The competition among restaurants is fierce, and you’ll need to give your all to be successful.

When considering starting a marketing campaign, it’s first essential to understand your target audience. Are you marketing to young millennials or families with kids? Keep in mind how different groups respond to different advertising. By understanding your audience, you can ensure your brand message is heard clearly by your target customers, and you are spending your marketing resources wisely.

We’re helping you out with 5 restaurant marketing ideas and strategies that promise to help you improve your business and get attention from growling stomachs everywhere!

  1. Send email marketing that actually works (i.e., personalized and automated)

Almost all articles about restaurant marketing suggest sending an ’email newsletter’ as a way to get more customers. But as email marketing is used by pretty much every company under the sun, just sending out a general email once a month will usually have no impact.

Email is still a great marketing channel if you know how to use it – just remember you are competing with almost all of the biggest brands in the world for attention in people’s inboxes.

So how do stand out from the crowd? By sending email that is targeted to the recipient based on their history with your restaurant.

What would you send to someone who has only dined with your once in the past 3 months compared to someone who has come in once a week?

By using your customer data and combining it with email marketing automation you can create email marketing that is relevant to customers rather than just ‘spraying and praying

  1. Focus on customer loyalty

Loyalty – getting customers to come back again and again should always be one of the main parts of restaurant marketing.

Loyal customers cost the least in marketing to get them to come back, and are also more likely to tell their friends. i.e., They are great for word-of-mouth.

Loyalty often results from simply having an awesome dining experience – great food, enjoyable interior, perception of value from the customer etc.

But you can also actively encourage loyalty through loyalty programs and reward schemes for repeat customers. You can administer the whole thing in house or team up with an app provider that deals specifically with loyalty.

Upscale restaurants can focus on free upgrades to the dining experience like free champagne or dessert. More casual restaurants might want to just straight up offer a discount to loyal guests.

  1. Foodie Photos

If you’ve ever logged onto Instagram, you’ll understand that food porn is alive and well.

Arguably the very best way to promote your restaurant online is with high-quality, drool-inducing photos. Visual content is in high demand online these days, and having delicious looking photos on your website and across various social media outlets is essential for drawing hungry eyes.

Consider hiring a pro to take some top-notch photographs, or try it DIY style with your smartphone. Be warned though – taking really great food photos can be tougher than it looks, as lighting is often a key factor.

  1. Geo-targeted Ads

For most restaurants, local is the name of the game. Most folks are looking for good eats close to home, and you’ll get the most value out of your online marketing efforts by investing primarily in geo-targeted ads. Geo-targeting ads help you save money, ensuring that only users in certain cities or within a specific radius see your ads (eliminating non-relevant clicks, which can cost you big ad bucks).

Many online advertising services, from Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, offer geo-targeting ad options (at no extra cost). Be sure to take advantage of these handy targeting features to get your best ads in front of your best customers.

  1. Be an Insta-Ham

Having a strong Instagram presence is another semi-obvious (but too important to ignore) restaurant marketing tip. Use Instagram to promote your business’ best visual content.

Show off your storefront, get up close with your top dishes, and use this social media main stage as a place to play around with your brand identity. For example, an all-natural health food store might try snapping pics of people kayaking, cooking, farming, or other activities you think your fan base will enjoy.

Also be sure to have some fun with hashtags – whether jumping on the hype of existing popular Twitter hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday or inventing your own, hashtags are a great way to have some fun with fans.

Now Put It All Together

One of the most important creative restaurant marketing ideas we can give you is to stay flexible! Sometimes tactics you use might not work.

Don’t get stuck on one idea. If something isn’t working, change it.

There are so many creative restaurant marketing ideas out there that you can utilize for your marketing campaigns.

What other creative restaurant marketing ideas can you come up with? Let us know in the comments!


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