Innovative marketing and digital media is essential for any business to be successful. Believe it or not, but everything you put out into the universe is a direct reflection of who you are as a business and company as a whole. Restaurant marketing is no different.

Rather than copying what the restaurant across the street is doing, find your own style and brand voice that reflects who you are as a restaurant. Highlight your specials, your employees, what makes you unique or even a snippet of how to make the most popular item on your menu. While it is easy to not re-invent the wheel, you’ll stand out more if you make a piece of marketing your own. We are in the day and age where it is important to stand out, so why compliment the competition when you are trying to beat them?

There are a few marketing strategies that restaurants tend to lean towards in terms of raising awareness of their brand and making a statement in the community. Check out our top three restaurant marketing strategies below!

#1 Get on Social Media

Let’s be real, social media is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, consumers are on a variety of social media platforms 80% of their day. That is 80% of a chance to make a connection, every – single – day. It is a whole heck of a lot easier to get consumers attention by a click of a button or a single visual post than the old school strategies. The most popular channels for restaurants are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and even SnapChat. While each should be used differently, they all can have an impact on your bottom line.

However, having your restaurant on social media is only half the battle. You also have to consider the quality of the content you are producing. For instance, everyone knows that Instagram is all about those high quality photos with bright colors where you are literally drooling over how tasty the food is. The last thing you want is a blurry photo or bad lighting that doesn’t make your food look like the most appetizing item in the world. Think of the placement, the background, the presentation and never be afraid of thinking outside of the box.

Post ideas: daily specials, menu items, build a burger, drinks, happy hour announcements, flash sales, animations, videos of employees, Chef highlights, etc.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the best aspect of social media marketing — IT’S FREE!

#2 Get in Your Guests’ Pocket

The more impressions you make on a guest, or potential guest, the more likely they are going to subconsciously think of your restaurant over the competition. On top of being on social media, your goal should be getting in the pocket of your guests on the daily. What does this mean? Two words — email marketing. 

Many restaurants do not see the benefit of sending out daily email campaigns to guests, but they are also loosing out on another form of brand awareness. Think of it this way, when you go into your inbox on your phone, what emails do you see on the daily? Sure you might delete those emails, but you see them every day. And you know what? When you need or want something that has to do with that brand, they are going to be the first place you think of. 

Pro Tip: Sure the open rate is important, but the click rate is even more vital as you begin to implement A-B testing into your email marketing strategy.

Pro Tip: Make sure your email campaign is always linked back to your website and also has links to all of your social media channels.

#3 Reputation is Key

No restaurant likes to see a bad review about their establishment on Yelp. But truth be told, it is how you handle any type of review, on any platform, that is important. Good or bad, you should write a response to every single review you receive. If the review is not so friendly, read between the lines of the emotion and figure out what the root of what the problem was. Then, take a deep breath, and answer without emotion that shows the guest that you understand their issue, will speak with those who handled the situation and will ensure it will not happen again.

Pro Tip: Even if the review is bad, always thank them for the feedback. Take every review as a learning experience and don’t take them personally. 

On the other side, if a guest leaves a positive review, don’t just be happy about it — say thank you! I mean, they went out of their way to leave you a wonderful review, the least you can do is send a little thank you message and say that you are looking forward to seeing them again. Make them feel special and build that relationship. After all, they are what maintain your cash flow.

Get Cooking

While your Chefs are busying being innovative in the kitchen, you should also focus on being innovative with your marketing and digital presence. The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive industries in terms of marketing and brand awareness. However, with a little creativity and out of the box thinking, you’ll be able to stand out from the competition and become the powerhouse restaurant in your community.

Understand the importance of marketing but don’t know where to start? Schedule a 30-minute FREE conference call with one of Tepsi’s Social Media Experts for an analysis of your current digital presence and recommendations on how to take it to the next level.