If you think your first-class menu is enough to get customers for your hospitality business, you’re in for a hard awakening. With restaurants and cafés rising up left and right, competition remains among your biggest obstacles to market dominance. What should you do about it? Aside from making your business stand out, you must also ensure that you have your customers’ attention.
Knowing how to promote your business is an essential skill that should be in your arsenal. Together with a winning menu and an emphasis on excellent customer service, your marketing efforts will keep new customers coming and old ones returning. Fortunately, this day and age sees countless opportunities to convince your customers to dine and spend their time and money in your hospitality business.
Here are five smart ways to promote your business:
1. Reach out to them.
Thanks to technology, you now have multiple ways to communicate with and engage your customers. A good place to start is social media.
You can create a business page through networks like Facebook and Twitter where you can converse with your consumers and create a community of solid patrons. You may also use social media to advertise your business. Aside from benefitting from the vast coverage offered by social networks, you can leverage on the personalised and intimate connections you can create with your customers.
Speaking of personalised and intimate, you may also directly email your customers or send them SMS messages about your latest offerings. You can be creative about acquiring their details, but make sure it’s legal and has their consent.
2. Encourage your customers to help.
Do you know how to promote your business with minimal costs? A good way to do so is to enlist your customers’ help. Take advantage of Yelp and other review sites and urge them to post what they think of your business. You may also encourage them to tell their family and friends about your café or restaurant. Word-of-mouth advertising remains among the most effective ways to market anything, after all.
If you want to add more fun to your promotion efforts, you can create contests and have your customers participate in them. Anyone enjoys a good competition, no matter how simple your rewards may be.
3. Give out awesome deals.
Who doesn’t want discounts? A few dollars off a first-time or returning customer’s bill can make a whole world of difference in how cool they think your hospitality business is. You may also give out a few freebies from time to time. Make sure your customers know about your latest promotions by telling them through social media. You may even encourage new customers to subscribe to your social media pages first to qualify for promotions.
4. Bring in the big names.
We’re not talking about the stars, but if they’re available and you can afford them, why not? Right? What we’re saying is, you can invite influencers in your community to try out your house special and tell the public what they think. These influencers may include bloggers, reporters and even your neighbour who became a social media celebrity the other year—as long as they are a (preferably positive) influence in your community and have a significant following. You may also organise events and invite them over.
This strategy can be tricky as you may also have to build relationships with said influencers. However, when done right, this tactic can offer your restaurant the boost in publicity it needs.
5. Go local.
Knowing how to promote your business and ensuring it stands out from the crowd of similar cafes and restaurants involve understanding your customers’ preferences. Offering a menu made from locally grown and manufactured ingredients is a good way to tap into most people’s desire to eat food that is safe, nutritious and was prepared in a manner they are aware of. It will save you money and time, too.
Marketing your business to your customers takes more than putting up banners, handing out leaflets, or telling them to like your social media pages. Naturally—and we can’t emphasise this enough—do make your customers have a reason to dine and come back in the first place. Give them an experience they will crave. With the technology and resources available to you today, all you really need is a touch of creativity and you’re set for a truly delicious pay off.
Do you have other marketing ideas you want to share? Tell us in the comments below.