Even on a shoestring budget, consistent marketing can make the difference between success and failure. In Part III of the series, we take a look at common restaurant marketing mistakes and missed opportunities, and how you can turn them around to increase sales.
With so many brands for consumers to choose from, how can you make yours stand out from your competition? Business owners tend to view marketing as an expense. In fact, if your marketing is effective at driving new business, it should be easily your most profitable investment.
Here are 6 common marketing mistakes to recognize and how you can avoid them:
Poor or no visible signage. Good signage is an affordable and effective way to drive sales. Does your restaurant signage have good road visibility? Is it noticeable to people passing along the street? If you deliver, are your phone number and web address featured prominently? People won’t come in if they don’t know you are there.
Your website is an afterthought. Few restaurant operators are also web designers, so why do it yourself? Do your research, and engage a qualified professional to help you. Potential new guests are attracted (or repelled) by the design and appeal of your website. A poor design can turn off visitors before they ever get to your menu and contact information.
No brand standards. Beyond just good food and service, work towards making a real, emotional connection with your guests every day. People will remember how you made them feel long after they have forgotten what they ate and who waited on them. Manage your business to ensure that customers come to expect the same great experience—food, service, atmosphere,—every time they visit or order.
Not giving repeat business the attention it deserves. Repeat business drives growth. It starts with loyal customers who come back frequently—and encourage friends and family to try your restaurant. Develop a plan to strengthen relationships. Too much focus on marketing to new customers drives up your marketing budget with low-return activity. Using a loyalty program and customer database marketing, you can increase order size, frequency, and referrals at a much lower cost.
Inconsistent advertising. In part II of this series, I talked about the importance of your menu reflecting your brand. Ads and flyers should also feature the same design, colors and fonts. Make your message clear, concise and consistent. And for best results, get your message in front of customers on a regular schedule.
Ignoring online conversations. In August, I posted Social Media – Listening and Responding to your Customers, with best practices for monitoring social media as well as restaurant review sites for positive and negative feedback. The people who talk about you online are your existing customers and potential customers—the people you count on for word of mouth—so taking the time to listen and respond is critical.
Recognize any of these issues in your business? Choose one to turn around today.
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