The coronavirus and the associated lockdowns have forced many restaurants to pull down the shutters. Although it might be best to tread lightly when it comes to any significant investments, we think this is an excellent time to ramp up some easy-to-implement restaurant marketing strategies that’ll help your brand build some traction online.
Let’s address the why first. Why is it an excellent time to market your business? One, increased screen time. Your customers are spending more time online. Two, less competition. It is seen that only a small fraction of the restaurants (particularly the larger restaurant chains) are engaging their customers online.
Here are some tips to market your restaurant online.
Tell them how ‘safe’ your food is.
Tell people about the steps that you’re taking to keep COVID at bay (from your restaurant at least). You can create short videos or upload images of the kitchen to drive home the point of good hygiene at your restaurant. Photos of staff and waiters abiding by the social distancing and preventive care norms in place. These are some of the things that your customers would want to know.
How are you practicing social distancing at the restaurant?
What are the steps you’re taking for good sanitation?
Do you offer contactless delivery?
Make use of your social media channels to inform your customers that ordering from you is safe and easy.
Run offers and promotions.
Drive value through your promotions. Did you know that:
- 80% of diners are likely to try out a restaurant if there is a deal available (RetailMeNot).
- 57% of millennials look for restaurant coupons (Valassis)
Tell people why they should order from you now. Get in a few discounts in, run a few promotions through to your existing customer base using your CRM channels of SMS and Email. Also, you could run some paid promotions on your social media handles to reach out to a wider audience.
Create content around your brand story
This is again a great time to communicate what sets you apart. What’s your brand story? How have you grown over the years? What are the ups and downs that you’ve faced as a brand? What are your goals and aspirations? Your customers would love a great story. So create one and articulate it well. Push this across your marketing channels and keep a close tab on the engagement.
Optimising your website for SEO is an ever evolving process. The nature of search keep changing and one way to stay abreast with the latest search trends is to keep a track of Google Search Trends and Google Keywords Planner. This will give you a better sense of what people are searching online. Ensure that these keywords are a part of your website pages. To optimise your website, ensure that your Google My Business account is up to date with the latest information- address, cuisine items, operational timings, type of business etc.
Consider Google/YouTube Ads
A lot of search queries are punched in Google and YouTube on a daily basis, including those that pertain to your business. . Traffic on these domains are the highest across the internet. Through ads, your restaurant’s website can get top spots (Rank 1 on search engine results) for these keywords and this brings in relevant customers to your domain.
Leverage the power of social media
Social Media is an ever changing platform. New features have been introduced in existing social media and new social media platforms have also come up. Live Video streaming is growing in popularity with roughly a 50-60% increase YoY on the stream time. Mobiles today are loaded with high quality cameras and video edit features that can help you shoot and upload videos quickly.
New platforms such as Tik-Tok have also shown excellent performance in the last few years. So if you haven’t quite gotten started with social media now would be a great time!
Quora is an excellent Question Answer platform. It tells you a lot about what questions people have about your industry. Answering questions consistently helps educate the customer about how the industry works. This in turn instils faith and trust. You can gauge the top questions from the trending section or the most followed section. Quora also has an ads platform that can help you feature your content and place ads where you feel your target audience is likely to be.
Rope in influencers
Generating new ways of amplifying your brand’s reach is important. Influencers and somian specialists are over the internet now. For a restaurant, a good way to win more eyeballs is to get featured on food influencer platforms. 3 important things to see here would be.
How popular is the influencer? This can be seen through metrics such as follower base, average engagement per post.
How cost effective is the influencer? Make a table of engagement and cost and evaluate the ROI.
What content should you push through the influencer? You can show people what’s cooking at your restaurant, what are the initiatives you’re doing for the customers at this time, what safety measures you’re implementing, what are the back-end operational processes you follow at the kitchens and so forth.
It is important that you keep engaging your customers online, even if your restaurant is temporarily closed. There are new and better ways of communicating online and you should always be on top of your game by being present where your customers are. We hope this guide helped you learn something new. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!