Summer is finally here, and new restaurant marketing ideas are in-demand! Are you ready to measure what drives the most business to your door? For restaurants that want to drive more reservations, carryout orders, gift card purchases and merchandise sales, you will need more than just free chips and salsa.
Have you considered some alternative ways to turn up engagement? No matter your budget or resources it’s possible to maximize your marketing efforts. We present to you, the top three restaurant marketing ideas for 2019.
Send Fun Email Campaigns
The most effective marketing channel remains the same, email marketing. With an average ROI of $44 for every $1 invested it clearly deserves to be included in any business plan. When you email market properly it can be an effective restaurant marketing idea because your subscribers have opted to receive a business message from you in their inbox.
Unlike social media posts that can get lost in the timeline sea, your customer will feel an actual vibration or hear a notification sound when your email hits their inbox. As a result, the chance your message is read soars, and if you sent a creative and engaging email campaign, you’ll likely inspire them to head over to your restaurant.
Some of the basic ideas to start with is to promote your signature drinks, frozen cocktails or even milkshakes. Try using a subject line like “Chill Out this Summer with a Frozen Cocktail/Milkshake.” Other email ideas are to send a weekly specials email, with daily meal deals or a limited-time special dish. Using a subject line such as, “Celebrate Taco Tuesday on a Wednesday!” can get customers excited for a good deal.
Once you have made your decision on the idea for your email campaign, make sure you give your readers a way to make a reservation or call for info. You also want to add clear, high-quality images of your dishes, drink, or dining area to entice them even further. Before sending out the email, be sure to test the email internally to check for any errors or misspellings, and make sure it looks good and works properly on smartphones and mobile devices.
Plan Fun, Interactive, Events!
With summer in mind, creating a fun experience for your guests enables you to provide a positive memory and potentially turn them into your own team of word-of-mouth marketers. Happy customers share photos and videos and post them online for all of their friends and family to see. Assuming they have a positive experience, they’ll tell everyone about their fun time at your restaurant and suggest that they, too, attend one of your upcoming events. With abilities to tag their location and answer questions about your business for others to see, the opportunity is remarkable.
Consider an interactive cooking class, or date night make-your-own-dessert night, where your chef teaches couples how to prepare a delicious dessert for two. If your team can come up with dishes that don’t require substantial time to prep, you might even be able to fit a few cooking classes in one evening — one at 6 p.m. and another at 9 p.m. or during the day on the weekends.
To encourage your participants to share their experience, be sure to have a employee around to take photos and videos of them on their phones. You want to get the most out of this restaurant marketing idea, so plan out the background, so the photos show your branding, or merchandise.
Summer Contests or Giveaways
A solid social media contest can deliver more than just likes and shares: It can fill your seats with hungry guests. To start there are several choices — from a contest where you ask your patrons to choose a caption to a video or funny image. You can also organize a simple sweepstakes to giveaway a free menu item or dinner party. A general contest can be very successful as well, such as offering all your customers a free appetizer, dessert, or gift card when they post a photo on Facebook or Instagram of themselves enjoying your food.
To rally your fans and followers around your contest, use a hashtag that is relevant to your restaurant and the contest itself. Be sure to share your hashtag on all your promotional material, social channels and website to build the excitement.
There are so many restaurant marketing ideas to choose from, finding one that works for you will take some time. The real reward is to have diners that are involved and engaged with your restaurant. This will drive more orders this summer and build positive buzz for the fall. Be certain you have the time and resources to execute, and make sure to snap tons of photos and videos to get the most juice for your squeeze.
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Miguel is a digital marketing consultant and marketing coordinator for various global industries, including hospitality and restaurant software. Born in southern California and raised in Chicago, he’s an avid promoter of using cloud-based technologies and AI marketing integrations in order to upgrade the user experience.