Does your restaurant have active social media accounts, a regular email newsletter and an established direct mail strategy? If not, you’re missing out on opportunities to gain a competitive edge over your restaurant’s rivals.
Why social media?
Social media is a great way to keep your restaurant top of mind among your customers without having to tailor the content to them personally. Sending messages to their individual email addresses or dispatching pieces of printed mail to their houses are still easy undertakings, but they take a little more work and foresight.
On the other hand, you can use channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to casually and instantly post photos, news and information about special deals that you only want your followers to know about. Via social media, customers are able to engage with you directly by leaving comments, asking questions or tagging you in pictures they post of themselves having fun at your restaurant.
Email is still holding its own amid the rise and prevalence of social media. There are numerous theories about why this is so, for instance:
- People might not check their social networking news feeds every day, but they probably check their email
- It’s a lot easier to miss a post on social media than it is to overlook an email, especially with the alerts that smartphones send out
- It’s common to save messages in your email inbox as a reminder to read them later or take some kind of action, such as printing out a coupon
- Email can be highly customized – it’s easy to take personalization into account, which means higher response rates
Why direct mail?
Although social media and email are widely used in this day and age, some people either don’t have accounts or don’t check them regularly. Direct mail messages might take a few days to get from you to your recipients, but it’s still the best way of reaching some segments of your customer base. This channel is also great for sending physical collateral, such as coupons for people to bring into your restaurant. Another major pro to this channel is its long shelf life—direct mail pieces are easy to hold on to. For example, recipients can put coupons on their fridges to act as a reminder until they’re ready to use them.
Many restaurants rely heavily on one method or another when executing their marketing strategy. It’s always good practice to remember that your customer base is made up of a diverse group of people with a multitude of communication preferences.