Make the Most of Targeted Marketing
A restaurant’s target market determines everything about the business, from what they serve to how they handle social media to which ad campaigns they invest in. Your menu, ambience and more all entice certain people to join you for dinner and turn others away; when you communicate with guests to find out what they like and dislike about dining with you, you’ll get an idea about what advertisements would draw their eye and tempt more business.
You can’t cater to everybody, nor should you try. When you develop a clearer picture of the average consumer that your business attracts, you can strengthen your marketing campaigns by tailoring them specifically for your best guests.
Finding Your Core Audience
Start with the easiest information to glean: Cold hard facts about who frequents your business. The census and local government websites can tell you a lot about who lives and works nearby. Getting to know the neighborhood helps too; if you notice that you’re close to a school and a lot of commercial buildings, you might infer that you’ll get more families looking to dine together after their obligations are through for the day.
Pay attention to your own visitors and see if they align with these assumptions or contradict them in any way. Do you usually get couples or families? Is there a crowd of seniors in the early evening who might appreciate an early bird specials menu? Pay attention to these things, and even ask your staff about their encounters because your front of house are the ones most likely to notice trends in your key demographic and their preferences.
You can also ask customers directly. Where better to collect feedback than straight from the source? Who knows your customers better than themselves?
With advanced restaurant software, you can get guest feedback directly on mobile and self-ordering Point of Sales. View and track spending habits with eatOS automatic reporting and analytics features that identify your most loyal customers, when they visit and how often, what they order and more. With enough regulars, you can combine their preferences to create a hypothetical “average guest” to consider when making new marketing decisions.
This persona is malleable, because like your customers, preferences change. If you notice new trends cropping up around the industry, you can always add some extra personas alongside your hypothetical customer to round out your hypothetical, complete target market.
Pay Attention to Competitors
Think about the other restaurants that operate near yours. Those are not your enemies; they’re your friends, neighbors, industry network and support system through hard times. Moreover, they’re a reference point to use when you’re establishing your brand and the ad campaigns to go with it. If they have similar menus, prices and atmospheres then their demographics could potentially fit what you’re looking for too.
Notice who frequents nearby restaurants like yours: Do they get younger generations or older couples looking for a quiet date spot? What does that restaurant do that’s working or not working, and how can you improve on their basic concepts? This is how you turn competitors from rivals into valuable business assets.
How to Market Effectively
Now that you know who you want to appeal to, it’s time to actually do it. Coming up with promotions on dishes that you can cook a lot for cheap—pasta, for example—is easy with a PoS that automatically deduces that you need to generate sales on Wednesday night so the sauce doesn’t spoil.
Try these other tricks to take your targeted marketing to the next level:
Send out a regular newsletter to your best customers and entice them every time to book a reservation or visit again. Let customers know when your summer menu comes in or offer catering for their holidays parties. Don’t be afraid to make a big deal out of small changes.
If you happen to know an anniversary or birthday is coming up next month, you can send your regulars an email to thank them for past patronage and to ask whether they’d like to celebrate with you again. These little touches mean a lot.
Identify your best customers with an advanced PoS, then offer them discounts or special promo codes as a thank-you for their ongoing loyalty.
Use the kind of language that your customers would. Don’t write slang to business professionals or develop elegant branding if your target demographic is college kids coming for happy hour.
Create events and dinner specials specifically for your regulars. If you know that they’re craving date night specials or an online ordering platform, then you should consider investing in those ideas. You already know they’ll be hits.
Find your target audience and stick to it. With advanced restaurant technology at your side, personalized marketing is easier than ever to research, brainstorm and disseminate to your best customers.