It’s easy to fall into the ‘build it and they will come’ approach to marketing in hospitality, but end of financial year is an opportunity to change all that. Here are ten steps to boost your bar, café or restaurant’s marketing as you begin planning for the year ahead.
Marketing is different in hospitality. Diners like to think they have the inside scoop, and that the quality of the restaurant should be its own advertising. We both know that’s not true. So how do you advertise without being seen to?
Here’s how to boost your awareness and your diner numbers.
Most of your target market hang out somewhere online. And 88 percent of them are swayed by online reviews and comments. It’s not just about boosting a Facebook or Instagram post and hoping for the best, though. 60.7 percent of people need to hear from you two to four times before they buy. That means your social presence should be all about sustained, engaged effort – you’re there to build relationships, not just sell your restaurant.
Social media action plan:
Now you’ve got your social media humming, start asking your regulars for reviews. Log in to review sites once a week and respond to everything with warmth and professionalism. Pop over here to read more on how to manage reviews properly. Real reviews from your diners are Important (note the capital ‘I’), so don’t skimp on this.
Reviews action plan:
As well as cultivating that social media following, you need to build your own database. Why? Because you don’t actually own your Facebook and Instagram followers – one false move and the platforms could kick you off. Suddenly, you’ve lost all that hard work and your customers’ ears.
Running the occasional mail-out with a run-down of a new menu or an exclusive offer will give you an extra way to worm into your customers’ minds next time they’re planning a meal out.
Database-building action plan:
Creating a loyalty program rewards your regular customers and keeps people coming back. It could be as simple as a punch-card for the tenth coffee free, or something far more elaborate to better suit your brand. A digital loyalty system will naturally boost your database, too. Your POS system should be able to make it easy to keep track of points and rewards.
Building-loyalty action plan:
Now you have a database, time to do something with it. Promotions can be more than just filling tables on quiet nights. Offer some genuine value to your diners. Can you team up with a booze supplier and run an exclusive tasting night? What about an event to benefit your favourite charity?
If you’re giving a discount on the final bill, make sure your POS can handle it, so you’re not doing mental gymnastics while the diner is tapping her card at you and sighing.
Specials action plan:
PR buzz is restaurant marketing gold. When you stay in the media it keeps you top of mind and on people’s dining list. The trick? You have to do stuff worth buzzing about.
PR-buzz action plan:
If you (or someone in the kitchen) are personable, use that to create some video content. You don’t have to be Heston Blumenthal – anyone with a bit of personality and a nice manner in front of the camera will do.
It doesn’t matter if it’s making the perfect martini, boning a duck or chopping an onion, just create a short, fun video and you’ve got some engaging content. Then next time the breakfast show is looking for a new chef for their cooking segment, you’ve already got a demo reel and someone who’s camera ready.
Getting famous action plan:
You can’t rush this – don’t buy followers or try to engage influencers without forming a relationship first. Ultimately, you can’t cheat the process.
So, get started today and chip away at creating a loyal tribe online. Then, add on collabs, influencers and video content to create some buzz and get famous.
Really, restaurant marketing is just like running a restaurant. It’s about authenticity and connection over the long term.
Need a new POS without breaking the bank? You may be eligible to claim the entire cost of a new system from Kounta by utilising the government’s $30k Instant Asset Write-Off. Even better, Kounta integrates seamless with your online accounting software from MYOB, so you can spend less time on the books and more on the business. Click here to find out more.
This article originally appeared on the Kounta website. It has been reproduced by permission and edited for style purposes.