Restaurant Digital Marketing Strategies to Ditch for success this Year
From sharing food photos to researching the best places to eat nearby, restaurant guests of all ages are increasingly connected to the Internet.
Restaurant owners hoping for success in today’s digital business world must adopt a smart restaurant digital marketing strategy.
While there is no formula for overnight success, eliminating certain mindsets can lead restaurant owners to greater digital marketing victories.
Here are 6 restaurant digital marketing habits we recommend restaurant owners ditch in 2017:
1. Putting all the focus on the big picture
This one might seem counter-intuitive. Not obsessing about long-term marketing goals allows you to focus more on daily activities. Taking it “one day at a time” helps you lay the groundwork required for big-picture success.
Form a daily routine that includes checking your social profiles, responding to guest feedback, and actively seeking out new fans. Go ahead and set big-picture marketing goals, such as increasing awareness of your restaurant or enticing regulars to visit more often. However, don’t get stuck trying to reach the long-term goals every day.
2. Underestimating the power of networking
As a restaurant owner, if you don’t network with your suppliers, guests and the community, you miss out on a huge marketing opportunity. Part of the reason why digital marketing is effective is it allows businesses to reach a global audience instantly.
Forming relationships with potential customers and other businesses online is one of the easiest ways to build brand recognition and add value to your reputation. One of the keys to successful networking online is to give more than you take (in terms of praising others, sharing content and thanking people and businesses for what they do). But don’t just make a bunch of random connections and stop there—actually, form deeper relationships with your most loyal fans and take the time to stay in touch.
3. Trying to do it all
Trying to do everything yourself is a bad habit of which many restaurant owners are guilty.
It’s understandable to want to have your hand in every aspect of your business at all times. But trying to perform all your restaurant digital marketing functions yourself is unrealistic, and may do your brand more harm than good.
As a business owner, you often have higher-level tasks to perform. Delegating digital marketing functions to people who can do those jobs more efficiently ensures the best possible outcome for your business and your guests.
Depending on your budget, you may wish to hire a professional to manage certain aspects of your restaurant marketing. Digital marketing automation is a great solution for busy restaurant owners, because automation saves time and is cost-effective.
4. Knowing little to nothing about the guest
Knowing your customer is one of the most basic principles of marketing. Yet many restaurants run promotions and even paid advertisements without fully understanding their target market.
Not capturing and analyzing guest information is a habit that absolutely has to go. Restaurant owners must know who their guests are and what they want to get out of their dining experience in order to turn them into loyal regulars.
Intelligent guest Wi-Fi is a great way to collect valuable customer data so you can better focus your marketing efforts. The more feedback you get from guest satisfaction surveys, social media engagement and loyalty programs, the better you can serve your guests on those channels.
5. Not measuring marketing results
It’s a bad habit to send out marketing messages without fully understanding your target audience. But it’s even worse to market to guests and ignore the resulting data! You need to look at the results of your efforts in order to see what activities are most effective and which ones should be adjusted for better success.
Consider testing variables such as the topics you discuss in your digital marketing, lengths of the messages you send and post, and the day/time you try to reach your audience.
If you get a lot of engagement on Friday afternoons but almost none on Monday mornings, then adjust your focus and measure the results again.
It’s important to remember this takes time.
The amazing (and frustrating) thing about digital marketing is there’s no tried and true formula guaranteed to deliver results.
However, one thing is certain. It’s impossible to know how well or poorly your digital marketing plan performs if you don’t compare the results to any previous data. Experiment and measure the resulting data as often as you can.
6. Posting content that doesn’t provide value
Another common mistake is creating a bunch of social media accounts and posting content just for the sake of it. Posting useless content can actually lower guest engagement and weaken your brand image.
The vast majority of your content should provide value to your audience in one of the following ways:
A good restaurant digital marketing rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. Only 20% of your content should be self-promoting. The remaining 80% should provide value in one of the ways listed above.
One final thought: Never try to “hard sell” on social media. Instead, remember social media is an extension of your dining room–just another place to connect and engage with your guests.