Are you a restaurant or cafe owner looking for more exposure? Maybe you just opened your local business, you see some decline in profits as compared to last year, or you feel like you aren’t getting ahead of the competition.
Whatever the reason, there are many methods to spread the word and get new customers. Here are 5 such ideas:
1. Offer discounts.
Who doesn’t love discounts? One common way in the restaurant business is to have happy hours, but there’s a limit to how often you can do that. And in some cases, it might devalue your cafe or restaurant.
Instead, have special offers and let your customers know. Design coupons and have loyalty programs. Offer free desserts to loyal customers. Have themed evenings that include promotions your competitors don’t have.
2. Use Google My Business.
One of the best ways to promote your restaurant or cafe online is to optimize for local search. The easiest way to do that is to set up Google My Business.
That’s a tool owned by Google and made for businesses like yours that want to take control of their online presence. It’s easy to use and free to create a listing and you can start setting it up through this link.
Your Google listing will contain all the information a person might need, such as address and business name, working hours, contact details, your website, images, and more.
You can also tell your company’s story so potential visitors can connect with it. Google My Business also displays reviews so your goal is to have good ones. Which brings us to the next point.
3. Get positive reviews on Yelp.
Nothing beats Yelp when people search for the best restaurants in their area. It’s basically a search engine for restaurants and it’s filled with reviews and recommendations.
Your restaurant or cafe must be there too. Not just that, but it’s your job to make sure people are leaving reviews and these are mostly good ones.
Of course, the most important thing, in this case, is to offer them quality service and provide a great customer experience whenever they are at your restaurant cafe.
In addition, you can encourage people to leave positive reviews about your business. Start with friends and family. That works great as it gives other Yelp visitors something to check out. People won’t really trust something online unless they see social proof. And that’s how you get it.
The next step is to encourage regular customers to share their opinion. If you ask kindly and show it can help spread the word about your restaurant or cafe, they’d gladly do it.
From then on, Yelp’s algorithm will do its job.
4. Create buzz on social media.
Social media, when used right, can not only get the word out about your restaurant cafe, but bring in more attention than you’re prepared for.
But many local business owners aren’t sure which platform to use and how to go about it. A good starting point is a Facebook page. With over 2 billion people on the network, it’s the right place to build an audience.
Many Facebook users rely on the social media site for local searches and trust what they see on it. In fact, it can be a negative factor for you if they don’t find your business there but look for it.
Your Facebook page should have your logo, some pictures, information about your business, address and opening hours, and – again – reviews (from people you know for a start). You need a business profile but that doesn’t mean you have to be too serious.
Customers would love to see behind-the-scenes content, pictures of your staff, beautiful images of your meals, and coupon codes.
The same goes for Instagram. That’s a more visual platform so you will need to emphasize on photography, but the food niche is exploding there as people love to share what they eat.
You can hold contents and encourage people to tag friends, follow your profile or page, hit the like button and share your content. That means your offer will be exposed to their followers too.
5. Utilize influencer marketing.
The next item on the list of ways to market your restaurant or cafe is influencer marketing. With so many food bloggers and social media celebrities, it’s worth reaching out to some (not big ones as that will cost you a lot) and making a deal.
That might be a review of your restaurant that they publish on their site and share with their subscribers, or an Instagram post on their feed encouraging the followers to check out your place.
That can turn into a whole campaign if you have the budget and get serious about the outreach strategy.
Working with many small bloggers and social media influencers is better than with a few big ones. You also need to know where your potential audience is hanging out online so you can reach them more easily.
These are just some of the innovative ways to promote your local business. Each can become your main source of traffic or income. But for that to happen, you need to test every idea and give it some time.