Profitable restaurants don’t just make great food; they’re also always on the lookout for the newest and most effective ways to drive food & beverage sales.
You never want to fall into a rut with your sales and marketing efforts. Settle down, and expect to see your sales go down too.
While your loyal regulars and return guests provide the bulk of your revenue, you need to keep up efforts to attract new clientele. That’s the secret sauce of success when it comes to foodservice.
One of the best ways to do this is through inbound marketing.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Unlike outbound marketing, which chases clients, inbound marketing uses a promotional approach that attracts clients, drawing them in.
Unlike traditional marketing techniques that involve making phone calls or sending cold e-mails to capture the customers’ attention, inbound marketing is all about enticing people to come to you themselves.
There are many ways to this in the digital world, including organic search, active social media presence, and website content marketing, among others.
For restaurants, the bottom-line is to attract prospects. You do this by providing valuable and dynamically presented content that resonates with them.
This means you publish top-notch content on your website, related industry sites, and your social media too. You’ll also want to optimize your website for SEO to make sure your online presence really counts.
Why Use Inbound Marketing for Restaurants?
Outbound Marketing Doesn’t Work (for restaurants)
Outbound marketing works well for a lot of businesses, but restaurants aren’t one of them.
Restaurants are a success when they target a specific market that includes loyal customers, and new customers who believe more in recommendations from friends than the indiscriminate “hard sell” of outbound marketing.
Successful restaurant marketing ignores the hard sell and instead focuses on providing value first.
Inbound Marketing is Cheaper than Outbound Marketing
You’re not going to abandon outbound marketing completely. Keeping your brand in the public eye is essential, but building a loyal repeat client base is what generates long term revenue.
But even small budgets can generate exceptional results with inbound marketing.
Are you ready to be one of these success stories?
3 Ways to Maximize Inbound Marketing to Boost Restaurant Sales
1. Extend Customer Interactions Beyond the Restaurant
Suppose your guests had a delicious meal and a good time, and that experience led to interaction, a connection, between them and your restaurant.
Now imagine you could keep this connection going after your guests get home.
Inbound marketing offers content that keeps this connection alive by engaging customers with your business. Keep customers engaged by offering them a unique, otherwise unseen view of your restaurant.
Using your social media to post pictures and videos of food, kitchen shots, and scenes from the restaurant allows guests to build a connection with your restaurant.
A post about the history of a dish, what inspired the chef’s choice of ingredients, chef profiles, and even posting the recipes themselves, gives your guests a unique glimpse of what makes your restaurant worth returning to.
You can use inbound marketing to tell the stories that your customers connect with and come back again and again for.
2. Establish Brand Authority
Restaurant owners can establish brand authority for their restaurant by being a good member of the local gastronomical scene.
Consider organizing cooking workshops, participating in community events, and actively welcoming both food critics and ordinary diners to review your restaurant.
The more you do, the more you’re seen as an integral, trustworthy member of the local foodie community.
Servers are the gateway to the restaurant. They are the first people your customers interact with, and the best representatives of your brand. Your servers probably know your customers better than you do. If they are inspired to work in a happy, productive environment, they’ll help establish trust, and therefore authority, for your brand.
Reviews and customer testimonials are an amazing way of establishing trust and authority for your brand. Potential diners will check online reviews before deciding to eat at your restaurant, so the more positive ones you have, the better. Encourage guests to leave a review on Google reviews or Yelp!. You could also ask servers to solicit short video testimonials from willing (and happy) guests and post them to your website.
3. Get Discovered
Proper optimization makes sure that your restaurant is found when customers search for nearby eateries.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for restaurants may involve link building, following a specific website structure, keyword research, content strategy, visual content, and other features that make your website valuable to your clients.
Having an online menu is a great way to attract visitors to your restaurant.
You can build a custom online menu (complete with payment options) using a platform like WordPress. You can also put your menu on a downloadable .pdf, so your loyal return customers can reference it whenever they need it.
Good SEO will make sure that your restaurant is found when people look for it on the internet. It may cost you some money upfront, but being there when your customers want you is worth every penny.
If you’ve made it this far, you understand that inbound marketing, in concert with your outbound marketing efforts, can supercharge your dine-in, takeout, and delivery sales.
These three tips are a great launchpad for starting with inbound marketing.
When you’re ready to take your restaurant marketing to the next level, or any level, contact us here at Collide. We have the resources, skills, and experience to get you there.