5 Creative Restaurant Marketing Ideas

While traditional marketing strategies are still effective, modern trends will see a higher engagement level in today’s digital marketing world. Having a Google My Business account is only one of the first steps in targeting specific audiences – in fact, it seems like customers are wanting higher interactive content more and more. We’ve compiled a few creative restaurant marketing ideas for your business, so that you can stand out from the crowd.

It’s no longer enough for businesses to just have a social media presence. Restaurants, in particular, can sometimes face bigger challenges. How can you show off your delicious food without having everyone visit your restaurant?

“You eat with your eyes” is a common phrase you might have heard before – and isn’t it just so true? There are a few steps you can include in your marketing strategy to make your restaurant more visible, have higher authority in the industry, and increase your ROI.

 

1. Make the Most Out of Video Marketing

According to Wyzowl, who conducted a State of Video Marketing Survey, 97% of marketers stated that video was a great mean to increase customer understanding about products and services. With 81% of surveyed customers saying that a brand’s video has helped to convince them to buy either a service or a product, video becomes a main factor in the decision-making process.

Starting a video marketing strategy begins with you answering what your goal is. Do you want to boost your sales, increase brand awareness, increase conversions, or generate leads? Knowing the answer to this question will shape how you formulate and apply your strategy.

From here, deciding what stage of the marketing funnel your video will be will also help to choose their mood:

  1. Awareness. Educational and entertaining videos generate both interest and awareness.
  2. Consideration. Inspiring videos that inform, such as videos with cooking tips, help to understand the array of meals and expertise in your restaurant.
  3. Conversion. Friendly video testimonials can be a great choice when targeting people about to make a decision to buy.
  4. Promotion. Live streaming or ‘off-the-cuff’ videos keep your customers informed and entertained and can be a great way to attract prospects.

How are you thinking about tracking your video’s performance? Before you share your masterpiece, you need to consider which metrics will give you the data you need through:

  • Click-through rate
  • Number of views
  • Comments on your video
  • Number of impressions
  • Conversion rate
  • Average of watched minutes
  • Number of unique visitors
  • Number of shares

 

Live streaming high-quality video about your restaurant opens a window into having a more engaging relationship with your customers. Facebook has a live streaming function that has become more and more popular, with people being able to ask questions and comment in real time and help you to better understand what they want. Make sure to announce in advance that you’re live streaming so you can build up excitement and anticipation.

Social media platforms help to make people feel connected with you and your business, building trust and authority while letting everyone see how your delicious food is and your friendly staff.

You can live stream a wide variety of content that is sure to appeal to a wide range of customers, such as:

  • A live tour of your restaurant, especially if you’ve recently redecorated.
  • Cooking classes with your chefs, which allows your customers to both see your chefs’ expertise and learn from the best.
  • Giving your customers a ‘behind the scenes’ look into how you and your staff get ready for service (and sneak a peek into how clean and tidy your restaurant is).
  • Showing events live so that prospective customers can see how much fun your restaurant is.

360° videos and photos are an amazing, immersive technology for your prospective customers to have a controlled perspective view of your restaurant. This is the perfect way to give everyone a tour of your premises from the comfort of their home. Gain visibility, go viral, and provide an extensive experience of what you offer. This format has a wide variety of benefits you can take advantage of:

  1. Reaching new audiences becomes easier, as you can target consumers who are picky about where they eat and those who like to know exactly what restaurants offer and how they look like. A first-hand look into your premises let’s customers decide for themselves that it’s worth visiting.
  2. Have a more effective marketing strategy by becoming more competitive. It’s important for you to be one step ahead of your competition and keep up with trends. As businesses are starting to see the benefits of 360° videos, you also need to join in.
  3. Integrate Google Maps for improved visibility; a virtual tour on what is considered to be the most popular search engine has a greater potential of increasing your foot traffic. Combine your SEO strategy with an optimised Google My Business listing.

2. Creative Restaurant Marketing Ideas: Have You Thought About Events?

 

A great way to introduce your new restaurant or promote your existing venture is through food events. Host regular food events to make sure you fill up your restaurant on chosen days or nights – you’ll have an amazing secondary source of revenue while engaging with your customers. Plan your food events strategically and ahead of time; you’ll get a decent cash flow before the event and you’ll maximise your revenue.

  1. Create your strategy. The first step is to know exactly who you want to target so you can easily decide on the type of event to host. Make sure to outline your objectives and assign responsibilities alongside costs and potential ROI. Start planning a couple of months ahead of time so you can create an amazing marketing strategy.
  2. Decide on the type of event. Plan your unique and unforgettable food event by thinking outside of the box. Researching what people are looking for around your area will also help you to know what’s in demand. Why not start with a tasting event? You can offer a limited behind the scenes look and offer your customers the chance to have input on your menu.
  3. Leading up to the event. Generate awareness and excitement on the weeks leading up to your event. Create an event on Facebook and share it on social media. Collaborate with your community and widen your network with local vendors. You can also set up pre-payment reservation for a steady cash flow to prepare the event.
  4. The event is finally here. Organise your staff and their responsibilities so everything goes smoothly – and don’t forget to keep updating social media with unique hashtags, videos, photos, and encouraging your guests to check-in to your restaurant on Facebook. Make sure to have a strategy in place to have repeat customers for a meal within the following 30 to 60 days. Why not offer special, exclusive coupons at your events?
  5. After the event. Take advantage of the momentum and buzz you created by engaging with user-generated content. Review your objectives and check if you hit them, what your ROI was, what went well and what didn’t, and start planning future events.

 

But how can you measure your event ROI?

Outlining your strategy is only one step to take on the way to event greatness – you need to successfully measure your event ROI to know whether it’s worth continuing to invest in these foodie get-togethers. Eventbrite has a handy event ROI calculator you can use.

Analysing your event data provides you with quantifiable ROI metrics, identifiable areas to improve, and audience engagement measurement. It’s vital to have tools you can turn to for success comparison across all events, so keep the following in mind:

Social media is a must-have metric in today’s world to analyse your impact and reach. We’ve mentioned unique hashtags, and no event is really complete without one! Create your event hashtag so you can track engagement on Twitter before, during, and after your event.

Create a hashtag that is easily associated with your event through memorable and short keywords related to your restaurant. Use tools such as Hashtagify.me to find the perfect hashtag to reach your audience, and Trendsmap for idea generation according to your location, business, and event. Make sure to search for your hashtag so you know yours is unique!

Use your hashtag to promote your event and track engagement through Google Alerts, Hootsuite, and Mention to see all comments in one place. You’ll gain valuable insight into what your guests thought of your event and what can be improved. Look into your social media numbers to understand your event success:

  • Track your mentions by business name and hashtag
  • Know how many people liked your event
  • See the number of impressions on people’s Facebook feeds
  • Count retweets and shares on Twitter
  • Check your follower growth

 

Use online surveys like Survey Monkey to gather attendee feedback and know exactly what your guests loved, if they enjoyed the food, how the service was, what they would like to see in future events, why people decided not to attend your event, if you matched your guests’ expectations, and other useful metrics to shape your food events in future.

Regardless of your marketing strategy objectives with food events, increasing website traffic is always something businesses strive for. And using your events to drive up your website traffic is a fantastic way to combine all aspects of your business. You can expect different results such as increases in registration to future events and table reservations, so track your website traffic through the following metrics:

  • The number of visitors leaving your website after viewing one page through your bounce rate
  • The number of your website visits through number of sessions
  • The engagement level, represented through number of visited pages and time spent on your website
  • Which devices your visitors use so you know how to target your audience
  • New traffic compared to average traffic with the percentage of new sessions
  • What channels your website traffic originates from, such as email, social media, and search engines

Know how much revenue your food event generated through measures such as comparing the number of people who registered to your event and the attendance rate in addition to the number of tickets you sold. You can improve your future event ROI through simple practices:

  • Promote your app or invest in an app for your restaurant
  • Review feedback your attendees have provided you
  • Attract potential sponsors through showcasing your positive data

3. Have an Interactive Digital Menu

Digital screens are becoming part of everyday life in more than just our homes, as paper is progressively being replaced by this technology. And for restaurants, this means better content customisation for your customers. People want a unique experience with every brand and having an interactive digital menu that allows customers to personalise their own orders is always a win.

And more: it can help to catch people’s attention and draw them into your restaurant if they see an interactive menu display on the window. You can add specials, eye-catching graphics, and make your delicious food look even more appetising. Maybe even add videos of each meal being prepared by your chefs so your customers know how much love and care goes into each meal.

Combine these digital menus with your 360° videos and VR tours – your customers will appreciate having all the information at hand before visiting. Today’s world involves a greater rate of research and being informed before visiting a location, particularly restaurants and their food, so give your customers what they want.

4. Use Geo-Targeted Facebook Ads

With geo-targeted ads, you need to drive your campaign toward your buyer personas and the customers you want to reach. These will be the people who are the most interested in your ads and not those who will simply scroll past after seeing your ad. Within location, there are four types of audience you can target:

  1. People living in your restaurant’s location.
  2. Everyone currently in your restaurant’s location
  3. People who will be travelling to your restaurant’s location
  4. People who have recently been in your restaurant’s location

In addition, consider if having a mobile geo-targeting strategy is right for your business. By using location-specific keywords in paid search ads, you can easily reach an audience searching for businesses around where your restaurant is located. This way you target people both physically in your location, and those virtually who are about to be where you’re located.

Another strategy to keep in mind is geo-conquesting, which allows you to use competitors’ traffic to generate your own. Put simply, it helps you target audiences who are already on the market looking to have a meal. This means that you target your competitors’ customers to increase brand loyalty – which is particularly effective if your restaurant is in an area with heavy competition.

You shouldn’t, however, rely too much on customer proximity. Doing so can be a shortcoming that doesn’t take all factors into account:

  • As loyal as customers can be into certain brands, they’ll only stay in certain locations for a short period of time. You want to target customers who are unhappy with their options and have a higher chance of becoming your customers. Don’t just focus on one location; instead, think about targeting where your audience works and lives.
  • Think about your customers’ point of origin on their journey to understand which stops they make along the way. This will help you target audiences with specific offline patterns and drive them toward your business.
  • Is your restaurant accessible through public transportation and parking? These factors will affect how far your customers will be willing to travel to visit you.

5. User-Generated Content is a Big Asset

Instagram, for example, is one of the social platforms where people tend to share photos of their meals.

  • Use hashtag campaigns to your advantage by encouraging customers to use a specific hashtag when sharing anything about you. This was you can both see when the posts go live and create a beautiful storyboard.
  • Customers will be enthusiastic about sharing their meal experience at your restaurant if you use their content on your website. And more: your credibility will increase, as potential customers can trust impartial opinions about how good your business is.
  • Everyone loves when a brand engages with them or share their content, so make sure to share, pin, or retweet customers’ posts. They’ll be more likely to post about your restaurant again!

People can generally relate to unpolished and honest content that tells a story of how much fun someone has had. It can be tricky to integrate all of the new trends in your marketing strategy and make your restaurant a place to visit.

At Soap Media we help you have a holistic approach to reach all of your marketing objectives – so why not get in touch with our team and start your journey today?

Written by
Marisa Garanhel
Marisa Garanhel

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