When it comes to optimizing your restaurant marketing strategy, it is—with apologies to the well-worn marathon-not-a-sprint maxim—essential to think of your efforts as a gourmet recipe not a frozen microwave meal.
Which is to say, you want to be very thoughtful about the ingredients you’re using and how you’re blending these different elements together.
- Local Spice
Good marketing is about communication and persuasion. To hone both sides of this symbiotic coin, you’ll need honest feedback. And one of the best places to seek that out is your own proverbial backyard. So whenever possible attend farmer’s markets, sports games, and other community events to network with other local business owners, build community relationships, and get a sense of how best to tailor your marketing efforts to your most immediate customers.
You could, for example, offer a deal for certain meals in the hours leading up to or following a nearby musical performance. (This is a “twofer”—you in effect help the music venue market their event while placing your restaurant in front of a potentially new clientele.) Or give out discount coupons during an elementary or high school soccer game. To paraphrase Whitney Houston, “I believe that children are our future/Feed them well and let them lead the way.”
- Cups of Compassion
Charitable events are the very definition of “win-win”: You create an opportunity for yourself to give back to your community in a real, observable way while simultaneously growing your business.
So, you might, say, set aside a certain day or night at your restaurant during which all revenue goes to a local food bank or homeless shelter. Or you could offer to donate a certain number of meals to first responders and invite the community to donate toward the goal. (Perhaps even including the names of all donors in a “Thank You” card.
And speaking of first responders, with the pandemic continuing to affect communities in distinct ways, it’s a safe bet that there are organizations looking to aid and support children, adults, and families that would very much appreciate—and remember—your aid and kindness during this unique time.
- A Pinch of Celebrity
You don’t need the cash-on-hand necessary to do an ad campaign with Beyoncé to harness the power of celebrity for your business. Scratch the surface of your region and you’ll almost certainly find authors, athletes, musicians, fine artists, actors in touring productions who would love to get a little bit of love and recognition—not to mention, free press for their projects—from a local establishment. For your part, you get another unique event to differentiate yourself from the competition and a good reason to market yourself to the community again. Consider collaborating with your celebrity on a specific dish or drink as another hook.
Remember, too, that the aforementioned charitable events can opportunity for synergy and doubling the impact of your efforts—both in marketing and doing good for the community.
- Set Your Kitchen Timer
You will find creating a sense of urgency is key to the success of your small business marketing efforts. And so, while it may not be quite as sexy as a celebrity event, a well-executed time-sensitive deal can offer potential customers who have some degree of interest in your establishment or cuisine a motivating factor to come in the door. This could take whatever form you prefer—buy one, get one free; a discounted meal deal; free food for kids with family purchase; etcetera.
The plus for you is, hopefully, a burst of profit to help increase revenue and steady cash flow. But it is important—please excuse the pun—to not bite off more than you can chew. The last thing you want is a major influx of customers meeting a staff and/or product stretched thin. Be prepared, however, and the memory of a busy, well-run restaurant will stick with them.
Further, it can pay to think beyond mere profit. A two-phase campaign—in which the discount is dependent upon providing an email address or phone number for future contact—could pay major dividends in the future. Consider, for example, employing this information a week later to send personalized emails for a more modest discount on their next three meals. Next thing you know, you’ve got a regular.
- Expand Your Marketing Pantry
A smart marketing campaign has the potential to raise your restaurant’s profile, bring in a significant amount of business, and set in motion even greater wins down the road. It can, in other words, be a game-changing investment in your future. If you have visions of a marketing campaign that seems just out of reach it may be time to consider a small business loan or business line of credit. With Idea Financial you can fill out a simple application and get same day approval for up to $250,000—so you can quickly harness the resources you need and get back to making magic in the kitchen.
If that sounds like a recipe for success, click here today.