7 Must-Have Restaurant Marketing Tools That Are Super Easy to Use
The restaurant industry has been especially hard hit during the coronavirus worldwide pandemic, with many business owners having to completely change their daily operations and downsize staff.
Whether you own the local trendy coffee shop or a full-service fine dining restaurant, you still have the same problem when you are no longer allowed to have dine-in customers, as many city and town governments have required.
Figuring out how to keep a business running requires a lot of your attention every day. This means that your marketing plan often falls to the wayside, further endangering your business.
By adding a few simple tools into your toolkit, you could start generating results without a huge time investment. Let's take a look at a few restaurant marketing tools that could help you launch new prospects for your restaurant.
7 Restaurant Marketing Tools That the Pros Use
We have worked with a lot of restaurant owners over the years. Along the way we have learned which tools have helped them succeed. Keep reading, and we will show you seven must-have tools that you can use to implement effective marketing strategies for your restaurant without needing an entire team.
1. A Facebook Business Page
Facebook marketing is an effective way for restaurants to get new customers and keep current customers coming back for more.
The goal of any marketing is to reach your customers where they are. Facebook now has over 2 billion users, so it is definitely where your customers are.
Facebook has a lot of benefits for restaurants.
- 88% of people trust what strangers and friends say about businesses on Facebook.
- 70% of purchases at local businesses can be traced back to social media channels like Facebook.
- There are over 200 million posts tagged #food on Facebook.
- Over 23 million people share pictures of their meals.
- Over 30% of special occasion milestones like anniversaries and holidays are posted on Facebook with a tag back to the brand.
Essentially, your customers are doing all of the hard work to market your business for you. If you don't have a Facebook business page set up with all of your important information, you are missing out on all of this enthusiasm.
2. A Website You Can Update Yourself
Before choosing to patronize a new business, customers are going to do research. This is especially true when it comes to restaurants.
- Restaurants are the most searched industry by consumers. 75% of customers say they often choose which restaurant to dine at based on those search results.
- More than 80% of people look at a restaurant’s website online before deciding to go there.
- 80% of customers think it’s important to be able to see the menu before placing an order, and 62% are less likely to choose your restaurant if they can’t see your menu online.
Whether you need to update your hours or offer a new service, like contact-less delivery, it is key that you are able to make updates to your site easily without needing a developer. Because of that, it's important for your website to be built using a content management system, or CMS, such as WordPress, Joomla or HubSpot.
3. Social Media Management Tool
We've already talked a little bit about the importance of using social channels to help grow your restaurant. Facebook is definitely an important channel to be on, but it's not the only one. As you expand your presence onto other channels such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and others, you will need a tool to help you post more efficiently as well as monitor the results.
HootSuite, for instance, is a very cost-effective and simple-to-use option to help you manage your social media channels. It has three main features that will make your life simpler.
- First, it allows you to easily connect to multiple social channels and send a post out on all of them at one time.
- Second, it allows you to monitor different events that are happening on your social channels so that you can stay on top of things around your brand from a central location.
- Finally, it gives you a centralized location for your reporting so you can easily see what posts are getting the most engagement across all of your social channels.
4. Email Marketing Platform
Email newsletters are one of the most basic and effective restaurant marketing ideas. Newsletters are an effective way to get information about your restaurant directly into the hands of your customers so that you stay top-of-mind. These newsletters also help you create a personality for your restaurant and work to build a relationship with loyal customers.
To be able to send an email newsletter, you will need to set up a relationship with an email service provider. For small businesses, we recommend ones like Constant Contact and MailChimp because they are simple and easy to get started with. MailChimp, for instance, provides built-in mobile-responsive templates to let you quickly and easily create attractive emails that will look good on any device.
- Detailed Analytics to Monitor Results. You will have access to analytics such as open rates and click-through rates that can help you improve your email campaigns.
- Legal Compliance. MailChimp can also help you stay CAN-SPAM compliant so that you avoid being blacklisted or fined for improper emailing practices.
5. SMS Marketing Platform
Even if you have the perfect location, the most delicious menu, and a customer-focused service team, you still need to be able to drive a consistent stream of customers through your doors.
SMS marketing for restaurants using a texting app like EZ Texting is a great way to stay in front of your customers and be able to send messages that are seen almost instantly.
- 97% of people that own a smartphone use their text messaging app every day.
- The New York Times has long recommended text message marketing saying that it is a “guaranteed read” because 98% of all text messages are read by recipients. Beyond that, 90% of those messages are read within 3 minutes.
The immediacy of mobile text marketing means that you can send just-in-time offers that expire soon. You can also remind your customers of menu specials, use MMS Marketing to send photos of daily specials, and even use text messaging to let them place a takeout order.
6. Instagram Hashtags
Instagram has become a powerhouse social platform for businesses of all kinds, and restaurants are no exception. In fact, 30% of people say that they would not go to a restaurant if they had a weak Instagram presence.
There are some key ways that you can use Instagram hashtags effectively:
- Use Relevant Hashtags. Search for hashtags that make sense for your business using the search button at the bottom of the app. Using at least one hashtag on an Instagram post has been shown to increase engagement by an average of 12.6%.
- Attract Food Bloggers. Seek out local food bloggers through hashtags that incorporate the city or town you are in. Start following their Instagram accounts, like and comment on their posts and try to build a rapport with them. Eventually, when you feel comfortable, strike up a conversation and offer the influencer a free or discounted meal. Once you have a food blogger or other influencer to partner with, you can even run contests and ask them to share the posts with their followers.
7. Google My Business
“Overall restaurant-related searches have grown by double digits in the past two years, while those same restaurant-related searches that include a zip code have declined over 30%.” (source: Google)
The easiest way to capitalize on that publicity is by claiming your Google My Business listing. It’s a completely free service offered by Google that’s designed to help encourage more businesses to share accurate information about themselves with people doing searches.
After you’ve claimed your listing and filled it out completely, people will see an enhanced search result for your restaurant that includes information about when you’re open, reviews, locations, photos and a link to your website.
Adopt These Five-Star Text Message Marketing Plays
You've already learned how powerful text message marketing can be. The open and engagement rates for SMS messages are astonishing.
Your campaigns can be a lot more sophisticated than just simply sending offers, coupons, and reminders. If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your text marketing campaigns, then you should download a copy of our Text Messaging Playbook for Restaurants.
Inside, you'll find 18 types of restaurant text messages that you can send to stay top of mind with your customers. We will walk you through each type of message and even give you examples to help you get started right away. So grab your copy today and start creating powerhouse campaigns within minutes with EZ Texting.