by Guy Holmes at YellowFin Marketing
The restaurant business is facing unprecedented pressures – the cost of living crisis is reducing customer spend, very high energy costs, food inflation not to mention the fact that recruitment is very difficult after Brexit, meaning staff costs have also gone through the roof. Oh and interest rates have gone up. It’s never been more important to fill every service so a restaurant’s marketing campaigns has to be as efficient and cost effective as possible. The following are what we’d recommend.
Firstly, it’s a very competitive market so having a distinctive brand with a clear and enticing brand story is essential. The brand values and personality must radiate from the dining experience as well as all the marketing touchpoints. Brands that start looking old and no longer relevant quickly fade away. Menus need to be updated regularly based on previous sales information, food trends and seasonality.
Your website is the most important element of your marketing – it’s where customers go to view your menu, see photos of the food and interior as well as to book. Furthermore if they don’t book there and then, the website should also collect email addresses for further communication as well as enticing customers to follow you on social media.
There are many different strategies and campaigns to implement on Google, here’s a brief summary:
Whenever we start an SEO campaign the first thing we do is study the free tool from Google which anyone can use – the Google Keyword Planner. This helps us to identify target keywords by seeing the amount of estimated monthly traffic as well as the level of competition for that keyword. You can use this to form the basis of the content, blogs as well as incorporating in the architecture of the site.
Getting to the top of local map searches is a very cost effective way of getting a lot of target customers to your website. It’s easy to optimise your profile by making sure that you add as much information as possible and fill out all sections including all the relevant categories. Reviews are extremely important, not only for your reputation but also for your visibility. Incentivise your manager and staff to ask customers for reviews as well as following up bookings with a link to your Google Business Profile.
There are a number of Ads to use for Google, but as a restaurant marketing agency we favour Ads on the Maps for local searches including “restaurants near me” and as Customer Intent Campaigns. Google knows everyone’s search history, so by giving Google a list of websites that your customers would have visited such as the results page on Opentable for your location, you can target those people with designed ads on the Google Display Network. With costs per click as low as 5p, a Customer Intent Campaign can get a lot of targeted people to your site.
Some considering fliering to be old hat and ineffective, but if you’re located near a busy transport hub or area with high footfall it’s a very cost-effective way of reaching your target audience. Fliers with offers obviously work best and can be tailored to your quiet times.
If budgets are tight, run the social media accounts yourself (and spend what budget you have on Google). Try to be consistent in the style of photos and frequency of posts as well as paying particular attention to hashtags. Use all the different types of posts on Instagram – Reels, Stories as well as Grid posts. Contact influencers and book them in meals for maximum exposure.
YellowFin Marketing specialises in branding, web design and marketing for hospitality businesses. We’ve worked with over 200 clients both in the UK and Europe, helping them to launch and thrive. The team have a hospitality background and understand the unique challenges restaurants are under and so are best placed to find creative solutions. For more information, please visit https://yellowfin.marketing.