With hundreds of thousands of restaurants across the United States, diners have no shortage of options for what to eat or where to order. That’s why restaurant marketing is so important.
But modern restaurant marketing is more than creating ads or maintaining a social media page. It requires restaurateurs to step out of their comfort zones, test new tactics, and scale to move the needle.
The first step in that process is to explore new strategies and decide what to test. Here are eight restaurant marketing strategies to try in 2022.
Marketing Strategy for Restaurant
Redesign Your Website
More than 75% of diners visit a restaurant’s website before deciding where to dine. They may search for a restaurant specifically, search for restaurants in their area, or get there through referral links – but no matter how they arrive, the restaurant needs to make a strong impression.
The design should be compelling and accurate to the brand. Content should tell a story and convey relevant information. And the user experience should make it easy for diners to navigate to pages — especially pages with revenue-driving features like direct online ordering.
Invest in Email Marketing
The primary advantage of direct online ordering is that restaurants avoid third-party commission fees. A secondary benefit – almost as important – is that restaurants capture restaurant marketing information such as email addresses.
As direct online ordering becomes more popular, it presents a valuable opportunity for restaurants to expand their email marketing efforts. New technologies make this easier than ever.
Create a Digital Loyalty Program
Restaurants should focus their marketing on more than just prospective customers. They should also market to past customers. The higher the restaurant’s lifetime customer value (LCV), the fewer customers it needs to make a profit.
Studies show that diners pay 92% more when they join a restaurant’s loyalty program, and new tools are making it easier than ever for restaurants to start one. With the right digital loyalty software, they can send past diners emails with incentives for earning points and unlocking offers. It’s a perfect extension of their email strategy.
Lean Into Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Sometimes, a restaurant’s customers are its best marketing channel. After all, 86% of consumers trust word-of-mouth marketing.
At its core, word-of-mouth marketing requires a great guest experience, which is quite different from other marketing tactics. This is especially important in the age of social media, as consumers are more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one.
Leverage New Social Networks & Features
It wasn’t that long ago that Instagram was new, and restaurants doubted its value. Now, it is accepted as an important part of restaurant marketing strategy.
TikTok is poised to follow in Instagram’s footsteps, and restaurants would be wise to take it seriously. It exploded during the pandemic, surpassing 1 billion users in less time than Facebook and Instagram did. Success requires a true video content strategy, but when you have something like Boston Brewery Night Shift, the organic reach is unmatched.
Develop a Review Response Strategy
Responding to reviews isn’t much fun — especially when they’re negative. However, a thorough repeat response strategy can prevent a restaurant from losing customers before they have a chance to engage with them. Because if someone is searching for a restaurant on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or TripAdvisor, one bad review can be enough to cause uncertainty.
Embrace the Community
There are countless people in the restaurant area that the restaurant does not serve. Direct mail, local PR, and traffic ads can help bridge that gap, but sponsorships are an overlooked tactic – especially as the world cries out for more in-person interaction.
Whether it’s a local school, sports, or charity event, restaurants can position themselves as an integral and supportive part of their community through sponsorship.
Repurpose User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) combines elements of social media marketing and word-of-mouth marketing. This practice turns fans into marketers of the restaurant by sharing their photos, videos, posts, and reviews on the restaurant’s channels. This shows that guests love the restaurant so much that they are willing to post about it.