Digital marketing has revolutionized the marketing landscape, especially for restaurants. Even if your restaurant is well established, you have to keep up with current marketing trends in order to remain competitive. Are you marketing your restaurant in the right way? Are you marketing to the right people. Here are 10 digital marketing tips for restaurants.

1. Leverage Social Media Marketing

Social media is your restaurant’s ultimate weapon. People spend a substantial amount of time on social media platforms every day. Here are some tips on how to use social media to market your restaurant:

  • Create your restaurant’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter accounts. These are the most widely used social media platforms globally. Instagram marketing for restaurants can be highly beneficial.
  • Use vivid images on each account to arrest the eyes of customers. Post ‘drool-worthy’ pictures of dishes served at your restaurant. But don’t just stick to these. Post pictures of your customers, staff, interiors, and more. Maintains a healthy variation of content types across all channels.
  • Videos can be engaging than images. Post recipe videos of top dishes, behind-the-scenes videos of your restaurant’s holiday decorations, or a two-minute DIY video of your bartender making a cocktail.
  • Use calls-to-action (CTAs) in your posts to encourage engagement with the brand. Put an “Order now!” button that redirects people to your online ordering website, for example.
  • Go live! Instagram and Facebook stories, live video streaming an event at your restaurant, or live-tweeting can be a fun way to increase your restaurant’s reach.

2. Optimize Text and Email Marketing

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one of the most important ways to get people to come back to your restaurant. The customer data stored on your restaurant POS system can be used for sending SMS and email campaigns. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Time it right. Who doesn’t like receiving, “20% off on your next order,” right before dinner? There’s a higher chance someone placing an order if you send promotional discounts right before meals.
  • Categorize your customers into different groups like active, new, etc., and send relevant messages to each. This makes the CRM campaign more personal and less vague.
  • Use the right words. Content plays a critical role in marketing. Be sure to convey your message in the first 2-3 sentences. Customers tend to lose interest otherwise.
  • ‘Buy One Get One Free’ on special occasions or festivals will attract customers. Make sure to send interesting messages during upcoming events.

3. Test Loyalty Programs

Loyal customers generate more business than having to acquire new ones. Therefore, it is important to take care of your existing customers. Reward existing customers with loyalty programs and offer incentives for return visits.

Restaurants that use loyalty programs and send SMS campaigns often see a repeat customer rate of 80% and above (for online orders on own platforms). Here’s how to make the best of your loyalty programs:

  • Offer customer points for each order they place that can be redeemed on subsequent orders.
  • Incentivize customers for referring your brand to their friends. Give them a referral bonus to reach more people.
  • Provide BOGO offers as a reward for people who share your brand’s page on their social media handles. Encourage individuals to share feedback or pictures from their time at your restaurant.

4. Build Your Online Presence

Expanding your brand’s online presence beyond the regular channels will help elevate your restaurant business. Here’s how:

  • Third party food aggregators like Zomato and Swiggy provide limited space to showcase your brand. Present your restaurant however you want, without any restrictions.
  • These sites can be used as a single platform for running all promotional activities in your restaurant.
  • Use real images and great content that compel customers to order from your restaurant.
  • Reflect menu changes on your website as well.

5. Claim Local Online Listings

To further authenticate your restaurant’s presence, register on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, etc. These have high traffic and will help you get discovered when people search for restaurants. Your restaurant reviews, ratings, and more will appear in search results. Companies like Diggity Marketing are skilled at optimizing SEO campaigns.

6. Consider Paid Marketing

Paid marketing allows you to target a specific audience. Run digital ads on social media and search platforms. Create visual ads that drive people back to your website. This is a great way to reach the younger generation.

7. Create a Restaurant Blog

Another way to let people know what’s happening at your restaurant is to have a blog. Your blog should contain relevant headings, images, and content. Use your restaurant’s blog to:

  • Highlight new additions to your menu.
  • Write about former or upcoming events.
  • Increase online visibility by writing about relevent topics.
  • Give your customers a chance to interact with you as a way of commenting/sharing your blogs.

8. Optimize Food Bloggers and Social Media Influencers

Sometimes you’re not able to catch everyone’s eyes. Social media influencers along with food bloggers and critics can serve this purpose well. Typically, they have a massive following and will help to market your brand their audience. It’s critical, though, to find the right kind of influencers to do influencer marketing the right way.

9. Host Events

Organize events based on topical themes to attract customers. Organize TV show screenings, karaoke nights, stand-up comedy shows, poetry slams, and more. Participate in food festivals and other external events where you can showcase your brand.

10. Run Contests and Giveaways

People love free things. Give your customers cool takeaways and tiny gifts when they come to your restaurant. This not only makes them feel special, but also encourages them share their experience and visit your restaurant again. Social media contests are often well received, too.

Read here for more restaurant marketing ideas to could include in your marketing strategy.

If done well, restaurant marketing will help your restaurant grow immensely. Hitting the right channel at the right time is bound to get you more customers. Optimize online channels effectively to get and keep more customers.

Author Bio: Devyani is a Content Marketer at LimeTray. She researches and writes about Restaurant Technology features and Management solutions.