Your restaurant is great, no questions asked, but the eternal problem a great restaurant faces is telling people that their restaurant is, well, great. Aside from word of mouth, the only way to get your name out there is via some form of marketing. But we’ve all seen some truly awful ads in our time – obtrusive, obnoxious sidebars or commercials that, if anything, make us swear off that brand or product for the rest of our days. So how can you come up with restaurant advertising ideas that don’t drive your would-be customers away?
Take Social Media Marketing Seriously
A good – if obvious – place to start is with social media. Social media marketing offers low overhead for a high return on investment. The fact that social media is low-risk, high-reward means it’s an absolute essential in your marketing strategy. It’s also one of the most commonly ignored marketing strategies – especially when a business doesn’t do it right.
Great social media campaigns require time but relatively few resources. More than anything, the key is to establish a consistent voice – and presence – across the variety of platforms available to you. The best examples of social media marketing in restaurant advertising rely on effective branding and customer outreach to achieve their goals. But where to start?
Establish a Presence
The first step is to set your restaurant up with the gamut of profiles – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even a verified Google My Business and Yelp page are important. Your social media presence is the first step to success. The second is to actually post. An obvious choice would be to post plenty of food pictures – after all, the main reason your customers want to stop by is to eat your food, so show it off.
When it comes to content, it can be difficult to come up with unique posts day after day and week after week. New content generation is often the hardest part of an effective social media campaign, but there are a few innovative ideas that can spice up your socials. Consider adding the human factor to your posts – a restaurant is more than the food. Staff highlights, customer interactions, even customer content are great choices for adding flavor to your campaigns.
For Twitter or Instagram, consider retweeting or posting user-generated content as well. Caption contests, food pictures, dinner selfies, and more show the world that people love your restaurant without you having to show them a single ad. Facebook has a set of built-in ads you can purchase and comes with many powerful tools that let you customize your audience based on demographics and geolocation.
Invest in Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Pay per click is a staple of internet advertising. As such, it makes a fine addition to your restaurant advertising repertoire. The thing is, you need to be smart about how you use PPC these days, as it’s not the same process it was 10 years ago.
First, you need to consider the mobile factor. If it weren’t obvious yet, almost everyone browses the web with smart phones and tablets. This means that if you don’t optimize for mobile, you’re driving away customers without realizing it. This doesn’t hold true for your website alone; it’s also a major consideration for your PPC landing pages. It’s key that your pages load quickly and smoothly and are readable for any user.
Unless you have hundreds of locations, your restaurant is most likely a local affair. This means your restaurant will show up when users search “restaurants nearby” or similar search terms. Once your business shows up, you want to make it as easy as possible for users to find relevant information as quickly as possible. This could mean adding a click-to-call button on your ads via Google – particularly if you take reservations or offer carryout. Make the process as easy as possible for your customers and you’ll already have a leg up on the competition.
Create the Best Content
Advertising is an art form and a science; it takes a degree of creativity to generate fresh ideas but also relies on tried-and-true methods to bring customers to you. That’s why coming up with creative restaurant advertising ideas is key – the fresher your content, the more customers you’ll attract.
Think about your brand identity. Are you a fast-casual place or a sophisticated five-star restaurant? This should set the tone for your ad content – no matter the venue. Your imagery and text should complement each other and the tone you’d like to set for customers. This means no silly faces or selfies if you’re running an haute cuisine business. A serious atmosphere, for example, might call for photos of top table arrangements or atmosphere shots of the interior. No matter what, though, you should highlight your food at some point or another – don’t let it be a surprise for customers.
Light and color may be factors to consider as well. Regardless of how true color associations and their effects on appetite or mood may be, warm colors invoke a welcome and well-lit environment. Cool colors and dim lighting, on the other hand, can create the aura of tranquility and peace – which might work for a more serious restaurant advertising vibe, but not so much for a fun and exciting place.
Seasonal content provides you with a concentrated restaurant advertising strategy year-round. Holiday promotions, deals, and new menu additions bring in crowds during the most important times of the year – when people are celebrating and have time off. There’s also a much higher appeal to timely and relevant ads that offer a tangible benefit as well, especially compared to the generic marketing material we see daily.
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Collaboration makes a good tool for generating new content during a slump. This can be anything from user-generated social media campaigns to highlighting a local community event your restaurant participated in. Sometimes – as surprising as it may seem – you can work with your competitors to establish a mutually beneficial advertising campaign, including cross promotion or social media marketing ideas.
Still Need Help? Contact Vizion!
All right, we’ve drilled creative restaurant advertising into your head already. But, if you’re still not sure where to being, why not get in touch? Vizion offers premier PPC, SEO, and social media marketing packages for any up-and-coming restaurant. Our team of experts works with you to develop your marketing strategy and gets more diners into your seats.