Among the top challenges faced by restaurant owners is marketing. Without the proper advertising and promotions, you can bet you’ll have a hard time earning the profits you want from your food services.
Sometimes, a great location is enough to keep people walking through your doors. But, what if it isn’t? Can you still run a successful restaurant? The answer is yes. Here’s how you can drive foot traffic to your business with traditional and modern marketing, no matter where you’re located.
Invest in a great outdoor sign for visibility.
I hadn’t seen a friend of mine for over six years when I ran into her out shopping last week. While we were catching it up, I asked her where her new restaurant was located. I was shocked when she explained that it was less than a block from where I currently live.
The next morning, I drove to meet her for an espresso and realized that I have been passing her cafe every single day, and hadn’t noticed. It wasn’t until I was directly in front of the building that I could see her sign — butted up next to the building rather than close to the street where people can see it. An appealing, visible sign is crucial to restaurant foot traffic.
35% of local customers know about a business because they saw it while passing by. As a restaurant owner, it’s your duty to ensure that customers can see you from the street, sidewalk, or wherever your traffic will be coming from. So, if you haven’t already done so, invest in a sign that people will notice.
For restaurants and cafes, depending on the risk of theft, a simple sandwich board, displaying your specials can be an inexpensive and effective way to draw attention to your doors.
Create a winning mobile marketing strategy.
It is predicted that mobile advertising will account for 72% of digital ad spending by the year 2019. Consumers are using their phones more and more.
You are going to see strides in your success levels as you master the various facets of mobile marketing. Here are the basic elements you will need to make your restaurant mobile friendly and appeal to your market:
People are going to frequent your competitor’s restaurant if your website isn’t easy to navigate. 39% of people will move away from a website, and onto the next, if images don’t load or take too long to load. Build a responsive and fast website so that you’re ready for mobile viewers.
Text Message Platform
Give people incentive to come in. Use the power of time-sensitive exclusive deals: send texts with a limited time offer to guests who opted in to make them visit your place again and enhance their customer experience. Try event-based messaging to make the most out of upcoming holidays or customers’ birthdays. This doesn’t even have to be a discount or coupon-based offer, which can potentially degrade your brand. Limited availability menu items, special events, or the chance to earn rewards can be just as enticing.
Branded Mobile App
You want your regulars to have something special. Consumers spend 90% of their time on the phone in apps rather than mobile web. Leverage this to your advantage and create a branded app for your restaurant. Also, you can use geo-targeted push notifications to attract passers-by. (Just keep in mind, app development is a tall expense for a restaurant not supporting multiple locations. If you’ve already built a responsive website, this may be an expense worth skipping.)
Mobile Advertising Budget
Not all online ads are the same. Advertise in other companies’ apps with mobile advertising to get even more visibility. Don’t forget about Facebook ads – with enormous targeting options they can be a great tool to drive visitors.
Leverage Google local search features.
Everyone raves about social media, and we begin to believe that it is the king of online visibility. As a restaurant owner, though, it may be a good idea to re-think that notion. According to a case study published by confluentforms, it is local search that has immense impact on local business, specifically restaurants.
They found that a restaurant brand was able to rock their online traffic reports with a Google local listing. In the span of 30 days, their local listing alone generated:
- 42,217 times in search views
- 7,350 clicks to the website
- 1,240 clicks for driving directions
- 770 phone calls
If those numbers don’t entice, nothing will.
Google local advertising has evolved since then. Now, 88% of consumers who search for a local type of business are likely to visit that business within 24 hours. By being visible in search engines, your restaurant instantly increases the odds of serving more patrons and making more money.
When you want to drive more traffic through your restaurant, start by making sure your signs are set up to make you visible. Then, come up with a mobile marketing plan that includes the basic elements that create an all-encompassing strategy for smartphone and tablet users. Finally, make sure your business is featured in the local search results on Google and other search engines.
Want to dive deeper into how to drive traffic through your doors? Download Rewards Network’s free ebook on “How to Get the Best Results from Your Restaurant Advertising”:
Alexa Lemzy is the customer service manager and blog editor at TextMagic. She is constantly monitoring trends and developments in customer service, mobile marketing, and business communications fields. You can drop her a line on Twitter