Whether your restaurant has been in existence for doggy-bag years or you’re just about to launch your lunch, branding is a vital, integral part of success.
Regardless of whether you’re personally tech savvy or not, a working knowledge of social media, the semantics of logo design, and other tech-based areas are all super important when it comes to promoting and growing your business.
Let’s take a look at some incredibly helpful marketing tools that can get your brand off the ground and onto the table.
Everyone turns to social media, right? It’s gotten to the point that we hardly even think about it anymore; it’s just another part of our day to day existence. Checking FaceBook, commenting on our local news feed, posting Instagram pictures of our beautifully-presented dinner, hashtagging a tweet on Twitter —
With such a huge percentage of consumers using social media, as a smart restaurant owner, you’re probably already employing your social media presence to some effect. But are you getting the most out of it?
Visual marketing is the most effective, which is why people are more likely to order an item on a menu when there’s a picture of it included. It just looks good, and if it looks good, it’ll probably taste good. But there isn’t always room to have pictures of everything on your menu, which is where apps like Instagram come in. In terms of motivating your potential customers to walk in the door and try something new, a well-lit, professionally photographed picture of a food item may be the number one marketing tool for restaurants.
Statistics indicate that six in ten adults on the internet have Instagram accounts. 500 million users are active every single day. 60% of users say that they’ve learned about a new product or service through the platform.
Restaurant marketing expert Edward Strum says, “Instagram should be every restaurant owner’s best friend. It’s almost like the platform was made for restaurants! It’s perfect for showing off how appetizing the food looks and the décor – two of any restaurant’s biggest selling points. Literally the only thing missing is smell and taste.”
One of the great things about using social media to the full is that it’s easier than ever to market across platforms. If you create content for one site, it can easily be adapted for others. Hashtags increase trending, giving your followers easy ways to reference your posts and content. Best of all, social media covers a large cross section of people; though there may be more teenagers and people in their twenties than other demographics, you’re still looking at enormous numbers in all demographics.
Include your Instagram name or other social media contacts in your marketing materials. Encourage your customers to follow you, mention you, and comment. Engaging your customers on a social media platform increases their loyalty and, in turn, the likelihood that they will speak about your restaurant to others.
Logo and Branding Materials
What do people think of when they hear the name of your restaurant?
Odds are, they immediately picture your logo — at least, they do if your logo is doing its job and creating a memorable impact.
This isn’t always the case, of course, but that’s why rebranding, logo redesign, and other tweaks and changes are so common. Or, on the other hand, you may still be working on your ultimate design, and need a helping hand.
While there are always professional companies out there that offer logo design and branding services, there are also DIY tools available too. These sites and tools have free pictures, curated fonts and layouts, and preset templates to make sure you have the correct sizing and resolution depending on what branding material you’re preparing, whether it’s your logo, your menu, email blast, or flyer.
Another option is to turn to crowdsource and freelance sites for a designer who is still a trained professional but may be a little more reasonably priced.
Tools to try:
If the idea of a loyalty program immediately makes you think of punch cards, well, you’re not far away from the truth — you might just be a little old-fashioned.
Basically, loyalty programs are exactly what they sound like: rewarding your customer for their loyalty. If they come back nine times, perhaps the tenth meal will be discounted, or they can earn a free appetizer, or any other number of variations on the same theme. The point is that loyalty equals rewards, and rewards equal your customer returning again and again, because they feel that they’re getting something more than what they’re actually paying for.
Some food apps include integrated loyalty programs, allowing your customers the chance to check out your restaurant and gain free or discounted items for doing so. It also means they don’t have to worry about losing their punch card, since they can track their purchases through the app.
Start a Business Blog
Blogging is still one of the great ways to let others get to know you — who you are, what you stand for, and your ongoing adventures in the restaurant biz. While it may seem like a prohibitive use of your time, it can actually be combined with other social media efforts. Start a story on Instagram with a photo, make it a few paragraphs longer on your restaurant’s blog account.
Engage the interests of customers by sharing experiences about your customers — the happy, satisfied ones, of course, and with permission. Promote user-generated content, highlight and discuss positive reviews and feedback, spotlight your pleasant, hard-working employees, fill in the background of how your restaurant came to be, discuss your passion for food and family — there are all sorts of subjects that can be included in blog posts, and each piece of content can be used to generate and build interest in your business.
While there are tons of marketing tools out there, these are frequently used by eateries and restaurant owners. Take your pick!
Janil Jean is a top management executive at LogoDesign.net. She oversees digital marketing, operations as well as graphic designers. You can contact her at 844-232-4816 for any branding and design related queries, or connect with her via Twitter or LinkedIn.