Those who own a bar or restaurant can also harness the power of digital tools, integrating them into the offline portion of the business, to attract and increase their customer base and ensure a satisfying experience. How so?
There are some essential elements that a business must consider and use:
- having a website maintained and updated with a virtual tour of the premises and a full and detailed Google Plus profile: contacts, schedules, menus, children’s play areas, welcoming pets, and list of ingredients for allergies and intolerances
- give the option of booking a table online or introduce a home delivery service with online ordering
- appear among the top search results thanks to a good SEO that highlights your business’s speciality
- be mentioned in the main online guides and on review sites (eg. TripAdvisor), basic sources for customer decisions
- advertise online (Google AdWords, Facebook campaigns …)
- be present and active on social networks, maybe even keep a blog
- manage a newsletter that informs of the dish or specialties of the moment or, for the most loyal customers, offer secret dishes off the menu at their reservation
- propose limited offers (for those who share a post, post a photo of a plate or tag inside the venue), inventing games and contests to bring followers to tastings.
These elements combine to enhance the customer experience and increase your chances of being chosen over other locations. Social networks in particular allow you to stimulate and engage customers by encouraging empathy through storytelling a posting pictures and videos (of items, work behind the counter or in the kitchen, environments, and tools used), introducing the customer to the atmosphere of the venue. You can exploit the viral nature of content posted and encouraging customers to take pictures and to geotag allows for spontaneous and free advertising, generating positive word of mouth.
Events, themed evenings, concerts, exhibitions, presentations, cooking or cocktail making classes, tastings, workshops, etc. are some activities that can be organized to promote the business and make a social and cultural reference point. This objective can bring a considerable return in terms of notoriety and savings. Also, establishing partnerships with other commercial activities and accommodations are more traditional strategies, but that if well thought-out and managed, may lead to interesting and productive partnerships for all the players involved.
For an effective promotion, it is important to use integrated online and offline tools and provide a consistent image and definite identity; all marketing strategies must therefore converge in this direction. Keep in mind, though, that a good advertisement attains results if the product is up to it!