10 Tips for Low Cost Marketing for Restaurants
1. Spread the Word.
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics out there. And the best way to encourage word-of-mouth marketing is to sell top-notch products. Then people will tell friends and family about their great experience with your restaurant. Not only that but with social media many people will also post there great experiences on their preferred social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
2. Take Advantage of Social Media.
Social media can have a major impact on what restaurants and businesses people chose to go to. With most social media sites setting up an account is free so you can get started with just a bit of time and sweat. And not only should you create a page or profile for you business but you should also consider buying ad space on social media sites. This way you can target highly specific audiences based on their social media accounts.
3. Train Your Staff for Up-Selling.
Up-selling refers to additional sales made by servers during the dining time for your customers. Basically, this means getting your customers to order desert or some other extra item off of the menu. The trick is to provide your staff with some training. You have to train staff members to be upbeat but not pushy. They need to sell the positive qualities of a desert or special drink but also make sure customers don’t feel pushed. And if it’s clear that the customer doesn’t want to be bothered then your staff members need to know when the entire effort and focus on the orders.
4. Use Email.
You should start trying to build an email list of potential customers. One easy way to get email addresses is to hold a drawing with an attractive prize, such as a gift card. Then you can have customers write down their email address in order to find out the results of the drawing. Just make sure you place an opt-out (or opt-in) box on the form so customers can chose whether or not to receive further offers and deals.
Once your email list is built you can start sending out coupons, info on upcoming events, and other pieces of useful information a few times a month. You can also send people happy birthday and happy holiday emails with festive deals. Just make sure you don’t overdo it or people will start ignoring you and your messages!
5. Loyalty Reward Programs.
The best customer is a loyal customer who frequently chooses your business over competitors. That’s a fact and you should show your appreciation by creating a loyalty reward program. These programs work by offering incentives, such as a small discount or occasional free desert, for regular customers. For example, on the tenth visit to a particular restaurant a customer could receive a free cup of coffee or pastry. These programs keep customers coming in on a regular basis as they try to rack up the points or visits needed to receive a free item. They also make customers feel appreciated and help you build a strong relationship with them!
6. Send a Text.
Text messaging is a great way to get in touch with people! Now-a-days most people carry their cellphone on them all day long so if you send a text you can be confident the customer will get the message. You will only have a 160 characters to get your point across, however, and if you send too many messages people will become alienated so be careful.
7. Holding Top Notch Events
Do you want your restaurant to be the hottest joint in town, or at least a cool place to grab a meal? If so then you should considering holding interesting events, such as poetry reading nights, comedy nights, and live music. You should try to hold events that last all night and make people want to be in their seats for a long period of time. This will result in bigger checks per head as people order more. You will have to promote your events with other marketing techniques, such as Facebook and posters but the effort will pay off!
8. The Monthly Newsletter
You can create monthly newsletters to send out to customers on your email list, or even through traditional mail. While digital newsletters have the advantage of low costs, traditional print newsletters have a certain nostalgia. Either way and anyway sending out monthly updates on your restaurant and its on-goings is a great way to keep in touch.
9. Bathroom Marketing.
That’s right, the “loo” can be a great place to put up advertising. Simply put, people have the time to read while they are taking care of their business so strategically placed flyers can garner a lot of attention. Many restaurants post advertisements displaying specials or upcoming events in their restrooms and you should too.
10. Blogging and Youtubing.
You can use a blog and even video accounts of the behind the scenes happenings at your restaurant. For example, having the chef tell people about his upcoming recipe or a server talking about the merits of the blueberry pie is a great way to make your restaurant feel personable and accessible. “Pulling back the curtain” helps you build genuine relationships with your customers which can pay off in increased customer loyalty.