Time-Tested Agency Strategies For Marketing Your Restaurant Online
In the digital age, the way we market our businesses is vastly different from the way it was done a century, or even a decade ago. As technology continues to level the playing field, and social and cultural trends play an increasingly dominant role in the marketplace, it can be hard to know which of the latest tactics to adopt and which might be obsolete by the end of the year.
But underlying all the fads and technological influences, there are – and always have been – some sound principles behind the best marketing strategies. Many of these have stood the test of time and are based on aspects that remain constant, such as human nature, the psychology of choice, and visibility.
To help you build these principles into a successful restaurant marketing plan, here are three time-tested strategies for connecting with customers, and some 21st-century ways to use them in marketing your restaurant business online.
Humans may be richly diverse, but there are many aspects of human nature that have remained constant throughout history. One such principle is the human need to feel valued. Almost every single person cares – and cares deeply – about being valued by others. We are wired as relationship-builders and we can’t resist the people, places and experiences that make us feel like we belong.
This principle is alive and well in the 21st century, as companies find increasingly innovative ways to reach and connect with their target audience in meaningful ways. A way to include this principle in marketing your restaurant is to pay special attention to building relationships, both with your existing clientele and your potential customers.
Of the popular modern strategies that harness this age-old principle, the most enduring is email marketing. Regular, on-going communication and trust-building is a tried-and-true way to build relationships, and an email marketing strategy that nurtures these connections with your ideal customers can reap dividends over time.
Get in front of the right people at the right time
You may have the best restaurant in the world, but if no-one knows about it, it will remain empty. Part of your job as a business owner is to help the people who will love your restaurant to know it exists. Advertising has been the pre-eminent way to get your business in front of the right people at the right time for over a hundred years. And while modern advertising may look vastly different to the playbills and posters of old, the principle is as effective as ever.
In the Information Age, vast numbers of ‘the right people’ – the customers who will love your restaurant – are online, actively searching for places to eat. One of the most powerful ways to get in front of these hungry eyes is to use Google Adwords, or Pay Per Click (PPC).
Knowing when, where and how your customers are searching may take a degree of experimentation or trial and error, though thankfully there are specialists that know the latest tricks and trends. But mastering the age-old principle of visibility can make a world of difference to the success of your restaurant business.
An enduring principle in marketing is the idea of reciprocity. When people receive something, they naturally feel inclined to give back. This trait appears to be inherent in our psychology and it’s a principle that can help to keep your restaurant customers coming back time and time again.
By giving extra value or benefit to your customers, you encourage loyalty. When you provide a service above and beyond what’s expected, people want to return the gesture by supporting your business and – the holy grail of marketing – spreading the word.
One way to encourage loyalty online is to connect with your audience directly via social media. Modern social networks and chat features allow you to provide fast responses, appreciation, stories, entertainment or solutions – in real-time with real humans. This level of service is a powerful way to give to your customers in a way that inspires that all-important loyalty and connection.
While these modern takes on marketing principles may alter over time, the underlying ideas are likely to be as effective in the future as they have been in the past. And whatever technological or social changes lay ahead, employing sound, time-tested marketing principles that address deep human needs and traits are likely to be the most enduring winners, for businesses large and small.