by Arleen Atienza
Consistent urbanization, democratization of mobile internet, and smartphone accessibility have increased the importance of digital marketing for all types of businesses. Particularly those in the highly competitive restaurant industry. Digital marketing allows new restaurants of any size a fighting chance to keep up with industry giants and take their own place in the market. However, getting and keeping the attention of your target market is no easy feat. It requires consistency and effort to get to know your target market’s demographics, interests, and passions. Keep reaching to discover the four customer-friendly strategies to secure a target market.
Encourage Customer Reviews or Feedback
Knowing your customers’ feedback on your dishes and their overall experience can prove valuable for your restaurant and your team. To encourage customer reviews, you can offer small tokens like a free cookie or beverage upgrade on their next visit. While getting feedback from actual customers may seem daunting, it’s essential to help your business improve not only your menu but the total customer experience you provide. Here are some examples of how you can collect customer feedback:
- Printed feedback forms that customers can fill out manually on-site
- Digital customer satisfaction surveys that can be accessed by scanning a QR code
- Asking customers to tag you on social media when they post their photos and experience in your restaurant
- Sending out links to customer surveys via email
2.Use Technology to Stay Accessible, Visible, and Relevant
This digital age has given many tools to reach out to their target audience, so make sure to maximize what’s out there to help you boost restaurant revenues without bloating marketing costs. Create and update your profiles on relevant platforms, such as:
Google Business Profile
If you want to be visible when a potential customer searches for “restaurants near me” in their Google search bar or in Maps, then you should make sure you have a verified Google Business Profile. Through this platform, customers can get directions to your location, reach you via your contact number, and even leave reviews.
With almost 3 billion active users in the world, it’s hard to miss Facebook’s potential to increase visibility for your restaurant business. Aside from awareness, you can also turn your page and Messenger chat box into a customer service channel where customers can get answers to their queries in a timely manner. Additionally, Facebook offers targeted advertising that you can tailor-fit to your preferred target market and ad budget.
Instagram & TikTok
While the reach of these platforms is not as massive as Facebook’s, Instagram and Tiktok allow marketers to experiment more with their social media efforts. Both platforms have trending reels that you can get onboard with to create relevance. Remember to use related hashtags in your posts that your target market is using for increased visibility. Instagram and TikTok also offer geo-targeted paid advertising, so you can zoom in on your target audience within your area. Plus, you’ll have access to post-campaign data that you can use to continue fine-tuning your social media strategy.
Food Delivery Apps
While technically not considered social media platforms, food delivery apps can help your restaurant business reach even more eyes and mouths. If part of your target market prefers convenience and watching movies at home with their loved ones during dinnertime, then you should consider partnering with delivery apps to make your food more accessible and convenient.
Making an account is the easy part. But staying consistent with your engagement and content should be a priority. Get creative with your social media marketing through engaging posts and mouth-watering videos of your latest offers. It’s also important to remember to make sure that all your business information, like your contact details, restaurant hours, and address, is updated across all platforms. You wouldn’t want to entice them through your social media posts only to have them drive for hours looking for your restaurant because of the inaccurate location on your profile. Make sure that you’re accessible both online and offline.
3. Create Loyalty Programs
Building relationships with customers means developing customer loyalty. You can increase visits through loyalty cards where every 5th or 10th visit will earn the customer a small discount or a free dessert with their meal. Loyalty programs like this one will make “regulars” out of one-time customers. For slow days or hours, you can increase walk-ins by offering various special discounts on specific days or time of the day. Customers will make it a habit to look out for the special offers you post on your online platforms. Another way to build customer loyalty is offering birthday specials during the customer’s birthday month. You can communicate this through in-store merchandising and social media marketing. To take it a step further, you can even personalize your communications through SMS or email marketing. Doing so can make your customer feel special and let them know you’re thinking of them on their special day.
4. Provide Excellent Customer Experience
Because restaurants are in the hospitality industry, it’s not enough to serve excellent food. You must also train restaurant staff to provide great customer service, follow strict hygiene and cleanliness protocols, not just follow minimum standards. Providing an excellent and memorable customer experience builds loyalty. Those who enjoyed your food and service are likely to return and even recommend your restaurant to their friends and family. Word-of-mouth marketing is not a new concept. If anything, it’s even more amplified and relevant because customers are most likely to post their experiences—whether good or bad—online where anyone, including potential customers, can view them.
Those with years under their belt in the restaurant industry know that a customer-centric approach is a must if you want to succeed in this highly competitive field. With the influx of new restaurants and cafes with different concepts coming up and the shadow of industry giants, it’s really important for restaurant owners to continuously make an effort to get to know their target market and to do what it takes to secure their place in both their stomachs and hearts.