All too often, restaurants miss opportunities to get their business in front of hungry diners.
With growing competition and increasingly demanding consumers, an effective marketing strategy can mean the difference between success and failure.
You put a lot of work into making your restaurant successful. Don’t waste those efforts by making these all-too-common restaurant marketing mistakes.
Here are the few common restaurant marketing mistakes what the restaurant used to do.
1. Ignoring social media
All restaurants should have a social media presence. Just because you are not an avid Facebook user, doesn’t mean it’s not a good fit for your business. Social channels provide an inside look into your restaurant, helping build relationships and stay top-of-mind with guests. Whether your business is on social media or not, you can guarantee your diners are. Take this opportunity to be part of the conversation.
Determine which social media channels are most used by your typical diner and make your business accessible there.
2. Refusing to pay for marketing
For marketing to make an impact on the success of your business, you’re going to have to allocate funds to support it.
The National Restaurant Association has reported that restaurants typically spend about 3% of monthly revenue on marketing programs.General recommendations typically range from 2 – 10%. Where you spend marketing budget will vary by business type, but many experts are encouraging restaurateurs to focus on digital and mobile marketing – specifically search engine optimization (SEO), Google My Business, and social media.
3. Not measuring your marketing
For restaurants, marketing is now measurable.
Whether it’s tracking visits to the website, clicks on online ads, growth in social media followers, or attendees at a special event, your investment in marketing and branding should be tied to specific metrics. You’ll have a much easier time justifying marketing costs by defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) beforehand to measure the effectiveness of your programs.
4. Sending too many promotional emails
The #1 reason that people unsubscribe from emails is that they receive them too frequently. The huge potential value of a customer database is lost if the guest is unsubscribing from your messages.
Optimal email timing and frequency will vary by industry. Data suggests that most people are open to receiving promotional emails at least once per month. Try providing different subscription options (i.e.: monthly newsletter, weekly discount code) to see which cadence is most popular with your guests.
Also, instead of an “unsubscribe” button on emails, send them to a “manage email preferences” page where they can either unsubscribe or switch to a different cadence.
5. Being clueless about SEO
Effective search engine optimization (SEO) does require some technical knowledge, but it will make or break the “discoverability” of your restaurant. With so much search traffic going to Food & Beverage, it’s clear that restaurant websites with optimized keywords will win.
If someone searches “chicken wings” the restaurant’s SEO strategy will determine which restaurant shows up in the search results. If you’re a Colorado-based sports bar, it’s extremely important that you show up. At the very least, have a conversation with your web designer about it.
6. Inconsistent branding
Define your restaurant’s brand and stick with it. Use it to be the driver behind marketing messaging and strategy. The restaurant website, social media channels, and any in-store materials should support your unique brand.
If you’re a sustainably-focused fine dining restaurant, build marketing messaging that speaks to where your food comes from and how that creates an excellent experience. Avoid anything that does not appear to support that mission.
7. Sitting on valuable customer information
A database of guest information through a loyalty program or mailing list is useless without a communication strategy. Have a plan to utilize that valuable contact information. Email, SMS texts, social media, and targeted advertising are at your disposal with a robust customer database.
Depending on your restaurant brand, guests might appreciate coupons and promo codes or notifications about upcoming wine tastings and events.
What common restaurant marketing mistakes did we miss? Tell us in the comments!
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