Are you an owner or a manager of a restaurant?
If yes, you may already have an idea that you require a fun way to promote your restaurant to existing and new customers. Here we discuss some ways.
People cannot survive without food, which is why starting a restaurant is a profitable venture. This, however, doesn’t mean that anyone who starts a restaurant definitely succeeds at it. There are many factors to determine if the business will be a success or not. Many people have little knowledge on how to market a restaurant in Singapore.
Today, starting and running a thriving business is completely different from how it was two decades ago. The internet is one of the main reasons for the many changes in the restaurant industry. Hundreds of entrepreneurs get into this industry but don’t last for more than a few months.
If you are an aspiring restaurateur, you might also want to familiarise yourself which the following ways to market your restaurant and food service industry.
The Mobile revolution
Gone are the days when you would put up a colourful sign outside your restaurant or depend on word-of-mouth techniques to attract customers. Most people today don’t have the patience to look for restaurant signs in the streets. Welcome to the mobile revolution!
Almost every adult in Singapore owns a smartphone. These devices come with lots of conveniences. People can easily socialize with one another even if they are hundreds of miles apart. The e-commerce industry is doing well. Anyone with a smartphone would rather order a product online rather than pick it physically.
Some restaurant owners don’t make it because the business doesn’t cater to this large demographic. There has to be features to allow customers to order their food online or find the restaurant via Google maps.
Reputation Matters a Lot
With all the competition on the internet, it is advisable to improve the reputation of your restaurant if it has an online presence. Restaurateurs will naturally turn online to attract people to their restaurant.
A review seems insignificant but it is one of the reason why many restaurants fall. If customers have a bad experience, they are likely to post a negative review on the restaurant website. When someone looking for a place to eat lands on your website, they will see the negative review and avoid it. One way to build a good reputation and strengthen the brand is to offer the best service.
What Kind of Food does the Restaurant Offer?
Yes. Your menu matters a lot. There has been a lot of changes in the way people view their meals in the last couple of years. People are getting more specific about what they take. Some of the factors to consider include allergies, diet, sustainability and sourcing.
While you may not satisfy each and every person that comes to the restaurant, it is important to consider these vital factors. There must be clear channels of communication with the customer in order to identify the types of foods they prefer. Once you have identified these foods, the next step is to promote the restaurant vigorously.
Having mentioned some of the main problems facing the restaurant industry, let’s now focus on the marketing strategies that guarantee an increase in profits.
Build a Website
We are in the digital era and almost everyone uses the internet in one way or another on a daily basis. Smart business people usually build a website so that they can easily reach out to the millions of prospective customers on the internet.
A website should contain all details about the organization. It is like a virtual store and should mirror the physical restaurant. Have photos of the meals your restaurant provides and enable reviews so visitors can gauge the customer service.
The website also needs to be responsive. People should easily find their way around it. If the intention is to make an order, they should do so in a few clicks. Remember to optimize the website for mobile devices since that is what most people use to access the internet.
Use Social Media
A firm customer base is crucial to your business’s success. Using social media is one of the most reliable methods of building lasting relationships with your existing and potential clients.
Creating a website for your restaurant business isn’t enough. To establish a solid online presence, you need to create social media accounts. Experts recommend that you use no more than three social media platforms. You could decide to use Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Being on social media will benefit your restaurant in many ways. This social media platforms are used by millions of people not only in Singapore but also other parts of the world. Identify your target audience and start posting relevant content.
Make sure you engage the target audience regularly and find out what interests them. This is also the place where you will get feedback from current customers and improve on your weak areas. If people love your restaurant, they will gladly share your content with friends and acquaintances. If done in the right way, social media significantly contributes to the growth of your business.
When you start a restaurant, you’ll obviously want to attract as any people as possible. There are millions of foodies in Singapore but you will be unable to reach a large audience if you’re new. This is where foodie bloggers come in.
You can increase your followers and have more people speaking about your restaurant and mentioning your restaurant to other people. Create engaging posts to build relationships with your clients and get them talking about your restaurant the same way you should. Engaging with your customs on social media helps you acquire customer feedback about the items on your menu and develop a loyal customer base. Also, it increases your number of followers organically.
There are hundreds, or even thousands of food bloggers out there. Some of them have massive followings. You could invite them to your restaurant just to have a taste of your meals and customer service. This is even better if you are introducing a meal to your menu.
You could then ask the bloggers to give a positive review of your website. Most bloggers won’t hesitate to promote your business if you provide a great service. When they eventually do, you will be able to reach thousands of potential customers.
Use photos to your advantage
If already have a restaurant or are considering starting one, you need to sharpen your photography skills. The rapid growth of Instagram shows that people respond to visual content. You will obviously need an Instagram account for this purpose in order to market your restaurant.
Post the best photos of your tasty looking meals. You shouldn’t limit it to Instagram alone though. Place photos of your meals on other platforms as well. If you are just starting out, you could use your smartphone. If you want to produce high quality photos, consider acquiring a professional camera and taking some photography lessons. You will be amazed at the results.
If you use Pinterest or Instagram to run your social media campaigns, then you need to develop gorgeous photographs for your food. Instagram is a platform that shows stories through pictures. Its followers is a good indication that people like visuals rather than text. It involves representing your restaurant in a creative way that engages your audience by consistently posting visually engaging content. Displaying quality images of your food will boost the organic reach and engagement of your posts.
Individuals expect you to update posts of your restaurant on a daily basis. They need food every day. You can use these techniques to ensure that your restaurant photos are successful:
- Adjust your camera settings to determine the best capture
- Utilise natural light
- Seek for a powerful contrast
- Make use of a white background
- Have one interest in the image
Although everybody likes a beautiful photo of food, ensure that you include a restaurant atmosphere too. It will draw in customers and give them a vibe of your eatery.
Adding hashtags to the content that you post on Instagram and Twitter is another great restaurant marketing strategy. They enable people to find your accounts on social media.
Hashtags can increase the growth and reach of your business on social media, leading to the overall success of your digital marketing strategy. They can assist you to boost the awareness of your brand, increase engagements, and increase the number of customers.
Research shows that in Singapore, posts that have hashtags get around 12.6% more interaction that posts that lack hashtags.
Instagram has over 20 million posts containing the hashtag #restaurant, over 23 million comprising hashtag #drink, and over 300 million carrying hashtag #food. This shows that people love posting about food and social media as the best place to promote your restaurant.
Using popular hashtags together with unique hashtags is the best approach. Your post will disappear quickly if you use only the popular hashtags, considering the new posts that get created every day using the popular hashtags.
If you have a unique hashtag for your restaurant, it encourages the clients you utilise it too. It develops a community around your brand and increases engagements. Ensure to use local hashtags for your posts to generate people in your geographical area.
Post Helpful Content
Posting content that is created based on the needs of your audience is another excellent way to develop long-term relationships with your clients. Publishing content that requests your audience to tag friends or asks open-ended questions is likely to get a unique engagement. They are among the simplest fun ways of promoting restaurants.
Some of these content may be recipes, revealing the source of the produce, educating the public on the health benefit of some of the ingredients used and even doing a coverage of the culture of the restaurant and the region it originated from (or is inspired by).
Creating engaging content will assist you to reach massive numbers of customers from your area at a minimal cost. By using the benefits that come from social media, you can retain your restaurant in front of the minds of your clients.
Repost Material from Your Customers
Another great restaurant digital marketing idea is to repost photos that customers may have taken in your restaurant or taking your food. It will result in massive shares, and you can also tag them in your post to recognise them for sharing your brand with others.
Connecting to your follows using content can assist you to make your brand look authentic. 92% of internet users in Singapore trust recommendations from other people rather than businesses. People trust their peers, so use this chance to promote your brand.
Content created by the users is a typical indicator of brand reliability and trustworthy. A customer who promotes your restaurant is the same as a customer who gives you an excellent review. Ensure that you add a sign in your restaurant that requests clients to take pictures of themselves having a meal in the restaurant. It is advisable to add a hashtag or a username that they can use to tag your restaurant in their posts.
Posting Customer Reviews
When you want to establish the credibility of your brand, use compliments, testimonials, and reviews from your clients. Studies show that 88% of Facebook users trust what other people say about businesses. Also, 70% of online sales can be related to social media. When you get a 5-star review on any online platform, ensure that you share the review on your social media platforms.
Reviews build trust with your audience. Posting a review that mentions a specific item on your menu can make new customers to visit your customers to have the same experience as the people reviewing it.
Increase Your Engagement and Brand Awareness by Boosting Your Posts
Paid advertising can improve your restaurant marketing strategy. Boosting your posts is an excellent way to enhance the engagement and awareness of your restaurant.
With the recent changes in Facebook’s algorithm, it is difficult for businesses to gain massive organic reach and engagement. Therefore, if you want to enhance your opportunity of interacting with the audience, you will need to use some paid marketing strategies. Without boosting your post, it will reach only 1% of your total audience.
The marketing elements that you can boost include specials, promotions, contests, or giveaways. Raising these elements increases interaction with your post. If you have a running competition and you would like to expand its reach, it is recommended that you allocate a larger budget and boost the post for a more extended period. However, you can use paid ads to promote your special offers and deals that are available for a limited period to increase your reach.
Use Reach Ads to Enhance the Awareness of Your Brand to Potential Local Clients.
Reach Ads is another paid marketing strategy that you can use to enhance the overall reach of your business. About 61% of individuals in Singapore require to come across something more than two times on social platforms before they decide to buy or visit your restaurant.
A reach campaign will make your ad reach the maximum number of people depending on your budget. It is an excellent approach when you have something that you need to share with a massive audience.
Reach ads are the most excellent when you want to add a call to action to your posts. Some of the call to actions you can include:
- “Learn More” to acquire more data on what the ad involves
- “Call Now” to contact your business
- “Get Directions” to know your location
Reach ads are very similar to brand awareness ads. The only difference is that brand awareness ads increase the reach of your business to people who are more likely to get interested in your what you offer. Brand and reach awareness brands do not need a dedicated marketing budget to undertake. They usually happen on a continuous monthly basis.
Work with delivery companies
The whole point of starting a website for your restaurant is so people can make orders online and have meals delivered to their doorstep. With all the competition in the industry, you will be miles ahead of your competitors if you can deliver food to a customer.
You will discover that this requires more personnel and expenses. Partner with food delivery companies such as Food Panda, Grab Delivery, Deliveroo, etc. This is a surefire way to increase the number of customers.
Promote Your Business Using Email Marketing
When you have built a following and have thousands of people flooding your website, you’d want to keep in touch with them. Remember there are probably hundreds of other restaurants planning to snatch your customers.
Sending out newsletters once in a while is a good thing. It is vital because it enables the restaurant to develop a strong relationship with the customers.
If for instance you have a new meal on the menu or are giving discounts on a certain date, you can let the subscribers know. Remember to keep the newsletter simple and occasional. Many people hate getting spammed by businesses.
You can do this by sending exclusive updates, future events, discounts, and weekly specials to your loyalty program members.
Email marketing is another great way to promote your restaurant in Singapore. Having a reward or loyalty program is an excellent strategy to boost your sales. The first step to add customers to your loyalty program is o get their emails. You can simply do this by showing a pop-up on your website or social media ads that request subscribers to subscribe to the program. Loyalty programs urge clients to keep visiting your site to get a free coupon or dessert.
After developing an email list, you can start to create an email marketing strategy to send some of the restaurant marketing ideas mentioned above.
Some of the aspects you can add to your weekly emails to subscribers include:
- Discounts – let your subscribers know you care about them by giving them exclusive discounts after time to time. For example, you can give them a 10% discount or a free dessert on their next sale.
- Exclusive updates – if you have a special offer or an exclusive seasonal product or service in your restaurant, mail marketing is one of the best digital advertising strategies that you can use to send updates to your subscribers.
- Upcoming events – inform your loyal customers first when celebrating the anniversary, opening an event on holidays, or having a special offer to enhance your relationship.
- Existing specials – let your subscribers know what you are offering to draw their attention and attract them back to your restaurant. Sen a different special in each one of your emails, but don’t overdo it.
In general, marketing your website using email marketing is the best method of increasing your customer loyalty and enhancing the long-term success of your business. By implementing the tips highlighted above, you can increase subscribers in your email list and attract the attention of your audience on a regular basis, if you run your campaigns right.
When it comes to promoting your restaurant on the internet, Yelp should be on your list of strategies. Reviews are very important if you want to grow any businesses because it enables you to know how customers perceive your products/services.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a Yelp account or not-your restaurant will still get reviews through other channels. If you want Yelp to work to your advantage, your account should include the location of your restaurant, prices of meals, any extra services and photos. Ensure that people can find what they are looking for.
When you’ve already set up an account, you will start getting reviews-both positive and negative. Remember to always be polite when replying to reviews, even if they are negative.
If a customer has put up a negative review, kindly inquire what you can do to improve. If people see that you actually accept mistakes and are willing to do better next time, they’ll be willing to give you a second chance.
Schedule your tweets
Twitter has gained millions of users in the past five years. It is one of the top platforms to market your restaurant. When you have gotten a few thousand people to follow you restaurant profile on Twitter, you can easily attract them to your restaurant.
The mistake that most restaurateurs make is to tweet without a plan. The goal of your tweets is to urge the follower to take action. If it’s in the morning, tweet about meals that people usually have for breakfast, accompanied by the necessary hashtags. Do the same for other times of the day.
Who doesn’t love a free meal? Some people visit specific restaurant simply because they offer coupons and discounts. There are many ways to do this. One way is to offer a free meal to anyone who signs up for your newsletter. This means that a new follower get to experience the benefits of buying from your restaurant from day one.
Another way is to advertise coupons and discounts on social media or on your site. Remember to offer these coupons and discounts regularly so that your customers can always have something to look forward to.
Target Nearby Neighbourhoods
Smart business people usually start a business after having identified the suitable environment. It could be a street that is highly populated, at a mall, near major business districts or place next to a school. This way, they are assured of a good number of customers each day.
The aim is to focus on neighbourhood traffic. When they are looking for a place to eat, they will naturally pick a nearby outlet. You can use Google ads to target your local area. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter also have the target-location feature in their ads.
Incentivise your staff
If you going to make your restaurant successful, your staff need to be good at what they do. If they do their jobs well and are friendly to all, they will encourage customers to come back. Share photos or even videos of your happy, smiling staff once in a while on social media. The public will see a happy employee and instantly view the restaurant as a good one. Make sure your staff are provided with tips, provide the better staff with bonuses and incentives and name Employee of the Month with cash and offs to motivate them to work harder and treat customers better.
It’s not every day that a restaurant gets featured in a major foodie publication or media agency. When this happens, share it on all the social media platforms you are part of. People might not give much attention to your restaurant but when they see a feature of it in a trusted media source, they’ll notice it.
Host Contests and Giveaways
When you want a long-lasting affiliation with your clients, it is essential that you give them value. This gives people a reason to follow you and remains interested in your brand.
Hosting giveaways and contests is an excellent way of giving value to your clients. Offer rewards to the consumers, and at the same time request them to invite more followers to your business. The number of customers to your restaurant increases as your online followers grow.
The key purpose of hosting contests and giveaways on social media is to boost your engagements and followers. By giving away something to the audience, you can need your followers to complete some simple tasks including:
- Following you on social media
- Like your posts
- Tag along friends
Try to run a giveaway for a month to give rewards like a gift card to your eatery and see the number of followers and engagements you will generate on social media.
Support local charities and fairs
We’ve talked about reaching out to internet users using your website. What about reaching out to the community? It is important to ensure that people living around recognize the restaurant. One way to do this is by attending fairs/exhibitions.
Local charities, for instance a fundraiser, brings together a community. It is the perfect moment to promote your restaurant. Look up local exhibitions/charities/festivals that are set to happen and volunteer to provide food for free or at a discount.
When people come across your restaurant they will recognise it as the restaurant that supports charity. This is good for your reputation as well as building brand awareness.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Singapore foodies often ignore paid ads and reviews because they feel they could be biased or paid by the restaurant. So often they would click on organic rankings on SERPs on Google.com.sg as they feel that the truly high ranking restaurants are there naturally because of their reputation.
So using an SEO agency to help you optimise your website would definitely increase your visibility online and obtain loads of bookings.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing involves promoting your restaurant website in search engines such as Google. Most people who search for restaurant services on the internet usually know what they want. Chances are they are looking for a restaurant like yours.
Google ads can help you achieve your marketing goals easily. Using these ads, is that you can target either the local, regional or an international audience. Your restaurant website appears above the normal results in the SERP and attracts more visitors.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) also produce the same results as with SEO only that it may take a little longer. SEO is the process of optimizing a site for search engines, such that it ranks higher for certain keywords. One way to do this is by acquiring backlinks from high authority websites.
Run Traffic Ads to Increase Traffic to Your Site
It is good to run traffic ads if you want to direct people to your landing page or website. It is similar to reach ads in that they are good when you need to add a compelling call to action. Traffic ads go well with the “Learn More” CTA to generate more traffic to your website or landing page because consumers will want to understand what your ad entails.
It is good to run traffic ads to your online marketing strategy for your restaurant to direct people to book for reservations on your website. It will enable your potential customers to learn more about your restaurant and menu before making a decision.
In the long run, this will increase the number of physical customers to your restaurant. Another great benefit of increasing traffic to your site is the increment of online orders.
Using paid promotions to boost the reach of your brand is a great online marketing idea for your restaurant. It will enable you to increase traffic to your website and restaurant within a short time, unlike the long-term organic game.
As you can see from the strategies outlined above, you can easily market a restaurant in Singapore. To ensure you are successful a few weeks/months into the businesses, analyse the industry to see which marketing techniques are appropriate.
While all the above restaurant online marketing strategies are a bit irresistible, it is not easy to accomplish this without an online advertising agency, hire professionals to do the marketing for you while you concentrate on improving your restaurant. Marketing is critical, but don’t give away your business just to gain customers, measure the outcome of various advertising strategies.
For digital marketing (SEO and SEM), do not hesitate to contact MediaOne. The company has a team of experienced individuals ready to improve your marketing techniques.