You have done the hard work in setting up your restaurant to meet the demands and expectations of your customers and must now find the most effective ways announcing it to the world. Here we provide a few simple advertising tips including writing good advertisements and on where your should consider placing your marketing ads.
A good start is to understand the demographic of your customers. Your restaurant's location will determine the type of clientele that you will attract. For example, it may be city office workers, tourists or local residents. Consider this when deciding the nature and placement of your advertising. Present your top selling points in bullet point form as these often catch the eye. Also include a strong call-to-action at the end of your advertisements such as “Call Us Today” or “Quote this Ad for a Free Drink”.
Advertorial style advertising is a great way of getting your message across, particularly if you have an interesting story such as a new menu or if you have just reopened after refurbishment. Your marketing message would appear as an interesting news story or editorial feature under a compelling headline that grabs attention.
Once you have decided on your restaurant's best selling points you must consider the various advertising means available. Here we suggest a number of ways in which you can market your restaurant.
A website is now essential for almost any restaurant and, if presented well, is very likely to be the most cost efficient marketing tool that you will ever have.
You may have to pay a few hundred pounds to have your website built by a professional web designer but the initial investment is likely to be recouped relatively quickly, especially if combined with effective online advertising to drive potential customers to your site.
If you have a modicum of computer knowledge you can save money by using a self-build website creation tool. All you have to do is select a pre-designed template and then add your text and images using a simple editor facility. These services offer a cheaper solution than commissioning a website designer to create a bespoke website for you, but can still produce professional results. Our own website creation service, Websites for Restaurants, is FREE and specifically designed for eating establishments and you can build your website within a day. The service includes add-ons such as online table reservations, domain registration and referral tracking (through Google Analytics). Go to the Websites for Restaurants homepage and build your FREE restaurant website.
Seriously consider including an online table reservation facility on your website. There are many companies that provide this facility, usually in return for a monthly fee or a small charge per table reservation.
Online advertising compliments your website because you can encourage people to click through to your site from your advertisement, where they can find out all they need about your restaurant and then reserve a table online if your website has this facility.
Online directories form an important part of restaurant advertising. There are many around so use them selectively, look for free trials and monitor the results from each one. Many have customer rating systems so, if your restaurant is popular, you will benefit from this feature.
Another option is pay-per-click advertising, which is provided by many major search engines, including Google whose service is called Adwords. Using pay-per-click you are charged a small fee each time the search engine sends a visitor to your website. You can set your maximum “bid” per click, we suggest just a few pence – but the higher the bid the higher your ad is placed in the “Sponsored Links”. You can also set a limit on your daily expenditure and pause the ads when you are full so this method of advertising is very flexible and need not be expensive. Remember, you are paying for each visitor so your own website must be effective in converting these visitors into customers.
Is your restaurant located close to a business or organisation that attracts many visitors? If so, a potential source of cost-effective (or free) advertising may be available through their noticeboard, website or brochure. Such organisations include large companies, tourist attractions, B&Bs, hospitals and universities.
Offer a small discount to employees of local businesses. Tourist attractions may be pleased to recommend your restaurant if you, in return, promote the attraction to your customers.
Do not underestimate the potential of repeat business. Your existing customer base is a valuable asset and effort should be made retain clientele as prospective future customers. A good way to do this is to send out electronic newsletters. These could offer exclusive special offers or “bring friends” discounts and should be sent out at selected times, such as when business is quieter than average. We would however suggest that you send no more than four or five newsletters per year.
By maintaining contact with past customers you are also increasing the chances of generating new customers to your restaurant through word-of-mouth recommendations.
Be sure to find out from your customers (and enquirers) where they found out about you. For online advertising, this can be done by using a referral tracking service on your website, such a Google Analytics - which is free.
By determining your most cost effective marketing solutions and eliminating poorly performing ad placements you will be able to maximise the return on your restaurant's advertising expenditure.
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