marketing tips for restaurants

Customers fill tables. And regular customers fill tables repeatedly!
Create a steady stream of patrons by staying in regular communication with your guests. They’ll become more loyal to you, stop in more often, and be more likely to bring their friends with them.

The easiest, most effective way to build that dialogue is with email marketing — by using email newsletters and promotions you regularly send to them.

That’s why a list of your customers’ email addresses is a real asset to your business. And it’s so easy to build that list quickly and at little cost.

Get ready: Start building your list

  • Ask callers seeking reservations if they want to receive your email newsletter.
  • Add Constant Contact’s “Join My Mailing List” button to your website so people can join your list.
  • Make it easy for recipients to tell their friends about you with a “Forward to a Friend” link.
  • Request customer emails on your POs or online ordering or online reservation system.
  • Add space to your comment card for people to sign up.
  • Put tent cards on your tables with a teaser asking if diners want the inside scoop or exclusive offers from your restaurant.
  • Use a fishbowl on your counter to collect sign up forms, or business cards. Offer a weekly or monthly prize — like discounts or gifts from your restaurant or other local vendors. Announce the winners in your newsletter, and add everyone in the bowl to your mailing list.
  • Have your waitstaff provide enough sign-up cards in your check folios for everyone at the table.

Get set: Here’s what to do with your list!

  • Ask your customers what they want to hear about from you — consider using a Constant Contact Online Survey to quickly and easily collect this information.
  • Segmenting lets you subdivide your master mailing list into smaller lists that group customers together by their interests. It allows you to create truly targeted communications that directly speak to customers.
  • Offer them the choice of receiving different newsletters on certain topics (e.g., wine dinners, cooking classes, corporate catering) or to get special promotions (e.g., local sports team victories, snowy weather promotions, last-minute deals or new menu specials).
  • Collect customers’ birthdays or anniversaries. Every month, send a special discount or offer to those celebrating their big day.
  • Host an event like a chef’s dinner, cooking class, or wine tasting to establish a bigger presence in your community, get publicity and attract new customers. Ask the attendees if you can add them to your mailing list.

More Ideas:

1. A tent card you can put on all your tables, providing a constant reminder to patrons throughout the meal that they should sign up.
2. A check folio card your servers can include with the bill at the end of the meal.
3. A handout card your servers, hostess, or maitre d’ can provide to customers at the table or as they wait to be seated.

Quick Tip #1
Want to get a lot of addresses fast?
Start a month-long contest for your waitstaff with a prize to the person who’s gotten the most email addresses from customers. Reward them with a prime shift, a gift certificate, a free meal, or a cash bonus!

Quick Tip #2
Hold a monthly drawing for a gift certificate open to new people who provide their email addresses to you that month.

Quick Tip #3
Use Constant Contact Email Archive to turn your email newsletters into website content. You’ll keep your site refreshed easily, and give people a great peek into your establishment and all that you offer patrons.

Quick Tip #4
Use our Share Button to point to your newsletters on your social media pages like Facebook and Twitter.

Quick Tip #5
Many restaurants send birthday promotions offering patrons a discount on their meal only. Why not offer an anniversary promotion? You’ll attract couples who will be in a celebratory mood to splurge, and who may likely purchase higher-profit offerings like cocktails and wine.

Try Constant Contact for free with a 60-day trial and start reaching out to your prospective customers.

restaurant website

Do you know what it takes to get prospects TO your website and filling your tables? What types of things KEEP visitors coming back?

Many of these features serve multiple purposes. Besides providing fresh information, communication with your visitors, and allowing them to easily locate all the info they could possibly want on your site, these features keep prospects on your site longer and ensures return visits - ALL helping your search engine ranking!

Following are great ways to do just that - as well as personalizing your website and online presence with great features visitors are sure to love:

  • Social sharing icons (like, share, tweet, email, etc) on event or calendar pages and photo galleries to encourage your articles are in front of more people - VERY important
  • Inclusion of meta information - keywords, meta description, keyword rich titles
  • Menus for people to peruse, plan, download and print if needed or share with a friend.
  • Inclusion of social media links to encourage higher interaction with prospects "Like us on Facebook"
  • Mobile Ready/Responsive websites encourage more visits and searches while on the go - 85% of local searches happen on mobile devices.
  • Subscribe form - this helps you to stay in touch and further target those people who are interested in hearing about your upcoming events, parties and goings-on at your restaurant
  • Events listed on the site - include happy hour days and times, musical guests, upcoming wine dinners, theme parties, holiday happenings, holiday closures, etc
  • Reserve online - there are many ways to integrate an online booking program right into your POS sytem. Research what works with your POS or talk with your sales representative.
  • Contact information including directions, map, parking availability, hours and other pertinent information your guests might need.

Want your website to rank higher? Contact us!