Some of the questions you may be having as a business owner or manager in the hospitality or fast food industry, may include questions like–
How am I going to get more clients patronizing the restaurant/hotel?
How am I going to get my patrons to be brand ambassadors?
What are the most effective strategies and practices I can implement immediate?
In this post we will try to assist in answering these questions.
Let’s dive right into it. Well, competition indicators in the Hospitality Industry before the pandemic included:
- A lot of corner Restaurant, B&B, and Hotel sprouts, at all corners of the cities,
- High customer demands for more and more services convenience,
- Online ordering, table bookings and food menus
- The New Generation constantly looking for new hangout places,
- An increase in the sharing trend in the hangout places
With the industry being one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and number of restaurant or hotel, or B&B sprouts almost coming to a grinding halt, health issues that now deter clients from eating out and eating from unfamiliar and fallacious/disreputable places rising, the competition in this industry has not decreased, on the contrary more that ever the competition has become intense.
Owners of restaurants and hotels have now a greater need for smarter and more aggressive marketing strategies to keep afloat and to espouse loyal patronage amidst the current socio-economic and political situation and restrictions. Since the traditional way of marketing may not be as effective and possible to effect with all the restrictions, most industries are turning to digital marketing strategies or at least should, to effectively reach their clients.
Hence the impetus to help these players to effectively market their businesses in a more effective way going forward. All hope is not lost even in this pandemic there are strategies and tips you can immediate implement as a restaurant owner to realise tremendous growth for your restaurant and get attention from growling stomachs everywhere, be it families, friends, business clients and whom so ever is your target market (millennials, the older generation, families with kids)?
NB. In this post we will use restaurant and hotel interchangeably..
1. Appealing, high quality photography.
Use appealing, high quality photography of your food and Restaurant Patrons and Staff Engagement (smiling, toasting to an occasion etc.)
As a restaurant, you’ll need to prioritize high quality photography of your menu items, patrons, staff and events etc. Having appealing, high quality photography of your food is arguably the very best way to promote your restaurant online. Visual content is in high demand online these days, and having delicious looking photos on your social medial accounts and website assuming you have a website already.
Images are the most important factors in a purchase decision! So if you want to bring in new customers, you’d better have stunning photos of your food. Consider hiring a pro but if can not afford one here are some tip on how you can use a good high pixel camera from your smart.
Here are basic techniques to apply when taking striking photos of your food (foodie photos):
1. Use natural lighting
2. Look for strong contrast
3. Embrace white space
4. Incorporate a background
5. Have a single point of interest in the photo
6. Play around with and learn your camera settings (even when using a smartphone).
Be warned though – taking really great food photos can be tougher than it looks, as many factors/variables come into play, lighting being one of the key factors. Since we have spoken about Making your Foodie Photos high priority the next step is to talk about how to use them on Social Media and your website.
2. Social Media Marketing.
We encourage you to divide your social media posting into three categories that we term:
i. Engagement Posting
ii. Value Posting
iii. Sell Pitch Posting
When posting you need to know when you are doing one or the other of the three types of posting for effective tracking/analytics and monitoring, for you to know what works best in your niche.
i. Engagement posting -ask questions or seek to interact with the audience through comparisons/split votes (ie ask your audience to comment on two different menu specials you once offered or about to offer),motivational/smart quotes, contests and giveaways (here you can use User-generated content (UGC) by hosting a photo contest by asking customers to share their favorite meal at your establishment, and share the entries on a dedicated content page (and/or share submissions across your various social networks). Consider awarding some random lucky contestants with a free meal or other prize!), reviews and testimonials (consider Yelp for reviews:-share a review that mentions a specific menu item, positive reviews create trust with potential new customers and entice people to visit your restaurant) . The goal of engagement posts, is to develop personal and intimate interaction with users and turn occasional visitors into life time patrons and ambassadors . Always remember to include a call to action (tag a friend, leave your comment, let us know which special you would prefer etc) to encourage engagement.
ii. Value Posting –One of the fundamentals to value posting is starting a blog. Starting your own blog is a great way to build your brand personality, community and share valuable information with your customers, through sharing your successes and struggles, business tips, funny stories, recipes, that will interest your customers. In your blog posts you need to link your own blogs throughout your posts and prioritize quality over quantity, give them a reason to look forward to your next post.
iii. Sell Pitch Posting– In these posts you are hard selling to your audience, promoting your restaurant by sharing positive press, directing them to sleek and functional Online Menus, your website, landing page, or directing them to contact you via email or phone.
Make posts and landing pages that describe some of the menu items you offer and include a call to action such as “visit our site to view our full menu,” “click here to reserve your table now,” or “call us today to book an event.
Show-case Your Happy Staff and Your Establishment
Show off your 5-star staff doing what they do best and the aesthetic of your establishment! Fr example seeing happy, smiling employees in a clean and highly maintained establishment will do wonders for your reputation, as customers long to be served by joyful workers in a modern environment. Showing off your pleasant employees also provides major reputation points – happy workers say a lot about a business, and fans are sure to take notice.
Sell pitch posts are grand opportunity to showcase new specials, restaurant athletics, and always-available items from your menu with beautiful product photography.
3. Integrate your Loyalty Program with Email Marketing.
Sending email subscribers preferably monthly emails such as contests, giveaways, weekly specials, discounts, upcoming events, and exclusive updates can greatly benefit your restaurant! Creating an online food app should definitely be a consideration as part of your restaurant marketing plan. Partner with online apps. Partnering with online apps encourages visitors to check out your restaurant through gamification and customer loyalty programs, which offer visitors a free purchase or discount for visiting a certain number of times.
4. Use Mobile Ads.
Restaurants are one of the best candidates for mobile ads, as users are often looking for nearby dining options while on the move. Mobile ads tend to be cheaper than desktop ads, and mobile boasts impressive conversion rates. Google Ads allows for all kinds of mobile customization and targeting options that let you get the most out of your bids. For example, you can increase your bids around lunchtime, when users are often looking for fast food on their mobile phones. Boosting your bids during the lunchtime period increases your chances for showing up for a specific query. This means you could be the first ad to show up for a “quarter chicken” search when hungry users are on the search for something to eat.
5. Monitor Your Social Media Presence.
There are many great free and paid social media management tools – a few popular free options include:
These Social Media Tools will help you manage Social Content with Ease. In most cases you can create Your Account in less than 5 Easy Steps! This will allow you to enhance your social media management, by managing multiple networks and profiles and measuring your social campaigns. You will also be able to establish the right channels to focus on, the right time for posting, through track effectiveness in real time.
Social media marketing strategies are an undeniable force in today’s world. Print and delivery menus slipped under doorways simply won’t cut it anymore in this digital world. Why not shift some of that budget to what is working now.
In this post we have only spoken of five (5) undeniably critical strategies to get you started, however there are more strategies and tactics that can get you ahead under our digital marketing strategies and tactics wing, so look forward to our next post and feel free to share, comment and contact us for more tips and strategies.