The costliest is not always the best, and this is clearly and undoubtedly evident in marketing your restaurant. Yes, you read that right: you don’t have always have to spend top dollars in advertisements just to market your restaurant.
There are actually some prime marketing strategies and avenues that do not require you to shell out tons of cash. Here are some low cost restaurant marketing ideas to try soon:
- Be visible online. Everyone is online, there’s no reason why you should not be. The internet is jampacked with tons of low-cost and FREE avenues to market your restaurant. There’s always Facebook and Twitter, but it’s also important to make a presence in the following websites:
- Yelp – maximize your information on this website and make sure you give your restaurant-goers a reason to leave you great reviews
- Trip Advisor – works pretty much like Yelp although it includes other tourist-savvy establishments like hotels and resorts
- Google+ – with Google being the foremost search engine of choice of most internet users, having a Google+ account will help give your customers an easier access to find your restaurant
- Foursquare – everybody loves to ‘check in’ these days! The more checks-in you have, the better the publicity. Consider Foursquare your online word-of-mouth, where other users learn from other users that they’ve actually been at your resto.
- ‘Gram it! Virtually no one has the time to read lengthy blogs anymore. When you want to target customers who need a quick suggestion on where to eat, they don’t sit down and read blogs. They skim through and look for three things: a short description, ratings, and A GREAT PHOTO. That’s why you need to take great photos. Luckily for you, you don’t always have to hire thousand-dollar-per-hour photographer to get some good-looking photos on your online presence. Make use of Instagram, as well as other free photo editing apps like VSCO Cam to get quick, pro-looking, high def photos and upload a few hours before peak time.
- Invest in a good curb. Just as curb appeal is necessary in the real estate marketing arena, curb appeal has an important role to play in the restaurant marketing business too. You don’t have to buy the fanciest outdoor lights – you just have to place them properly. Make sure your signs are highly visible and attractive, and invest in a menu board for outside the door. Don’t make the menu board too lengthy; just display your best-sellers with enticing, appetizing photos.
- Partner up with your neighbors. Create a mutually beneficial partnership with select non-competing businesses in your area. For instance, you can provide ‘special offers’ to their customers, in their name. How is this beneficial to both? (1) They get to provide perks to their customers and that gives them edge over their competitors, and (2) you get to advertise. Small flyers shouldn’t really cost much!
- Always be a sales person. Wherever you are, wherever you go, and whatever you do, always find an opportunity to invite someone to your restaurant. You could be doing your morning run or just pumping gas; if you meet someone new (and you should), always introduce yourself as the owner of the restaurant and invite them over like you would someone to your house. And never – EVER – forget the power of business cards and a good handshake.
Perhaps the most valuable of things to remember in marketing your restaurant is this: give your restaurant-goers a good reason to talk about your restaurant positively, and come back as regulars. Aside from great food, offer great service from your wait staff and competitive prices.