The restaurant industry in the UK is dominated and has been dominated in recent years by large restaurant chains. With the ability to afford and price out local restaurants and cafes on prime locations, local businesses are often pushed further away from town centres or towards back streets. Such a simple thing as location can have a dramatic effect on the passing footfall they may receive, this has meant businesses have to be clever and efficient in the way they advertise to attract customers.
Luckily, with the digital lifestyle, we have today, restaurants and businesses are able to compensate for the small number of passing footfall they might receive. Through substantive, clever and efficient local marketing campaigns, restaurants will be able to access and maximise their potential customer base on their doorstep. Through not tapping into their local customer base, they will simply not be able to fulfil their business potential.
The aim of this piece is to provide you and your restaurant the elements that should feature in your local marketing campaign and strategy.
Claim and gain online listings:
Up-to-date information is imperative when advertising your business. If you haven’t already, it is time you claimed your Google My Business account. Through claiming and setting your business up, it will allow you to change and update relevant pieces of information that appears on Google when necessary (e.g. website, address, telephone, opening hours). It sounds too simple to be true, however, not having up-to-date information can be a significant downfall many businesses fail to address.
Listing and review websites such as Yelp are extremely useful and quick to use marketing tools in the restaurant industry. Through listing your business on websites such as Yelp, it will provide customers with a reliable source when researching places to eat in your local area. A significant tool which can be extremely beneficial is the ability to place reviews by members of the public. Having a substantial number of positive reviews and recommendations can work wonders for your business and will boost your reputation and rankings when customers search for places in your local area. Considering this, it is important you set up and pay attention to your account and listing, through putting a significant amount of time in making sure your restaurant is represented to the highest standard it can be – the more information you can provide the better.
While Yelp and similar directories are extremely useful, it is a clever and useful move to gain listings on as many local directories, websites and newspapers as possible. The more listings you can gain, the greater exposure people are going to get of your business.
A final note, it is inevitable you will receive bad reviews, however, how you respond to them is crucial. Make sure you are polite and professional.
Social media presence:
In a similar trend to the point above, the greater your social media presence the more people you are going to reach. Social media is your chance to show your business off for free, from posting pictures of your food on Instagram to advertising deals on Facebook – social media is an essential marketing tool you need to utilise.
Social media is your chance to take advantage of free advertising through user-generated content. If/when someone posts a picture of your food, drinks or aesthetics of your restaurant, this allows your business to reach users through no direct targeting. With the popularity and influence certain users have on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, this is your opportunity to reach out to those influencers and invite them along to your restaurant as now doubt they will document and post about their trip – which at the end of the day is free and quick piece if advertising for your business.
Finally, social media allows you to reach your business out into the local community – although this is online. Through such measures as posting on pages associated to your local area, it allows you to reach out to your direct target market of people who are likely to make more than a trip to your restaurant and provide recommendations.
The most simple and successful way to market to your target market is through area-specific advertisements. In partnership with a strong online presence and marketing campaign, this will make sure people working or living in a specified area will see your adverts and expose them to your business.
Utilise as much advertising space as possible:
Clever and simple usage of physical advertising spaces around where you are based is an effective complimentary marketing tool to your online campaign. Informed targeting and placing of adverts are a key in this element of your local marketing campaign, placing too many adverts wherever possible will be counter-intuitive for you. You want to make sure you advertise your restaurant in strategic places where there is a high volume of people and will catch the eye of passers-by. Transport hubs (train stations, bus stations) and petrol stations are good examples.
Petrol station advertising is an increasingly popular advertising arena for, especially local business. At a petrol station you have the capability to market your restaurant to people from all walks of life throughout the day. Advertising in petrol stations is an extremely effective place to reach your customers on a personal level. As we all know filling up your car is quite a boring and mundane task, so our natural tendency is for our eyes to wander and focus on something while we are waiting. Through advertising on petrol pumps, the motorist will have to look at the nozzle at least once as they are filling their car, although it is not a large surface area, it will no doubt catch their eye. If you consider how many people will use a single pump throughout the day, your advert will be seen by a considerable amount of people.
It is important to note that some of these factors will work better for different restaurants and business depending on the size of the business and its location. If you are based within a city, your local marketing campaign will be different from a business based in the country or by the sea. However, it is important to note, that you should use all these elements listed to varying levels at some point during your local marketing campaign.