Ok, so it’s January already and you’re only just deciding to put together your restaurant marketing plan for the rest of the year.

Guess what… you’re not alone!

The realities of operating a restaurant often result in tasks of this nature taking a back seat; it’s totally normal and nothing to be ashamed of. However, with 2018 finally underway, deciding how you’ll promote your business and fill those empty tables consistently throughout the year is a task you really do need to tick off.

To help, we thought we’d list five things you really should include in your restaurant marketing plan for 2018:

1. Direct mail

Stop laughing at the back! Direct mail really is important – even in the digital age.

Think about the number of times you receive hard copies of promotions through your letterbox these days. It’s quite a rare occurrence, isn’t it? Therefore, if your restaurant happens to be one of those rare occurrences and you get the messaging right, you should turn a few heads.

Look for companies locally who can assist you with the design, print and delivery of leaflets for the promotions you’ll be running this year.

2. Video content

Time for a stat: 51% of marketing professionals from across the world believe video is the content that offers the best return on investment (ROI).

And that, quite simply, is why you need video ads in your marketing plan for 2018.

This doesn’t mean spending all of your marketing budget on hiring film crews, either, because the wonderful thing about the world in which we live is that video creation is simple and eminently accessible to all. Quite often, just your smartphone will do!

It comes in a huge number of forms, too, from YouTube-hosted behind-the-scenes clips to the briefest of promo footage presented in ‘story’ fashion on Instagram.

Video is a big deal. Make use of it!

3. Event support

Sponsoring a local event or lending some of your time and venue space to a charity is a great way to raise your restaurant’s profile.

Take a look at the events (both charitable and otherwise) that are on the horizon this year and reach out to the organisers. Find out how you can get involved and build the projects into your marketing plan.

4. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Google and social media platforms such as Facebook offer fantastic ways to reach highly targeted audiences.

Pay-per-click advertising is something of an art form, and you’ll need assistance if you’re to avoid throwing money into a deep, dark, digital hole, but with the right help, PPC will help your restaurant reach the right audience at the right time.

5. Content marketing

A concerted PPC effort is best supported by content marketing that enables you to gently draw in an audience with whom you can build a layer of trust.

If you’re yet to start a blog for your restaurant’s website, now’s the time to do so. Blog about your dishes, the local scene and anything else that’s likely to strike a chord with the type of people you want to welcome through your doors.

Again, you may need help with this, but stick at it and you’ll eventually see some superb results in terms of increased, relevant web traffic and new fans of your restaurant.

Final thought

Marketing plans don’t have to be complex affairs; no one is expecting you to write the business equivalent of War and Peace.

Instead, focus on the above elements and briefly map out your goals for each. Then, you can decide how you’ll meet those goals throughout the course of the year. Trust us – it’ll come together far quicker than you might think!

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