Where do people go to search for the next best place to eat? Of course, we’re way past the time when we all solely rely on word-of-mouth and will very much admit to googling or going online for our next best dish. This is why marketing is essential for any food and beverage business.
However, this goes without saying that putting up a social media account page or a website alone will not always garner the traffic you need to keep your business running.
We’ll be discussing important items you can learn about how to market your restaurant better and, more so, how to avoid these six common mistakes:
1. Not Doing the Crunch Work
Market research requires you not just to put out work on competitors but, more so, to understand what’s more important for your customers. This is why doing market research will be a regular thing that your business should cover.
There are a bunch of surveys done on the effectiveness of social media marketing, but here’s the result in a nutshell:
- Most people go online to look for the next place to visit.
- A little over half of small businesses have a website.
- More than half of these small businesses don’t appear on search engines.
With this image in mind, you’ll see just how essential it is to put some time and effort into constantly finding your way to reach more people and to do your research well.
2. Underestimating the Power of Social Media
Social media is this day and age’s gift to marketing. It would be folly not to maximize its potential. That being said, there are lots of ways you can be making mistakes with how you view the power of social media:
A. Target Your Audience
Boosting your post is never enough if you’re not targeting your audience. This will just lead to a waste of time and money. Instead, ensure that your social media ads reach the right people.
Who should you be focusing your ads on? You should be targeting people who like your page and their circles. Additionally, you should look into geotagging features which allow you to reach audiences based on demographics.
If you’ve done your market research well, you already know the demographics and location of the people who will most likely become your guests.
This way, the money you spend boosting your posts will garner some return or revenue instead of simply shooting into the dark.
B. Tap into Media Relations
Sometimes, you might need to tame your ego if you want more people to visit and try your place out. I’m talking about tapping into media relations and how an effective one can do well for both sales and your staff’s morale.
Tap media personnel already immersed in journalism or food and beverage reviews. You’ll find that the stories they can deliver about your restaurant move not just their audience but also your team.
Stories will always have a way of being effective as pure data, so invest in good storytellers to send your brand’s message across.
C. Hire a Skilled Social Media Manager
It’s always great to have young people on your marketing team as they usually are naturally exposed to trends. However, you should still have a senior on your marketing team, especially one skilled in managing your social media activities.
This means that your posts aren’t just thoughtfully planned ahead of time but also that they retain your brand’s message and are relevant and insightful. A social media manager knows the strengths of each specific social media platform so that you can create better content fit for the specific platform.
It is also the work of your social media manager to evaluate which campaigns and strategies are effective or need more work.
3. Slacking Off on Design
We’re talking about the digital age, where how things look pretty much matters. Design is key to how your website looks and the consistency of content across various social media accounts and on any material you release.
It is important to have your website apart from having social media accounts. The primary function of having your website is to gain full control, especially regarding ordering and booking.
One great thing about having your website is that it makes your customer relations more personal by allowing you to set up your blog or a news section. It is also easier for you to post updates regarding operating hours, contact numbers, location, and menu.
In terms of web design, ensure that laying your website out will work with the food and brand hues. Additionally, make sure that the navigation throughout the site is not just functional but also mobile-friendly.
An extra tip is that you should always have a great food photographer as part of your marketing team, even on a project basis. Your in-house photographer or food stylist will do wonders for your main product’s online look across all platforms.
4. Overlooking Customer Interaction
If you’re keen on service in-store, the same amount of careful attention should be consistent even in your online marketing strategies. This can be prevented by looking into the following tips:
A. Customer Database & Subscriptions
You should have a customer database. This is your main source of data for market research and for planning better marketing strategies. Additionally, you should take care of those who do subscribe to you.
If your restaurant is using Blink’s online ordering system, maintaining a customer database becomes an easier task. With Blink, you get complete access to customer data with full ownership rights and data export functionality so that you can make the most of your customers’ data.
Ensure that you get to regularly send your customers updates (or discounts) but to properly and consistently schedule this so that it isn’t overwhelming like spam but frequent enough for brand awareness.
B. Social Media Interactions & Engagement
This is why it is important to have a team working on social media. Responses from your restaurant should ideally be within a 24-hour period and across all platforms, including your website.
A late response will lead to a loss of engagement from your possible customers. You want to be ready to take in queries anytime and have the right responses as much as possible. This also means you should be updating your website and social media accounts as regularly as possible.
C. Customer Feedback & Crisis Management
Ensuring your customers are happy happens not just within the confines of your establishment but also online. Make sure your marketing team can handle crises and address negative feedback.
You should also have a plan or a strategy to help in addressing unhappy guests for you to be able to keep ratings up while also being true to your brand.
5. Unbalanced Marketing Strategies
Too much of anything will not do you good. Your marketing strategies should have a healthy balance of new strategies alongside old techniques of marketing that have always proved to be working.
A brilliant logo design comes from the traditional strategy of using a well-thought-of sign. Having loyalty programs or subscription promos also stems from old-school marketing. More importantly, the entire concept of tapping into your community is a traditional marketing strategy that still holds today.
6. Skimping on Marketing Budget
Of the biggest mistake you can commit in terms of marketing your restaurant, this would have to be it. You cannot address the five previously mentioned concerns if you’re underpaying your marketing team.
They are a big investment, yes, but they’re half of the reason why people will visit your place and try out your menu. The other half comes from your restaurant team. Skimping on marketing will show adverse results, so do rethink your budget.
Where then is a good place to start applying these tips? Start with your brand. Remind yourself of the message and get this across to your kitchen staff and marketing team. A bunch makes a great restaurant of people working together to deliver the best food experience–it is not a one-person job!