In these tough times, restaurants can use all the free marketing they can get. If a pricey restaurant marketing consultant is not in your budget, read on to discover ways to get your eatery in the customers’ minds, without spending a dime.
1. Talk to your customers. Ask how they found you. If it’s not your usual source, follow up to see if you can connect with that niche market.
2. Don’t play by the rules. How about honoring one of your competitor’s coupons on a night with slow traffic? Or, offer a really attractive loss leader, one that garners you some serious buzz. Take a tip from the gas stations that offered gas for 10 cents a gallon at the height of gas prices—not only did they have lines stretching down the street, but they usually got free publicity from the local television news and newspaper.
3. Use technology. Submit your web site to the search engines, start a blog, open a Twitter account and figure out how you can use it successfully. Don’t have a website? Why not? You can start a blog easily and for FREE with Blogger or WordPress.
4. Collect customers’ email addresses. Used cautiously, email is a great, free way to speak directly to your customers and showcase your events. Just be sure not to spam your customers and make the subject line grab attention!
5. Get involved in the local community. Make a personal difference. It’s good for both you and your business. Volunteer and encourage your staff to as well or donate snacks and drinks to local groups working on improving your community.
6. Cultivate referrals. When you thank your customers for coming in, remind them to tell their friends how much they enjoyed their meal. Word of mouth is THE most powerful marketing tool you have.
7. Speak with confidence. People love a winner. Be sure your staff projects the same attitude.
8. Be honest. Build your customers’ trust with everything you do. People recognize when they are being treated fairly and honestly and they tell other people.
Erin Martin is the Online Editor of MustHaveMenus, an online company that provides restaurants with an online Menu Editor and high quality menu
templates. She blogs her thoughts on menu design trends and restaurant marketing strategies at http://blog.musthavemenus.com.