Christmas will be here before we know it, which means its time to start planning your 2019 restaurant marketing campaign.
The trouble lies with the sheer number of channels, marketing techniques and differing pieces of advice you’re probably being given at then moment. Where do you start?
Thankfully, there are some emerging trends which will help you pinpoint your marketing efforts for next year, and we’ve picked out what we believe to be the five most important.
1. Direct mail
Yep, you read that right – direct mail is still absolutely relevant in the digital age, particularly if you’re running a restaurant business.
Receiving regular mail has become something of an unusual event which makes it a brilliant marketing ploy if you want to grab the attention of your audience. The announcement of a new menu, special dining offer or tie-in with a local event might be best communicated in paper form, so don’t write it off (if you’ll excuse the pun).
2. Video on social
Get shooting! It’s never been easier to create marketing videos on a shoestring budget. If you have a smartphone, it’s probably capable of recording full HD video and publishing it for the world to see on your social media profiles.
Behind-the-scenes glimpses at your operation, staff interviews and chats with happy diners are great ways to fill your timeline and will go down a storm with potential customers.
You’re probably already seeing an increasing amount of video from your competitors on social media, so get in amongst them and make 2019 the year when your restaurant really starts to take advantage of this fantastic medium.
3. Event sponsorships and support
How often do you get involved in the local community? Chances are, there’ll be a whole bunch of events you could potentially sponsor or provide culinary support for.
The more active you are in your community next year, the more likely your restaurant is to stand out above and beyond the competition. The internet is a crowded marketplace, which is why it needs supporting with more traditional forms of marketing like this.
What’s more, if you can get involved with some charitable events and provide your services free of charge, you’ll demonstrate to potential diners that you’re not just about turning a profit; you clearly have society in mind as a modern business owner, too!
4. Local search optimisation
Are you investing in search engine optimisation (SEO)? Or is it something you paid for originally when your restaurant’s website was built, only to let it deteriorate since?
If it’s the latter, 2019 might just be the year to resurrect your SEO campaign, and the focus should be on local search.
Local SEO is all about tuning your website so that it targets searches within your restaurant’s vicinity. You’re lucky enough to work in an industry that can rely almost solely on local search, and if you find the right SEO expert to help you, it’ll make the world of difference to direct bookings.
5. Social media advertising
Go on, give it a go. Facebook advertising might have long been on your list of marketing tactics to try, but if you’ve avoided it thus far, 2019 should be the year when you finally give it a try.
The benefit platforms like Facebook offer savvy restaurateurs is the massive amounts of data they hold about users and the way it can be used to target very specific groups of customers.
You don’t have to spend a fortune, either. Try throwing £50 at a mini two week campaign; spend enough time refining the audience and you might just bring in a few last minute diners that fill up those dead tables.
Restaurant marketing should be fun, and with the tools required becoming more accessible by the day, there really is no excuse to dip your toes into the exciting world of brand promotion.