There are so many different tools out there that you can use to market your business. In this article, I’m going to break down the 7 tools you should be using to further the success of your business.
1. Hyperlocal Tools: Come Again?
What are these so called “tools” and how am I supposed to use them to market my restaurant? Well, I’m glad you asked! The following are considered hyperlocal tools:
- Real-time geolocation on smartphones
- “Near me” searches
- Geotags and local hashtags
- Business location targeting on Facebook
The term “hyperlocal” simply means using location to heighten or extend your reach. If you were to use any of the loyalty programs that I talked about in a previous blog, linked here, you would see that many loyalty programs offer an embedded geolocation tool you can use to notify customers when they come within a certain distance of your restaurant. Maybe you want to promote a new menu item or seasonal product? This would be the space that you would use to send those promotions.
“Near me” searches have become increasingly popular since the creation of Google. The growth between 2013 and now has become exponential -- increasing by over 900%. If you aren’t getting in on the action, you are surely missing out! Geotagging or creating a local hashtag is the process of “tagging” any of the media you post with a geographical location.
So let’s say you take an awesome picture of your storefront and you wanted your Instagram followers to know where you are. You would “tag” that picture with the address of your restaurant. It’s really that simple! Local hashtags are a great way to market locally, as they can be indexed and searched by city on Instagram.
Want to target a local group of people? Use location targeting on Facebook to find people who live close to where your restaurant is and deliver ads directly to them.
2. WiFi and the Awesomesauce of Text Messaging
Have you ever walked into a coffee shop and glanced around to see everyone, whether that be the elderly couple perched in front of the window or the teenaged girls chattering in the back corner, with some sort of technology in their laps, hands, or on the tables?
Well, as I mentioned in The Future of Restaurant Marketing: The Time to "Serve an Experience", offering free WIFI will set you apart from the other local restaurants or businesses. People love to work outside of the office or home. Make their new work spot your restaurant by supplying them with the fuel needed to power their technology.
Another great aspect of having free WiFi, is that you are able to ask your customers to sign-up using an Opt In program to receive text messages about promotions or special menu items that you are offering. This is where the awesome sauce of text message marketing comes into play.
3. Food Delivery Applications: What are they and why you should consider them!
A few years ago, food delivery companies were in their early stages. Now, it is not uncommon for someone to place an order through a food delivery application such as UberEats or DoorDash. A delivery driver will pick up your food order at the restaurant and deliver it right to your door usually for a nominal fee added to your food order.
Why not partner with one of these food companies to increase convenience? Everyone is looking for an easy fix to a problem. Ordering food while on the go or when you just don’t feel like peeling yourself off the couch is a lifesaver. Don’t you want to feel like you’re solving your customers’ problems? I know I would!
4. Social Media Marketing and Advertising: The Why and How
This isn’t hot off the press news. Social media has become one of, if not the, prime place for advertising over the last ten years. With advances in technology, it has not only become increasingly popular but easy as well to target your preferred audience. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all excellent ways to market your business. Depending upon who you want to target, each platform has its own method and set group of users.
For example, Instagram is widely popular with younger adults and teenagers. Whereas Twitter and Facebook, although still just as popular, have more of an older range of users. LinkedIn is a great place to promote your business by showcasing how YOU can help others. Not just by spouting out how great your food or hospitality are. Make sure you let your prospects know that you offer something unique and beneficial to them.
5. In-store Kiosks
Many restaurants, like McDonald’s, are starting to incorporate digital kiosks in their stores. Despite adding a large expense to your operations, they can help decrease your labor costs. They are easy to use and can help during busier times -- instead of customers waiting in long lines they are free to walk over to a kiosk and complete an order digitally.
Having your customers sign-in to a kiosk to place an order will help you collect data from that customer. You are able to have pop-ups for items to purchase before they check out. Maybe they would like to add that cookie for 99 cents. Every little bit helps the bottom line.
6. SEO: Optimize Your Website
If you want people to be able to find you, make sure your website is optimized for the internet by using SEO (Search Engine Optimization). People use Google all the time, if not every day. How most people find what they’re looking for is by typing in a set of keywords. Google returns what appears to match their list of keywords the best. The first five results are usually the highest ranking. Meaning, those pages received the most visitors for the same set of keywords OR they are the best matches to whatever was initially searched.
Make sure your website contains the most highly searched keywords that pertain to your restaurant. Whether that be food type, location, or if you decide to deliver content to your customers, make sure that content contains keywords that are pertinent to the topic you are writing about.
7. Community Events: Boost Your Reputation Within Your Local Community
Your local community is huge when it comes to marketing. Not only does it help build your reputation, but it also helps you create trusting relationships with those in your community. Using your community, in partnership with social media, can help increase brand awareness and loyalty. If one of your local businesses or churches is hosting a fundraiser, offer to cater the food. Not only will this be seen as a sign of goodwill, but that you care about those in your community. Always be aware of what is going on in your community and use these events to your advantage.
As I mentioned previously, there are many different types of tools that you can use to help market your restaurant. The future of marketing revolves around use of technology and being able to navigate the murky waters of cyberspace. So don’t get left behind relying on the yellow pages. Try a few of these tech tools to help blast your restaurant into the future!