Driven by an improving economy, restaurant sales in the United States are expected to grow to $709.2 billion by the end of 2015. But with this increase in total sales volume comes an increase in overall competition. For this reason, it is imperative to find new marketing strategies to help your restaurant or bar stand out from the rest online. To help you do specifically that, we’ve highlighted six proven strategies below.
1.) Loyalty Programs
Get your restaurant or bar involved in a loyalty app program that can help create top of mind by being immersed in your customer’s smartphone. Set this loyalty program up to reward customers for regular purchases, and make signups available on your website. Loyalty functionality helps you engage, retain and grow your current customer base, and dramatically increase profitability by decreasing customer defections.
2.) Gift Card Programs
Gift cards allow your loyal customers to share a gift of your fine establishment with their friends and family. The great thing is that those redeeming your gift cards have a high likelihood of being groomed into a new loyal customer. Addressing service issue with a gift card is also an effective way of making sure you get a second chance without having to forego revenues you just earned from a patron.
3.) Connect with Food Bloggers
A good way to generate buzz for your restaurant or bar online is to connect with local food bloggers who could write a review for their website. Target those bloggers with substantial followings and reach out with an offer of a free meal. After their visit, they will write about your location and spread the word via social media for only the price of the dinner, appetizer and drinks they reviewed. This is obviously a low cost way to get people talking about your business through social channels they might not otherwise.
4.) Locally Targeted Ads
Facebook and Google AdWords can be used to target prospective clients in your immediate geographic location. Investing in these geo-targeted marketing opportunities could increase foot traffic significantly for your business. You could also combine this with remarketing efforts, serving your ads to locally targeted prospects who’ve also visited your website. There are no minimums or set amounts you must spend via AdWords or Facebook, so test the waters with what you feel comfortable investing and monitor the impact from there.
5.) Embrace Yelp
Your restaurant or bar can be reviewed on Yelp whether you set up your account or not. So it’s best to treat Yelp like an opportunity for increased exposure and take ownership of it right away. Being proactive and thorough with your Yelp account means adding updated photos, hours of operation, menu, pricing, entertainment and anything else that you believe could help prospective customers make an informed dining decision. This will help you stay engaged with users and prospective customers, and should also generate an increase in reviews over time as well.
6.) Google My Business
Get your restaurant or bar on Google for free by claiming your Google My Business Page. By going to www.google.com/business/ you can add your restaurant’s name, address and phone number so that it shows up in relevant search results. This is great for being found locally, when people are looking for food like yours in a specific geographic region.