The 8 Essential Restaurant Marketing Tips You Need to Be Using

The 8 Restaurant Marketing Tips You Need to Be Using

As a restaurant owner, you'd think serving good food would be your bread and butter. (pun intended)

However, today's customer is savvy and busy. Restaurants need to rely on more than just good food to keep customer loyalty.

But marketing often seems hard, confusing and time-consuming.

That's why we created this list of the 8 essential restaurant marketing tips you need to be using.

To start with, a successful restaurant marketing campaign should contain these 3 strategies:

  • Dine-In Presence
  • Digital Presence
  • Offline Presence

1. A Good Restaurant Doesn't Just Mean Quality Food

If your food isn't good, no one will eat there. This isn't news.

However, there's more to restaurant marketing than just good food.

Over 80% of diners will view an online menu before they dine out.

That's why you need to:

  • Redesign your menu to keep it looking fresh
  • Ensure all menu items are current and correctly listed

59% of diners will also view online photos of your restaurant before they dine out.

Get a decent photographer to take photos.

But a meal is not just about the food, it's also about the experience.

So remember to also photograph:

  • Your Staff: That way potential diners feel they already know them before walking through your doors.
  • Loyal Customers: People want to see others are enjoying being and eating at your restaurant. Show them you can deliver by photographing your favorite customers.
  • Special Events: Birthdays, office parties, wine tastings all go to show that your restaurant has more to offer than just good food.

Your staff can also either make or break an in-house restaurant experience.

Train your staff properly. Not just on how to do their jobs, but how to effectively provide the experience you want all your diners to have. Proper training will ensure repeat customers and less turnover with your staff.

 

2. Create a Dine-In Marketing Campaign

Food is an experience. Often an experience shared with friends and family.

Impress one person and you often find many others following in their wake.

Here are some easy-to-implement marketing ideas for retaining customer loyalty:

  • Birthday Promotions: A free meal to the person celebrating their birthday can give back in spades. Happy customers talk.
  • Free Samples: Having a staff member hand out free samples on the street can bring in a ton of foot traffic.
  • Customer Loyal Program: If you'd like customers to return, offer discounts to let them know you appreciate their business.
  • Extend or Offer a Happy Hour: Get people in the door early for drinks and then have them stay for dinner. In the colder months, extend your happy hour to lure people out of their homes.
  • Offer Seasonal Drinks: Whether it's a 4th of July cocktail or a new spiked twist on hot chocolate, specialty drinks are always a great way to get new people in the door and regulars coming back to try new things.

3. E-commerce Marketing

Most restaurant owners can't rely solely on foot traffic anymore.

Too many people are searching online instead.

You need to be found easily online.

Here are some easy and cost-effective ways to create an online presence:

  • Moz.com: A great site for ensuring your restaurant is found by all the locals on all the local search engines.
  • Blog: Blogging is a great way to get people talking about you online. Try these following topics: Feature loyal customers, share a story about an employee, share recipes, invite a guest blogger to write for you.
  • Google Toolbox: Anyone marketing online needs to use these tools. They help you locate and correct errors and perfect your online marketing methods.
  • SEO: It is imperative you use the right keywords in all your marketing campaigns. Whether it's your blog, website or menu, keywords are the best strategy for success.

4. Social Media Marketing

People talk. Especially online. Social media is here and it's not going away.

It's also a great place for a restaurant to effectively and easily market their business.

  • Set Up Profiles: Look for the social media sites most often visited by your customers- try Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and Instagram.
  • Create a Strategy: It's important to post at regular intervals and set up a campaign so there is new content people shared on a regular basis. This keeps people informed, entertained and your restaurant on their brain.
  • Videos: This medium is hugely popular right now. Try creating a short video around an event or interviewing happy customers to post online.
  • Social Media Buttons: Ensure your website has social media buttons so it's easy for more people to find and follow you on social media.
  • Keep Up With Reviews: People talk when they're happy. They talk a LOT more when they're unhappy. It doesn't take much to get a bad review these days, either. Make sure you're monitoring online chatter about your business and handling any bad reviews ASAP.

5. Offline Marketing

The Internet helps but it isn't everything.

Here's how restaurants have been effectively marketing since the Stone Age:

  • Partnering with another Brand: Two is always better than one. Especially when you can utilize one another's loyal customers. Try partnering with a local charity, your favorite alcohol or food distributor or business to help bring in extra business.
  • Make Your Signs Count: Make sure that your outdoor signs are easy to see and read. Put smaller signs in front of your restaurant to attract passersby.
  • Restaurant Week: January and February tend to be slow restaurant months. This week was designed to get people out of their homes and into your restaurant.

6. E-Mail Newsletter

Newsletters are huge right now.

They're quick. They're easy. And they're versatile.

There are also tons of online tools like MailChimp that help you easily create and send newsletters.

They're also an inexpensive marketing tool.

Here are some topics any restaurant can use:

  • Food & Drink Promotions
  • Loyal Customers Sharing an Experience
  • Share Recipes
  • Promote Events

7. Use Technology

Technology will only increase the dining experience and help a restaurant owner make the most of their marketing campaigns.

Here are a few ways to get started.

  • Create Your Own App- Keep your loyal customers up-to-date with specials, events, and promotions.
  • Utilize Snapchat GeoFilters - A great way for mobile users to find you when they're in your neighborhood.
  • Deal Sites - Offering coupons and discounts help grow brand recognition and customer loyalty.
  • Online Ordering - Food deliveries are growing and can become a huge part of your business.

8. Be Socially Aware

Sustainability is quickly becoming a new trend.

Restaurants are poised to directly benefit from this trend.

Here are just a few ways you can help the environment and attract loyal customers:

  • Cook What's in Season
  • Buy Locally and in Bulk
  • Manage Your Waste

There are many ways to successfully market your restaurant.

But successful marketing takes time and an effective strategy. If you aren't sure where to start or realize a professional should take over, contact us and we'll gladly help.

Need help getting your restaurant marketing above the noise in 2017?

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Dallas Marketing Facebook vs YouTube video ads

Video Marketing: Facebook vs YouTube

Video marketing is scary. Marketers' tunnel-vision gets them stuck on production costs and time-consuming edits and finding talent. But the rise of Snapchat and the subsequent appreciation of in-the-moment marketing and realistic, transparent content, has lowered the bar for acceptable video marketing. That is, it doesn't need to feel like polished, brand-push marketing. It just needs to feel authentic.

But let's set aside what to shoot for now, and talk platforms. Everyone knows YouTube. Everyone knows Facebook. But not many know the best ways to publish videos on each.

YouTube Video Marketing Strategy

Treat YouTube as your video library, because no one's going to find your videos organically.

Okay, slight hyperbole - I'm sure someone will stumble upon your videos within YouTube itself. But most of your views will come from links you post on social media, other people sharing those posts, etc. Sure, YouTube has subscribers, but not many brands garner a large following, and the payoff of that fan base isn't as lucrative as other social platforms. Users tend to browse for entertainment, not your brand's video marketing.

Use your YouTube channel as a place to save all your promotional and informational videos. Make playlists to organize similar content. Feature a video on your page that auto-plays if someone clicks your channel name. These things don't have major impact, but a backlog of video content (just like blog and social posts) implies a certain level of expertise in, and attention to your industry. Plus it's a great internal directory to have all your videos handy and linkable.

The biggest opportunity in YouTube is the low cost of video ads.

Yes, those annoying pre-roll ads you wait to skip before watching Kanye's latest PR stunt... those things can be dirt cheap. We've paid as little as 14 cents(!) per view. And don't worry, you only pay if a certain length is actually watched. A word to the wise: Don't just count on an existing video to perform well as an ad. Those first five seconds need to pack in a visual stimulant, brand identification, product or service offering, and maybe even a call-to-action.

Facebook Video Marketing Strategy

Don't paste YouTube links. Post videos directly onto Facebook.

Why?

Auto-play is king.

Pasting a link to your YouTube video merely shows the thumbnail of the video. Posting the same video natively to Facebook kicks off the video as soon as someone scrolls to it. Sure, the sound won't play unless they actually click on it, but that's why you've put subtitles on the video, right? (RIGHT?!) The motion of the post practically guarantees significantly higher engagement compared to a mere video thumbnail.

Expand the lifetime of longer content by splicing it into smaller clips. Five to 30 second clips (with subtitles) of previously-posted videos is a great tactic to increase reach with minimal effort. Post a different clip every few days, or even weeks down the line, and then link to the full video. Keep that thing alive by sprinkling those little punches of value.

Facebook Video Advertising

Video marketing ads work the same way as any other boosted post on Facebook's marketing platform. That is, the videos don't run before other people's videos like they do on YouTube. Instead, it shows up in users' feeds just like other sponsored posts; it just has a video attached to it.

Although not as cheap (probably) as YouTube, they're still very reasonably priced if you're not in an extremely saturated market. A "view" is counted at the 10-second mark.

The great part about video marketing on Facebook is the greater attention to the text of the post. Whereas your description on YouTube probably won't be seen, and it doesn't make sense to keep updating it with promo codes, specials, etc., the text in your Facebook post will almost always be read when your video is watched. Plus, with the short clip method mentioned above, you can continually post and promote content from the same video, with evolving or revolving calls-to-action.

Don't Be Lazy. Seriously.

YouTube is not your end-all be-all solution for video marketing. But its advertising can provide some high value for low costs. Organic (free) views will probably have to be earned or purchased, as even your subscribers likely won't know you've posted something new.

Facebook rewards native video posts with auto-play, and boosting video posts allows you to be more engaging with supporting text. Plus, your existing followers are more likely to engage and share quality content. It makes more sense on this platform to splice up and re-use video content.

Remember, don't get too caught up producing a major, perfectly polished piece. People like realism. They appreciate transparency.

Spend your time appropriately to get the most out of every video post by being respectful to and aware of the platforms on which you're publishing. Video marketing, in many -- especially local -- industries, is currently one of the biggest marketing opportunities to set yourself apart from competition. Do it better.

Need help with producing or promoting your video marketing?

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Twitter for small businesses Dallas

Is Twitter Dying?

Is Twitter Dying? No.

Twitter's not dying, but it might be choking.

This isn't a new question by any means, but in the past 12-18 months it's been less will it? and more when will it? So let's get back to the real discussion.

Twitter's not dying, and your company needs to be actively engaged on the platform.

However, being actively engaged on Twitter looks VERY different than Facebook or any other platform. Everywhere else, it's about pushing content, and customer interaction is secondary (whether you want to admit it or not). You'll post a new article or promotion, always sort of a "look at us!" even if it's not directly about your brand.

Utilizing Twitter as a Business

Twitter has an attention problem. A nonstop stream from the fire-hose of its 310 million active users. Don't add to it.

Your tweet about a blog post isn't going to be seen. A tweet with a call-to-action isn't going to get any traction.

Twitter is your conversation platform. Your tweets should be one-to-one interactions with a few types of people:

  1. Users talking about your brand/product/service
  2. Users to whom you can add value with information
  3. [If applicable] Users in your city talking about goings on in the area

Number one is of course most important. You should be responding to @ mentions, searching for your brand name to thwart complaints, and thanking people who are saying positive things.

Number two mustn't be confused with self-promotion. You can offer up information or assistance in ways that don't involve pushing them toward your site. Hell, it doesn't even have to be related to your industry! Exposure is exposure. ESPECIALLY if you're selling a product -- you never know what a random click to your profile could lead a person to buy.

Lastly, local businesses can take this a step further. By using twitter.com/search, you can see tweets being posted in your city. Couple the search with a keyword (maybe an event is going on, or perhaps you want to see who's talking about you nearby), and you have a direct list of people to interact with in a contextual manner.

Twitter is your chat tool

In any capacity, just remember: you're there to add value in a conversational sense. No pushing to buy, no unwelcome self-promotion. The return will come with sincere interactions over time.

If you must, think of Twitter as your free customer service chat tool. It's an unmatched source of live-streamed thoughts and interactions, and it's the closest thing to a real conversation you can possibly have with non-customers. Take advantage of it!

Day dream about Twitter dying?

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Dallas digital marketing agency reddit advertising

Reddit Marketing: Interacting In A Scary, Mean, Intimidating Forum.

I hear the horror stories from marketers. Ones who finally succumbed to the curiosity after seeing countless mainstream media pieces attribute their Reddit sources. After hearing "Oh yeah I saw that on Reddit yesterday" one too many times upon showing someone a Facebook post they saw that morning.

They jump in, poke around a bit, and then make the biggest mistake since being convinced by Justin Timberlake to re-join Myspace.

They post.

The horror, OH THE HORROR when the comments start dripping in. The hate steams out of their screen. The embarrassment shakes their mouse hand all the way to the Delete Post button.

They lean back in their chair, wondering what went wrong. Wondering why their oh-so-cool post about their brand just got stomped on and lit on fire.

And they never. Go back. Again.

Reddit Bootcamp For Marketers

Reddit is a beast to be tamed only with time.

It's a marriage, not a fling. A commitment needing more than the occasional flirt at the copy machine.

Value is the name of the game here. No pitching or pretending or parading your brand. Reddit users will find you out, call you out, and burn you at the stake.

Here's what you need to do.

Spend weeks (months) in relevant subreddits. The more specific niche subreddits you can find, the better. By reading the types of posts that get upvotes and the type of interactions in the comments, the personality of each subreddit will begin to sink in. You'll start to understand these communities you've chosen. Just don't make the mistake of assuming all subreddits harbor similar interactions. The subreddit /r/smallbusiness has a significantly different tone in the comments section than /r/funny.

As I mentioned, the key to a brand's Reddit content is adding value. Your comments should answer a question, or provide advice. After lurking for a while, a good amount of time needs to be spent in the trenches of the comments sections. Heck, even click on the "new" tab along the top. These may be lower quality submissions, but sometimes you'll be the first to comment on a post that ends up getting upvoted to the top of the subreddit.

Why bother with all these low-visibility comments here and there?

You're building up your profile's backlog of interactions.

That's important because once you actually submit a piece of content yourself, users will often click into your profile to look at your history. If they see you're a contributing member, they're more likely to trust you and actually take a look at what you're serving. The flipside is getting called out as an account that was created just for the sake of posting and tooting their own horn. These users get called out as spam and quickly tank.

Okay, so weeks or months have passed and you're ready to submit your own post.

So, what should it be?

Again, something that adds value.

Don't think that just because you've added to discussions and entered your two cents time and time again, that you've earned some right to just say "hey come check out our website!" No. You will never be that important on Reddit, sorry.

Based on everything you've seen posted, and the type of content you've watched succeed on a specific subreddit, you should ideally create some content that holds the same traits, but adds new information or perspectives.

For example, yesterday I clicked on a relatively high post in one of my favorite subreddits, despite rolling my eyes at the title.

"100 Growth Hack Tricks" something something. Ugh, I'm so over that phrase. But I clicked. Because it's Reddit.

Shit, they were great tricks! Most of them I had never seen before, and felt really unique and valuable. I saved the post.

The best part? The submitter showed 50 of them in his Reddit post, and then provided a link to the remaining 50 and asked, "Did we miss any?" Of course the link took us to a blog post on his company's page.

The comments section consisted of compliments on the list, discussing specific tricks (#34 is interesting, etc.), and even evolving into a discussion about the person's services!

An ideal result, to say the least. All because he/she took a stale topic and provided new, interesting content around it.

So, what did we learn about Reddit today?

  • Create your account asap - users will look to see how long you've been around
  • Take time to lurk in the subreddits that relate to your brand or services. Here's the subreddit search tool. Stay away from the large default subreddits; anything you do will get lost in the noise
  • Start commenting on posts once you feel comfortable and understand the vibe of that specific community. Here's the guide to formatting your posts - VERY important to not do stupid things like pasting in full URLs in the body of the post.
  • Once you've built up a decent history of value-add comments, build that perfect piece of content based on what you've seen work, and be prepared to engage with users in the comments section. Never get defensive, be open to constructive criticism, and don't try to pretend that you don't represent the brand. Reddit always finds out. Always.
  • Keep commenting. You'll probably discover that this is more effective than actually posting your own stuff. At some point you'll be able to sneak in things like "Hey actually, I do that professionally and we do x, y, and z" and suddenly that person will be paying you to do work for them, or buying your product.

Paid advertising on Reddit is a whole different beast, and will be covered in a future post.

Just remember, it's all about small ball. You're not going to go viral. Reddit is about one interaction at a time, showing your expertise in a collaborative manner in a way that adds value to the topic at hand.

You'll love it if you treat it right. Cue Marvin Gaye.

Need help with your Reddit marketing?

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