Times are a-changin'. Over the past couple years, I've seen a drastic jump in demand for a wide-range of brands and businesses need to create and maintain a presence online. The problem is, we weren't taught how to do this in business school. Even though I was fortunate enough to take a Social Media Marketing class in college, it barely gave me the foundation I needed to really take advantage of the current state of the internet. What did give me that foundation was years of independent study, becoming a full-fledged practicing marketer, and talking to a lot of experts in the field.
Not everyone has the time to invest that much energy into marketing, so I've decided to share some "golden nuggets" of information that you and your team may find useful.
Since broad strokes are much less helpful than specific ones, I want to stuff this article with real tools that you can add to your "marketer's toolbox". Specifically, this article is going to focus on practical tactics that businesses in the restaurant industry can use to create value for your customers, expand your reach, and bridge the gap between your store and online platforms.
Tip Number 1: Start a Recipe Blog for Earned Reach.
Any good marketer worth their salt knows that the more value you can provide your customers the greater perceived value they'll have have for your brand. One of the best ways to do this is through a blog that's tailored to your ideal audience.
The millennial market segment reports a yearly spending power of around 600 billion US dollars and represents huge potential for local restaurants to tap into if done right. Millennials have a higher tendency to choose restaurant and grocery options that reflect their dietary wants and needs.
A recipe blog is a great way to build trust with the millennial demographic, and being forward with ingredients demonstrates dedication to their psychographic (interest-based) needs. The blog should be hosted on your website, and shared through social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Not to mention, cooking the meals at home creates a lot of opportunities to share what they made on social media, leading to plenty of earned exposure.
Tip Number 2: Use Scan-able QR and Social Codes to build Online Following and Email Lists.
Now that you're creating value for your customers on Social Platforms, let's grow your audience. The best audience is one that's receptive to your value proposition and offerings, so tapping into your current store traffic is a great starting point.
Most platforms feature scan-able codes that give customers a streamlined way to become apart of your online following. From there, you have many more opportunities to bring them back into your brand's ecosystem.
For example, pictured above is my company's Instagram nametag.
Nametags and scan codes like this can be placed on windows, signage, or flyers. These can be placed throughout your store, or handed out to the customer with purchase, potentially incentivizing further offerings.
One of my favorite tactics in the "scan-ables ecosystem" is the use of QR codes. QR codes are similar to scan codes and nametags, but with the added bonus of linking to a specifically chosen URL. Linking to a webpage that prompts your customers into submitting their email will allow you to build email and retargeting campaigns later.
Tip Number 3: Use Video Advertising with Verbal Passwords to Track Engagement and Drive Store Traffic.
My last tip will show you had to drive traffic to your store's location. Using the the emails you've collected, create a custom audience in your Facebook Ad manager to target your customers with laser-like precision. From there, you can deliver tailored ads that specifically call out the customer's behavior, for instance, stating they're seeing this because they scanned a QR Code, which will lead to higher conversion rates.
And here's where things get interesting: Using a video ad, tell your targeted audience about a secret passcode that incentivizes a purchase in store such as a drink discount or free appetizer. The password offering should be said at the end of the video, and shouldn't be placed in the ad's copy. That way you can make the most of your ad spot while also creating data on how well engaged your audience is as well as how well your ads perform.