How To Boost Restaurants Sales with Digital Marketing Efforts
If you own and operate a restaurant, you’re busy! Pretty much all the time, right? We know that when you’re working on the day to day operations of your business, it can be hard to carve out time to advertise your restaurant. But, we’re sure you know, with the right marketing strategies you can attract new customers, keep regulars coming back, and maintain a steady cash flow. These are our favorite ways to increase restaurant sales by utilizing simple and inexpensive marketing tactics.
Engage on social media
Did you know 61% of customers find restaurants from social media channels? This means that your restaurant absolutely needs to be using social media! Instagram and Facebook are the two major social media networks for people in the food industry.
Facebook is a social network to connect with your target audience whereas Instagram is more of a visual media sharing network where you can engage with your audience. Having a business page on both social networks can help with building brand awareness, building relationships, providing customer service, discovering analytics, and more. You can survey your customers to find out which social media outlets they prefer, and you can also look at what social media sites your competitors are using while targeting their own customers.
Have you ever heard that old saying, “the first bite is with the eyes?” It’s even truer today in the age of social media. Good food photography can perfectly capture the essence of a dish. Even the most delicious plate of tacos can look unappetizing if you have bad lighting or amateur camera angle. A quality photo of a dish can make or break a food business’s social media marketing strategy meaning the difference between a massive sale or loss.
Referrals are more effective when they come from people rather than companies. Reach out to ‘foodies’ in your local community to help with marketing your restaurant. Foodies are local food bloggers and influencers that typically have gained a following on social media by posting gorgeous pictures of their meals and being honest about their visits to restaurants.
You can offer these food influencers a free meal or a gift card to visit the restaurant. They’ll visit your restaurant, share content about their experience with their network, and encourage others to visit you. This is an inexpensive restaurant marketing strategy that will help to increase your brand awareness and sales.
Respond to Customer Reviews
Word of mouth isn’t just in person anymore. According to Forbes, over 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting restaurants! When people read online reviews, they trust them just as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend. Online reviews can impact a potential customer’s purchasing decision and their first impression of your business. This means you as a restaurant owner or operator need to take control of your business’ online reviews.
If you’re not asking your happy customers for reviews, you’re missing out on potential business and free restaurant marketing. Satisfied customers are less likely to leave a review compared to a disgruntled consumer. There are various review sites including Google, Yelp, OpenTable, Facebook, and TripAdvisor. On these sites, don’t just respond to the positive reviews. You have to acknowledge the neutral and negative ones too by addressing their concerns and complaints.
Create an Email or Text Club
Simply ask for your customer’s contact information to grow an email and/or text list. You can send them coupons, updates about upcoming menu changes, highlight your specials for the week, or send alerts about special events. If utilized, you can convince customers into returning for another visit.
You can also build relationships with customers by sending e-birthday cards that feature a coupon for a free dessert or appetizer. Also, in the emails, you can include a link to review sites so customers are encouraged to leave reviews about their experience at your restaurant.
Improve Your SEO
If you search, “local restaurants” or “restaurants near me,” what businesses pop up on the top of the first page? Is your restaurant on page one? If not, we’re sure you want it to be. According to Search Engine Watch, 53% of all clicks go to one of the first three organic search results.
Another way to increase sales through marketing is increasing your restaurant’s SEO. A whopping 83% of customers use phones to lookup location, directions, and hours. Also, 75% lookup menu information online.
You can start by creating a Google My Business page for your restaurant. It’s a free way to advertise and market your restaurant. Your page should include your business’ address, hours of operation, phone number, menu items, photos of the location(s), and reviews. Other ways to improve your restaurant’s SEO is engaging with customers on social media and having a mobile-friendly, modern website with relevant keywords.
Other Restaurant Marketing Ideas
- Pay It Forward: Partner up with local charities, nonprofits, 501(c)(3)s or schools for give-back nights. They promote and advertise the event to their audience. Your restaurant donates back 10-25% of sales towards the group.
- Utilizing monthly marketing themes: For example in the month of November, there is Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, National Sandwich Day, and more. Create themed deals and ads that correlate to the days that are relevant to your business.
- Participating in Community Events: Reach out in the community and have a presence at local events. For example, participate in your community’s restaurant week, or sponsor a charity event.
We know this can sound overwhelming, but building your business is more than worth it! Time spent marketing is time spent getting hungry customers in the door. Want to talk about more specific ways to help market your restaurant to help boost sales? Let’s chat about it in a free strategy session!