Running any kind of business is hard and time consuming, but running a restaurant is even harder. You have hundreds of guests every day that demand quality service, dozens of employees you have to manage, tons of food regulations you have to keep, and a couple hundred more tasks to accomplish every day.
It’s completely understandable when things fall to the wayside. You’ve got so many duties that it’s easy for things like marketing to become less important. After all, updating your website or posting to social media can always wait till tomorrow, right?
But now you are ready to get back into it and restart your restaurant’s marketing. It’s a great decision, but instead of jumping back into what you were previously doing, consider revamping and improving your marketing. Depending on how long you haven’t been actively marketing, the world might have changed. Tactics that worked a couple years ago might not be effective anymore. Luckily, we’ve got some stellar advice on how to go about restarting your marketing the right way.
Playing Catch-Up on Marketing
Before you jump back into marketing, you need to do some research on what’s working in the world of marketing today. Spend some time on industry-relevant marketing sites learning what is popular and effective right now. Learn more about digital marketing strategies alongside more traditional advertising methods.
If you’ve never pursued digital marketing, you need to now. Traditional advertising can only get you so far, so invest both time and money to learn all you can about having a good website and strong online presence. Simply having a menu on a third-party site and an inactive social media isn’t enough anymore.
Another good strategy is to analyze your competitors’ marketing and how it compares to yours. Check out their website, social media, traditional and online ads, anything they are doing to draw in new customers. This can give you a good idea how you currently stand and what you need to do to grow.
Analyze Your Current Marketing
Do you have a good basic understanding of the current state of marketing? Great. Now it’s time to critique your own work.
It’s important to identify what is still working and what isn’t in your restaurant’s marketing so you don’t have to start completely over. Maybe you feel your restaurant’s branding is really strong. It wouldn’t make sense then to rebrand your business going forward.
Don’t just make assumptions during this process. If you have your own website and social media, you can utilize analytics and data to find out more. This includes what pages performed really well, which were rarely visited, and which ones kept that attention of visitors.
For other parts of your marketing, where data isn’t readily available, interview guests and those in your local area. Find out what they liked and disliked about the ads. Ask things about the design, the offer, the frequency, and the delivery method.
Build or Improve Your Website
If you don’t have a website, get one. It’s a terrible idea to only have your menu hosted on a site like Yelp or AllMenus. Buy a domain name that matches your business name and start building a site. It’s quite possible to build one yourself or pay for somebody else to do it.
If you already have a website, then it’s time to improve on it. Start by updating information on your site. Has your menu changed recently? Update it on the site. Opened a new location or have seasonal hours? Add it.
Then, consider ways to improve outside of maintenance. Content marketing is becoming increasingly important to businesses everywhere, and it might be an area you want to focus on. Consider starting a blog for your site and use it as a place to draw in new guests and gain more traffic to your site. There are tons of ways you can create unique content that can help you connect with your local audience.
As you try out new things, A/B test all changes. That way, you can find what works for your site and what doesn’t. Test out a new change, collect data for a specific period of time, and modify those changes based on the data.
Focus on Gaining Return Customers
Brand loyalty plays a huge part in today’s business world. It’s often the deciding factor when people are trying to decide where to go out to eat. A major focus point of your marketing needs to be creating brand loyalty.
Hopefully, your dining experience is already good enough that people aren’t dissuaded from coming back. Now, you need to work on getting them to return time and time again till your restaurant becomes a go-to choice. Consider creating a rewards club that gives discounts and coupons to returning customers. That way, they have more of an incentive to eat with you than your competitors.
Make a Plan, Create Habits
Marketing is not a one-time task where you spend on week every year doing it. It needs to become a regular part of your routine. Constantly working on new projects, fine tuning current strategies, and running experiments is how you find success.
A good way to start is to set aside a few hours every week dedicated to marketing. Shut off your phone, tell employees to leave you alone, lock your office, whatever it takes to get time to focus solely on your marketing. Put on your calendar and make it a priority.
Use that time effectively by having a plan on what you will work on. One week, plan out a month’s worth of social media posts and schedule them out. Next week, create a new piece of content for your website. Week after that, analyze your analytics and adjust pages accordingly.
Once you create this habit of working on marketing once a week, you’ll find that it becomes a higher priority as you find success. Try to spend more time every week working on your marketing to keep that traction going. If you find it hard to set aside time for marketing, consider hiring a marketing professional to help out.
Restarting your marketing is a wise decision, but make sure you do all you can to ensure it doesn’t lapse again. Consistent marketing is key to finding success, so make sure you have the time to do all of the above advice and more. Focus on strategies that produce success, make sure to consult your data, and set aside time on a regular basis to do the work.