In 2020, it is more important than ever to have a solid marketing plan for your restaurant. You don’t want to be one of the 60% of restaurants that fail in their first year just because your strategies held you back. The most successful restaurants have been able to take advantage of digital marketing in their own way.

Keeping up to date marketing strategies is not just crucial for new business owners. As technology progresses, you want your restaurant to progress along with your customers. Then, you will be able to ensure customer retention and longevity.

Strategies to Improve Restaurant Marketing

No matter your demographic, hiring a professional marketing team can help you come out on top and stay there. So, if you are wondering what you can do to take your marketing to the next level, check out these four key strategies.

1. Step Up Your Social Media

Let us reiterate that almost every business should have a social media presence, especially if you need to attract millennial and Gen Z customers. However, creating worthwhile social media pages isn’t as simple as just setting up an account and occasionally posting content. It would be best if you worked with someone knowledgeable about social media marketing strategies so that they can make your pages work for you.

The following are some ways you can elevate your online presence:

Engage Your Audience

People respond well to businesses that care about what they think. Your customers want to feel seen and heard. Try engaging your online audience by:

  • Creating social media contests or challenges
  • Responding to customer posts about your restaurant
  • Working with social media influencers

When you actively engage your customers, you form a relationship that is more than transactional. Those customers will keep coming back and may tell their friends about you.

Use Relevant Hashtags

While hashtags seem simple, they work best when you know how to use them strategically. They can help people find out about your business and understand what’s essential to your brand. You can use a mix of popular local hashtags and original hashtags to gain followers and post engagement. However, make sure you don’t go overboard and use too many – this can make you seem spammy.

Share Unique Content

Many restaurants are competing for your customers’ attention. People want to see original and genuine content, not just sales information. When you post online, make sure you post interesting and brand-related photos, blog posts, or messages that help people recognize you as a brand.

2. Try Facebook Messenger Marketing

Facebook Messenger has high conversion rates for businesses, making it an increasingly popular resource in marketing toolkits. When you create a business Facebook page, you can set up several automated features to help pull in customers. These services include:

  • Automatic messages to commenters: When people comment on your Facebook posts, they will automatically get a message from your page. If they choose to interact with that message, then you might have a new customer
  • Chat blasting: Like email blasting, you can send messages to all your Facebook contacts at once. However, Facebook only lets certain business pages do this, so ask your strategist about this one!
  • Clickable messenger ads: You can set up automated responses when people message you about specific topics. For instance, a bot can respond to questions with keywords such as, “What are your hours?”
  • Chat widget: Messenger chatbots take the place of real people having to be available to answer customer inquiries. These Facebook bots can respond immediately when a human is not available.

You can also use Facebook Messenger to target customers in your area. Then, you can message these customers with coupons and even keep track of who redeems the discounts and how much they spend. This data can help you improve your marketing strategies or narrow down your target audience.

3. Use Email Marketing

If you are familiar with running a business, then you know that email marketing has been a prominent tool for customer outreach and retention for a while now. When you have a customer’s email, you can send them information, discounts, promotions, and keep in touch. However, it’s time to replace regular email sign up lists with a more modern method.

At Restaurant Outreach, we tie into Wi-Fi loyalty to help restaurants build their customer database. If you already offer free Wi-Fi at your restaurant, why not make it work for you? Wi-Fi marketing allows you to:

  • Collect customer data faster than ever
  • Send automatic messages to customers who log in to your Wi-Fi
  • Send personalized messages to repeat customers
  • Spend less energy managing a long list of contacts

Customers are more likely to give their email addresses to use your Wi-Fi than they are for most other reasons. If you offer free internet, use it to your advantage and keep guests coming back!

4. Manage your reputation

Lastly, you have to be aware of your online status. Do you know how your customers perceive you? Do you know why they do or do not return? Keep customer interactions with your business positive and do your best to fix any negative press.

Today’s consumers are all about online reviews. They look at them, and they trust other people to tell them what it is like to visit that place. One bad review can cause significant harm to your business. To manage your online reputation, you can:

  • Respond to all online reviews regardless of whether they are positive or negative
  • Respond to customer questions quickly and thoroughly
  • Offer aid to any unhappy customers
  • Post content and comments that are true to your brand

You can’t please everyone, but you should try. You don’t want potential customers to perceive your restaurant as untrustworthy just because you never respond to negative comments. Think carefully about how to portray your brand authentically in a positive light.

All of this is hard to do alone, especially when you have a million other concerns on your plate. If you want quality marketing, you should hire a professional with experience. An expert can help you define and grow your brand, set up marketing plans tailored to your business, and analyze the results of executed plans.