To properly promote your restaurant, you need to advertise on the right platforms and with the right outlets. Traditional advertising can be expensive, but inexpensive options -- even free alternatives -- exist to effectively spread the word about your restaurant.
Social media is a cost-effective option that is a must for any small business. Using multiple social media platforms, especially Facebook, can reach a wide audience and help promote your restaurant in a viral word-of-mouth fashion.
That is just one of several viable options. Here are some proven advertising strategies that can help build your restaurant business:
New restaurants need advertising to get customers in the door. Before you begin creating flyers and building a fan page on Facebook, identify your target audience. Once you've decided who you want to attract, decide how much money you can spend on your initial advertising campaign. Advertising for a new restaurant is essential, so don't skimp on it. Fortunately, some of the most effective ideas are free.
Social media offers a way for restaurants to build a strong online presence, which establishes brand loyalty and attracts potential customers. Social media marketing campaigns provide great opportunities to sell products and services beyond the typical sit-down experience (catering, merchandise, gift certificates, etc.).
Social media utilizes sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, and Instagram. The online conversations and images build identities for businesses across virtually every industry. Most of these platforms also provide at least fundamental analytics as part of a business page; this information helps measure which social media strategies are successful and which may need tweaking.
Social media also allows restaurants to check up on the competition.
As the year unfolds, your restaurant's advertising approach should change with the seasons. Find fresh ideas to keep business coming in all year-round, including drink specials, wine tastings, catering & more. You must also keep to-go menus updated and shift your advertising focus from season to season.
Restaurant promotions are great because they can run daily or weekly, all year long. They offer the perfect opportunity to show customer appreciation and bring in some extra business at the same time. Restaurant promotions can range from a nightly happy hour to a customer appreciation day with drink and dinner specials.
Promotions can range from traditional, such as two-for-one dinner specials, to unique twists like a trivia contest with prizes or a name-our-new-microbrew beer contest. Asking for customer participation makes them feel important, spreads goodwill, and brings them back for more.
You can also integrate promotions with your social media campaign. For example, offer a contest for customers who post a selfie at your restaurant on Instagram or Facebook in which participants are entered to win a $50 gift certificate or a free t-shirt. This invites customers to start a conversation about your restaurant and encourages others to like your pages and check out your restaurant.
Advertising for a restaurant doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. It can actually be really fun if you invite your customers to be part of it.
The key to good advertising is consistency. Running ads and posting on social media on a regular basis helps keep your restaurant relevant online and serves gentle, fun reminders to customers that it's time they stop by for a drink and dinner.