Restaurant Marketing – Targeting your customers.
It’s all too easy to waste money and resources by doing blanket advertising. A prime example here is the Yellow Pages, you pay mega money for mini exposure. These type of telephone directories are dying off, you only have to look at the size of it to realise they are fighting a losing battle to keep advertisers. If you are still using Yellow Pages then it should not be for more than a one line listing, with your restaurant name, address and phone number, which is free.
Ask the next 10 people you see if they can remember the last time they looked in the YP. Then ask them when was the last time they did an online search through Google, Yahoo or one of the other search engines. Look online for your style of restaurant in your city by doing a Google search. A map will appear on page 1 with several flags indicating those restaurants in your area. You should be there too, it’s free!
The moral of the story – if you want to use blanket advertising, pick the free options, there are many of them by the way.
In most cases you will be looking to find much more targeted options, however, you first have to understand exactly who your customers are and who your potential customers are. They might not be the same. If you are looking to expand your offering by opening more hours, for different meals or by providing ‘off-site’ catering (delivery, take-away etc), the customer profile may be different. This is one of the major reasons why lots of restaurants, who decide to open for lunch, struggle with their customer numbers. They have not taken into consideration that the customer profile may be different. Your food offering has to match the customer profile and vice versa.
Look at your typical customer and decide how you would describe him/her. Work out the profile or demographics of your customers and then make a list of where you would find more of them. That is the area that you want to target your marketing at. It’s very important to have a strategy to reach your typical customer, if you look at twitter or facebook, you may find local groups that fit the bill, then you can strike up a conversation with that group.
Another way to approach your ideal customer is to use your cusrrent customer base. People tend to be cliquish and they will associate with others like themselves or who have the same interests or professions. Builders tend to know other tradesmen, shopkeepers tend to know other shopkeepers, lawyers other legal eagles. I’m sure you get the picture, but just one more. Stay at home mums know other stay at home mums and they want to drink coffee, have lunch and talk about everything.
Once you have isolated your ideal customers, you can then start to find them, research local websites to try to find where they hang out online, look for forums or find the streets where they are likely to live. Make an attempt to get your restaurant to be the ‘in’ place for your target group, by providing the best facilities for that group, whether it be internet access, a relaxing bar area, private dining etc.
When you have identified where you can find them, you will then know the best way to promote your restaurant to them. So begin right now by identifying exactly who you want to gain as your new customers.