04302017

Where are Your Customers Hiding? Understanding Restaurant Marketing

A marketing plan is an essential piece of your business model.

A marketing plan is an essential piece of your business model. A well-structured marketing plan should help you find customers and send targeted messages to your primary audience. If you are having trouble reaching your customers, use this small-business guide to restaurant marketing as a starting point. 

Identify Your Audience

The first step in any marketing plan is a clearly identified audience. After all, how can you send messages if you do not know who you are sending them to. By identifying your audience, you can create content that appeals specifically to them, rather than just creating messages and hoping that they catch someone’s eye. To market to your target audience, analyze their behavior and key demographics, such as age and financial positions.

Choose Your Channels

Once you have identified your target audience and their primary behaviors, you can create messages around these interests. The messages you create are just as important as the channels you use to distribute these messages.

Determine how you want to disseminate your marketing efforts and focus on a few key areas. A good strategy for reaching a broad audience is to create a balance between cost-effective tools, like social media, and more expensive options, like advertisements in a local newspaper or magazine. 

Monitor Your Results

It is impossible to know if your marketing plan is working if you do not measure and track your results. Decide how you are going to monitor your campaign and what your metrics of success are. Online platforms, like social media channels and your website, provide clear metrics. Track which platforms are bringing in the most traffic by viewing referring links. Other important online metrics to track are the total number of visitors to your website and the conversion metrics, or the number of visitors to your site who take an action, like making a dinner reservation. 

Use hard numbers to see if you are reaching your goals and to give you insight on which strategies are working and which are not worth the investment of time and money.

Recalibrate and Repeat

As you measure your campaign, look for ways that you can improve your marketing efforts. If you are not seeing the results that you want, it is important to adjust your messaging, channels or both. After you recalibrate, try again and make sure to track your results. 

There is no one right way to market your restaurant. However, marketing is a science that lets you measure your successes and failures. Start with a solid marketing plan to give you direction and then use the date that comes in to pinpoint a strategy.

Article by Whitney Sanchez. Image from Tonktiti/Shutterstock.

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