Anthony likes helping people reach their true potential. Being the victim of his own fears and insecurities in his own business, he has decided to help others create more opportunities.
Marketing is rarely ever the sexiest part of running a business. Restaurant owners prefer to focus on improving the quality of their food. And while it is essential, so is making sure that people know about your restaurant. With the advent of digital marketing, however, the landscape has changed dramatically. Running a simple ad in the local paper no longer gets anybody’s attention. But before you quiver with fear over social media or email campaigns, let’s see what is useful and what you can discard.
The importance of digital marketing
Marketing is about being in front of people’s eyes. That means a major part of the job consists in knowing where those elusive eyes are. Nowadays, it is fair to say that social media have captured people’s attention and the trend is not likely to die away anytime soon. What is changing is the medium through which they access the internet. Mobile devices are now the weapons of choice, which means restaurant owners should have a mobile-friendly marketing strategy.
Regardless of the medium, the principles remain the same. The goal is no longer to just raise awareness about your place and hope that people may remember you. Effective social marketers engage their potential customers until they come through their doors. This is the beauty of digital marketing. You have multiple ways to stay in touch with people who have shown an interest in you.
The essentials of digital marketing
Merely looking into the endless possibilities of mobile marketing can be overwhelming. However, devising a strategy is simpler than it looks. First, you probably don’t need to be all over the place. Facebook and Instagram remain by far people’s favourite social media. That doesn’t mean Pinterest, Twitter, or Linkedin are not worth looking into. Everything depends on what your restaurant represents and who you want to target.
Restaurants targeting executives and the corporate market should definitely be on Linkedin, as they will find very little competition there. If your restaurant targets millennials, however, Facebook and Instagram will give you access to more people. A focused and consistent strategy will always work much better than trying to be everywhere.
The key is to have a way to stay in contact with people who seem to like you. The most effective way to do that is via email marketing. Social media is very effective to raise awareness, but if you want to stay in touch with people, email is the best medium. People don’t just use their phones to check their Facebook account. They spend a lot of time refreshing their inbox as well.
The most basic principle in email marketing is to offer something first so people will leave you their contact details. This can be an online voucher that they get only if they leave their email address or anything that they are likely to respond to. The key is to have a simple website taking them through these exact steps. Social media happens to be a great way to lead people to your website. If the very idea of spending hours every day on social media repulses you though, you can always outsource that.
What to do if digital marketing is not your thing
A lot of people declare themselves to be social media managers nowadays. At best, they are good at clicking a few buttons, but unable to tell you what works and what doesn’t. It’s difficult to find reliable digital marketers. who are affordable. If you are able to project how much you can spend and how much you are likely to get in return, things get much simpler.
Your needs will depend on your delivery capacity. If your restaurant only provides sit-in service, you may not need to invest extravagant sums of money. If your services include online ordering, however, you will probably find your investments rewarded.
The video above provides useful tips but Toast operates in the US. Among the solutions available in the UK, it is probably worth looking into Digital Restaurant. Unlike other marketing agencies, they have specialised in restaurants, which is a nice plus. Another plus is their social media and email marketing integration. By outsourcing to them, you make sure you can focus on delighting your customers.
As expected, they come at a cost. It is then for you to choose whether you want to stick to their basic package or leave all your social media marketing to them, which is £425 per month. The advantage is that it will only take a few months for you to know if the investment is worth it or not.
A savvy social media strategy can single you out from your competition. Every restaurant owner should keep in mind, however, that it is not a magic pill. Each business is unique in the services offered and its capacity to handle new customers. Marketing may not make up for poor customer service, but it can be the missing piece of the puzzle for a restaurant serving great food with too few people knowing about it.