional revenue and potentially fatten up, if your January is typically a lower month for revenue.
Likely a few tweaks to your December marketing and promotions could be the difference between good and great. Here are some actionable tactics you can put into play immediately.
1 . UPDATE YOUR HOLIDAY HOURS AND MENUS
Have you recently updated your menu or prices?
Do you have new or refreshed photos of your food?
Will you be open for different hours for Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve or any other special days in December?
On those busy travel days consumers often need a bite on the road while traveling or are looking to get out of the madness from the holidays and have someone else do the cooking. Before they decide which restaurant to visit or order from, they check Google, Yelp, Alexa, Bing, Yahoo, Tripadvisor, Facebook, and all the other sites, apps and maps to see if you are open, what’s on the menu and even to get directions or place an order.
It’s a great time to update your holiday hours, menu and add brand approved photos to all those sites to help power a decision to dine with you.
Ensure the customer journey by making sure your listings have all the accurate information your guests need to make a purchase.
Pro-tip => save a lot of time and headaches by using Marqii. You put all the above information and more into Marqii and it updates all those apps, maps and search engines for you. All of my clients use it and love it.
2. PROMOTE CATERING AND PRIVATE PARTIES
The early bird does get the worm, but it doesn’t mean you should take the foot off the gas yet. Until every day, every table and every hour is booked for catering and private parties, continue promoting them via social media, email and SMS communications with your guests. They aren’t going to see every message you send so the more frequently you share, the better chance you’ll be seen.
If you’ve already sent out email newsletters dedicated to catering and private parties, add a content block at the bottom of your emails moving forward so that you can include messaging in everyone. Repetition and impressions drive adoption.
Pro-tip => add anyone who responds or books in a special list in your email system. You know they book parties. You will want to market to them again.
3. SURPRISE AND DELIGHT
What can you do to add a little spice and fun to your service that is operationally easy?
Ideas: include a free dessert in every 10th order, drop in a $5 gift card to large orders, offer a free upgrade to family meals. Go into your CRM, pull out a segment of your top 10 or 20% of guests and send them a one-time bonus they can redeem with a code.
It doesn’t have to be a big promotion or require a big marketing plan. Find a way to randomly delight your customers with a little something extra through the holiday season.
This will benefit you in the long run with guest sentiment and loyalty.
Pro-tip => When a customer who has been surprised shares to social media or writes a positive review about it on Yelp or Google, respond within 48 hours and say thank you! Drive it home how much you appreciate your guests. Don’t hesitate to share that content to your Facebook page and Instagram stories.
4. HOLIDAY THEMED LIMITED TIME OFFERS
If it’s not too late to develop a holiday themed limited time offer (LTO), like Christmas tree shaped pizzas, red and green colored desserts or even just adding a candy cane to a cup of coffee — put it into motion!
Make sure you are sharing eye popping images of these items in all communication channels with your guests including listings (Google, Yelp, Tripadvisor), social media and email communications.
Pro-tip => Download my ebook How to Sell a Ridiculous Amount of Heart-Shaped Pizzas for Valentine’s Day. While it has a different holiday in the title, it’s a step-by-step instruction manual on how to market and sell A LOT of LTOS.
5. GIFT CARDS GIFT CARDS GIFT CARDS
Much like you should be over promoting your catering and holiday parties, you should be doing the same for gift cards. Gift cards are a great way to get your guests to promote your business. People shop last minute, all the time. There is always that one family member you didn’t expect who is coming over or that coworker who always does nice things for you. People love dining from restaurants. A gift card is the gift of an experience.
Run a limited promotion on gift card upgrades:
*$50 gets you $75
*$75 gets you $100
*$100 gets you $150
People will leap at these deals!
Pro-tip => Make your lowest priced gift card upgrade higher than your average order value.
If a guest buys them for themself, you have an instant loyalty program. Most people don’t spend that much by themselves in one meal. Likely they will bring a friend, a co-worker or a family member and suddenly you’ll not only be attracting new guests, but you’ll also drive return trips.
If they buy the gift cards for someone else, great! They just got you a new customer who also will not be able to spend the card in one sitting.
Too late to put these into effect for December? That’s ok! Use these frameworks to promote key efforts all year round!
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