Everyone eats out. Our lives are so busy that even if we try to cook at home more often than not, some nights we have to go out. More and more consumers are going out for a bite to eat or even a drink after work. To capitalize on this long-held fascination that we have with dining out, restaurant owners have to become even more creative outside of the kitchen to draw in new diners.
These days, this means that restaurant owners need to take their marketing online – email marketing, loyalty programs, and social media marketing are all essential facets to a successful restaurant marketing campaign. To get some #inspo and attract new customers, here are 5 of the top examples of restaurant digital marketing campaigns:
1) KFC’s Location-Based Marketing
In 2015, KFC rolled out a new mobile marketing campaign (before mobile was truly first to a lot of advertisers). The campaign targeted consumers near locations of KFC restaurants to increase foot traffic. They used relevant messaging with both proximity and conquest targeting to promote awareness and decided to go this route because their research showed that KFC stores had a click-through rate that was 40% higher than the industry standard.
Finding that their most responsive demographic was busy parents with young families, KFC designed their mobile marketing campaign to heavily target this group while providing them with distances to the nearest KFC location.
2) Emoji Marketing (The Right Way)
Emoji marketing is fraught with danger for the average business owner. One wrong eggplant and the whole world can end (Not really, but we don’t suggest trying it). Now, McDonald’s is no stranger to millennial marketing strategies- they tend to do a decent job hitting these target demos, and this illustrates the brand’s understanding of young consumers.
This bold campaign by McDonald’s appeals to the younger market who are most likely to communicate using emojis via text or on social channels. The graphics are eye-catching and straightforward- embracing the ‘less is more’ ideal on ad copy that has become increasingly prolific over the last few years.
3) Domino’s Efforts To Take Back Their Reputation
Right at the end of 2010, Domino’s was struggling with a reputation as the ‘poor man’s Pizza Hut.’ Ouch. They were facing negative reviews, and customer claims that their crust tasted like cardboard and their sauce was the consistency of ketchup.
Then, they made perhaps the best decision- hiring marketing guru Russell Weiner, who directed their ‘Pizza Turnaround’ campaign. In this campaign, Domino’s released a series of self-deprecating, honest ads that were transparent about terrible reviews and the pizza’s flaws and then detailed the process of creating their new, improved pizza recipe.
It worked. Q4 profits in 2010 rose to $23.6 million- which was more than twice 2009’s number. Store sales were up 1.4% in 2010. This led to Domino’s successfully opening 1,800 new stores in 10 countries.
Transparency can boost restaurant revenue. The average restaurant can learn a lot about the ‘new’ approach undertaken by Dominoes. After this campaign, they started allowing customer feedback to inform business decisions. Customers were excited to taste the new recipe to see if they were heard by the brand (and the continued sales growth indicated that they felt validated.)
Domino’s continues to emphasize customer suggestions today, asking for customers to recommend delivery hotspots that don’t currently have coverage.
4) Panera’s Effective Loyalty Marketing Program
Loyalty programs are an invaluable marketing tool for restaurants to attract and retain customers- 76% of women and 73% of men are more likely to frequent a business that has a loyalty program.
Setting up a rewards structure that rewards customers for repeat business based on their buying habits is the key to success. Don’t let customers rack up points quietly! Panera is fantastic about this- remind them about the rewards they’re right on the cusp of getting with the points they have.
Panera sends out reminder emails to customers, urging them to redeem their rewards that they’ve won through the restaurant’s loyalty program. If you plan on taking the loyalty program route, then Qwilr has some beautiful signup templates you can use for your website.
5) Denny’s Provides Regular Incentives to Stop In For A Meal
90% of diners search for restaurant coupons or at least have looked once according to RetailMeNot. It’s common for consumers to search for coupons, deals, or specials from their phones- which is why emailing a special offer to customers is such a great way to engage customers in your restaurant marketing strategy.
Denny’s recognized that parents are the most likely group to dine at national chain restaurants and incorporates this knowledge into their email marketing campaigns, letting customers know about specials and current menu offerings/specials. Now, you don’t have to give every customer a 20% off their check deal- that would break the bank for the average small restaurant, but you can certainly take a look at the data behind your customers, segment your list, and offer deals to that segment only.
The importance of restaurant marketing is to let the diner drive the experience. The best restaurant marketing strategies often start with the customer and then solves a problem for them that goes beyond just purchasing food. Creating something online that adds value to your customers’ day and their common experience with your business will go a long way. Take a moment and think about how your business can go above and beyond to help consumers and move forward with any initiatives keeping this in mind.
Take the insights you have from your customers and turn that into action. Every good marketing person knows that you must first start by outlining campaign goals. Is the goal to attract new customers or to keep customers coming back to your restaurant (or even both)? Keep these goals in mind as you design the online experience with your brand- do you mean to entertain customers and build brand awareness or create more loyalty and transactions? Remain laser focused, track key metrics, and the path to success will not be fraught with danger, but brimming with success.
In this competitive industry, restaurants are also going to need a new restaurant point of sale that can help with marketing and loyalty programs, find out how Harbortouch’s restaurant POS system can help.