9 Tips to Nail Your Food & Restaurant Advertising

Restaurant Advertising

In an era of digital consumers, all businesses compete for attention. Based on research by Invesco, the average person is served 1,700 banner ads per month, but only half of those ads will ever be viewed.

In a saturated environment such as the food and restaurant industry, new names easily get lost in the deluge. If you fail to impress online customers, your hard work in creating your restaurant's most recent ad campaign will go to waste.

Whether you are boosting brand awareness, launching a fresh menu item, or working to grow your online audience, you will need to stay laser-focused on your objective. In marketing, it is essential to set yourself apart from the masses.

To help you achieve that goal, here are nine tips that will help you nail your next restaurant marketing campaign:

1. Send a Compelling Message to Customers

Ideally, you want to strike an emotional chord with diners. Your restaurant ad has the power to send a compelling message to potential customers and needs to do so.

Brands are like people. Each one with a unique personality and values. If your restaurant was a person, what message would be conveyed? Remember this: While any company can cite facts, figures, and statistics, a study by NeuroMarketing showed that campaigns with purely emotional content perform nearly twice as well as those with purely rational content.

A great example: Coca-Cola's recent campaign to eliminate social prejudice ("Remove Labels This Ramadan") struck an emotional chord. The campaign resulted in a whopping 51% increase in the consumption of their products.

2. Keep it Interesting with Visual Storytelling

Nothing annoys audiences more than seeing the same old ideas rehashed in your ad campaigns. Adding novel images is a refreshing step in the eyes of your diners. Among respondents to a recent survey, 55% of people actually recall content when images are included. That is important in an era when the average attention span of consumers lasts for only 8 seconds.

During those few seconds, you need to capture their attention with memorable visual storytelling to reinforce your message. That is true whether your ad runs on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, or somewhere else.

3.  Experiment with Unique Colors

When used creatively, colors can affect consumer behavior. Ads for fast food chains tend to use brighter colors that reflect energy while luxury ads lean on darker colors to represent authority and sleekness. When you experiment with color to set the tone of your ad, don’t forget about creating contrast as well.

To make it legible and memorable, contrast is key. If your entree features light colors, it’s wise to avoid a white background when displaying it.

4.  Don’t Claim to Be Something You are Not

“We use only the freshest ingredients! Our menu is vegan-friendly!”

Making claims that are not accurate about your food and your menu will backfire. Today's diners are discerning about the messages trumpeted about their food choices, to the point that 54% of users don’t click on banner ads because they don’t trust them. In hope of attracting your customers to your restaurant, be sure not to fall into the trap of deceptive advertising.

Draw the line between making an enticing offer and claiming to be something you are not.

5. Monitor the Latest Trends in the Food Industry

Knowing what’s trendy among diners can provide you with a small window of opportunity to skyrocket your sales. Why? Because trends change quickly, so you must stay on top of them.

Try creating your food ads around a trending topic or even have dine-in deals associated with a trending event, like the Super Bowl, an upcoming holiday, or a new movie release. You’d be surprised at how much it can boost your business.

Google Trends is a free tool that restaurant owners and marketers can leverage to monitor search trends based on keywords worldwide, or specific to certain regions. 

6. Build Your Audience on the Right Platform

An excellent ad on the wrong platform is wasted. Be sure to understand the audience you seek when placing your message on social media (great for getting personal with your diners) as opposed to websites, blogs, and offline platforms. Every platform is unique and all restaurateurs can from Domino’s brilliant marketing campaign on Twitter.

By enabling users to order their pizza directly via Twitter, Domino’s gained media coverage from national outlets like USA Today and Forbes. More important, the company accepts more than 50% of its orders from digital channels today.

7. Ask for a Reasonable Call to Action

You’ve created a great restaurant advertisement and placed it on the best platform available, yet you're not seeing results. What could possibly be missing?

The answer probably is a creative, reasonable, and effective Call to Action (CTA).

A study by Unbounce showed more than 90% of visitors who read a headline also read the CTA copy. That is why it’s so important to ensure that your ad’s CTA is specific, creative, achievable, and linked to the objective of your advertisement. Make it irresistible for your consumers to take action.

Get creative with your wording and give people a reason to click! Examples: To bring in more orders, urge diners to "Treat Yourself Now!" If you're opening a new restaurant location, urge them to "Be the first in line." 

8. Have Fun with #Hashtags

Thanks to the popularity of Twitter, hashtags provide an amazing opportunity for your restaurant to trend on social media. Beyond focusing on gaining more followers for marketing purposes, select social media hashtags to create lasting impressions in your diners.

When used cleverly, these hashtags can inject fun into the dining experience by passing along a simple hashtag like #DavesDiner or #FreshFishByFred.

9. Create Stunning & High-Quality Menus

The silent member of your restaurant sales team is always on duty, whether in the restaurant or when posted online. That is your menu!

Having a visually appealing menu that carries the personality of your restaurant will create a lasting impression among diners. A pleasant menu marks the beginning of an enjoyable dining experience, setting expectations for the rest of their time in your restaurant. The same applies to a potential diner perusing your menu online while considering where to eat within the hour.

You can take the concept one step farther by letting diners make an immediate purchase from your online menu. That trend has been steadily on the rise since 2016 and will not disappear soon. In creating an online presence for your brand, having an online ordering system allows you to grow your restaurant beyond its four walls.