Digital marketing is a huge part of driving success for small businesses like restaurants. There’s just one problem: Most restaurateurs aren’t marketers. And between serving guests, answering phones, checking inventory, paying bills, managing employees, and the kazillion other things that occupy the day, there’s certainly no extra time to learn all the ins and outs of marketing.
However, simplified restaurant marketing tools have made it increasingly easier for restaurant owners to build and execute effective marketing plans. The only problem? There are a ton of marketing tech tools to choose from! So, where do you start? And how do you know which tool is best for your restaurant? Don’t sweat it—we’ve outlined some of the most common and effective restaurant marketing tactics and tools below.
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Top Restaurant Marketing Tools for Every Marketing Strategy
Digital marketing can come in many different forms—and these tools are some of the most popular—and easiest to implement!
Email marketing has one of the most impressive ROIs of any marketing method. On average, email marketing provides a return of $32 for every $1 spent, and in the food and beverage industry, marketing emails have a 20 percent open rate and a 1.4 percent click-through rate.
Some of the most popular email marketing tools available for small businesses are MailChimp and Campaign Monitor, which both allow you to create marketing emails from templates and manage your guest email lists. Their biggest disadvantage? They’re not connected to your guest's behavior, and they require too much manual labor and time—which you likely don’t have.
With Popmenu, you can automate email marketing and target guests with customized promotions based on historical data about their past visits and orders, making it easy to maximize your email marketing efforts without spending a lot of time crafting emails and managing guest segments.
SMS (text message) marketing is an increasingly popular tactic, especially when you consider that, on average, Americans spend 5.4 hours per day on their mobile phones. What’s more? Marketing texts have an open rate of over 95 percent, and 85 percent of consumers say they’d rather get a text from a business than receive a phone call or email.
An SMS marketing strategy can work alongside your email strategy, capturing even more guests with personalized offers and timed specials that entice them to visit your restaurant or order specific items. It’s a quick touchpoint and a proven strategy that turns first-time guests into loyal regulars.
Social Media Marketing
The visual nature of social media makes it a powerful tool for restaurant marketing. Restaurants can create awareness about events, new menu items, and more, and attract new guests through photos, videos, and even reviews. In addition to just social posts, there are also social ads, which can be targeted to be seen by potential guests in your area who are likely to love your restaurant.
Because of the power and reach of social media, it can take multiple tools to harness its marketing potential fully. Tools like Later, Buffer, and Hootsuite are popular for scheduling social posts in advance. CoSchedule can be used to schedule and manage posts across multiple platforms. Then there are tools like Sprout Social to help track and manage social campaign performance. That’s all in addition to ad managers for the major platforms, where you can boost your posts or set up paid campaigns to try to reach new guests.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the options for social media marketing, you’re not alone. That’s why Popmenu seeks to make social media easier for restaurant owners. From one dashboard, you can connect to your restaurant's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google My Business accounts, plan, publish, and track posts and offers.
Online Review Management
Online reviews often get overlooked as a restaurant marketing tool, but 92 percent of restaurant guests read reviews ahead of checking out a new restaurant; so, managing your online reputation (i.e., reviews) is an important part of a digital marketing strategy.
There are a few best practices when it comes to review management:
- Be sure to reach out to guests after a visit to encourage them to leave a review
- Respond to positive reviews to thank guests for their thoughts
- Connect with guests who leave negative reviews to recover service and show you care
But with all the third-party review sites, it’s no easy feat to manage everything that’s said about your restaurant, let alone put it to use as a marketing tactic. Popmenu harnesses the power of reviews as a marketing tool, allowing you to approve, reject and reply to reviews right from the same dashboard where you access all your other Popmenu features and tools. Popmenu also harnesses the power of reviews on your actual menu—so dishes can ‘speak’ for themselves.
Photo and Video Marketing
Photos and videos aren’t always considered a part of restaurant marketing—until you consider that guests eat with their eyes first.
Investing in high-quality, high-resolution images of your dishes makes your brand look more polished and put together. It also gives guests who visit your website and social media or see your ads a mouthwatering image that’s sure to inspire cravings. If that’s not enough to convince you, there’s this: Dishes on online menus that have photos attached to them receive twice as many online orders as dishes without pictures.
There aren’t really restaurant marketing tools just for food photography—for that, you’ll want to find and hire a professional photographer who has experience in food styling. But you will need a website and menu management platform that allows you to display your menu along with all that mouth-watering photography—like Popmenu, which has patented dynamic menu technology that makes your menu into a marketing tool of its own.
Finally, there’s promotion marketing, which is a way of utilizing special offers and promotions to reach new guests and entice past guests to become repeat visitors.
Promotion marketing works best when you create special offers that are personalized to your guests. To do that, you need data about them—for example, when they tend to visit or place orders, what items they’ve ordered before, special events that interest them, and key dates like birthdays or anniversaries.
Like with photography, there aren’t really tools specifically to help your restaurant master promotion marketing. Instead, it’s typically up to you to create promotions and then send them out using your other marketing tools. Some advanced email marketing programs can help you segment your guest email list and send customized promotions based on data.
Popmenu makes it easy to build offers and promotions, connect them to an action (like your online ordering flow or a reservation booking link), and distribute them to your guests. You can even add promotions to automated marketing tools—sending follow-up incentives to guests right after they visit your restaurant to entice them to come back for another visit.
Maximize Your Restaurant Marketing With Popmenu
We’ve outlined several different restaurant marketing channels and some potential tools for executing a comprehensive marketing strategy. Popmenu takes all those listed tools and channels and puts them into one single platform for one single price. Our include suite of marketing tools covers automated and custom email marketing, SMS, social media, online review management, photo and video marketing, and offers and promotions.
With Popmenu’s restaurant marketing tools:
- Schedule and send annual, monthly, weekly, or one-off automated email messages;
- Use SMS marketing to reach guests on their mobile devices
- Connect to your restaurant’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google My Business accounts to plan, post, and track posts, offers, and ads
- Collect and manage online reviews of your restaurant and dishes
- Create dynamic, interactive online menus with mouthwatering food photography that helps entice guests
- Incentivize repeat visits and extra purchases with targeted offers and promotions
Popmenu is a restaurant marketing powerhouse with all the tools you need to meet your guests where they are and turn first-timers into regulars. Ready to see for yourself? Schedule a free demo today.