Knowing how to market for a restaurant is an essential part of every restaurant business plan, which is why you should take the time to ramp up your marketing strategy with a targeted approach. Having a plan will save your restaurant both time and money by being more efficient with minimal effort or expense. When you prioritize marketing while staying on budget, you can easily build up a loyal customer base, attract new people, and grow your business. In this blog, we’ve outlined a few easy, inexpensive ways to jumpstart your marketing game plan, including money-saving marketing tips for restaurants that are ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. 

Boost online presence

The most direct way for restaurants offering food delivery to reach their main demographic—people up to age 35—is through social media platforms. Take the time to build a following on social media platforms and engage with the community by tracking your online reviews and responding to them. Additionally, you can boost the online presence of your restaurant by targeting one channel, like Instagram, which is great for beautiful, mouth-watering photos of your dishes. For the best results, we recommend posting frequently and consistently and researching the best hashtags. 

Since 90% of consumers research a restaurant online before choosing to order delivery, it makes sense to look at other ways to increase SEO rankings. Along with building up a following on social media, you can also boost rankings by writing guest blogs on popular sites and appearing as a guest on podcasts. You may even want to consider creating your own podcast about a topic that’s relevant to your business.

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Create a high ranking SEO website

When you optimize your website, it allows you to rank higher in online searches, giving your restaurant the exposure it needs to stay competitive among other establishments in the area. An easy strategy for increasing your ranking in local organic search results is to optimize NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number)—simply include this vital information at the top of your website. 

And since people love to read online content, include content marketing in your plan. Not only will it help boost your rankings in local online searches, but it also gives you the opportunity to inform and educate new and loyal customers. Invest in creating a blog for your website and sending out regular email newsletters with updates, news, or other relevant content. Including keyword phrases in titles and headlines to your website pages and blog posts will also help boost SEO rankings.

Promotions & loyalty reward programs

According to recent research, promotions for first-time customers can be an effective way to help get new people in the door. In fact, 45% of people reported that loyalty reward programs would encourage them to order food delivery more often, helping restaurants maintain a loyal customer base. Remember: as a restaurant manager, your main goal with first-time orders is to turn them into repeat customers. 

DoorDash’s Try Me Free option allows you to draw in new customers with free delivery. Another popular promotion is the DashPass, where subscribers get unlimited free delivery on any orders over $15. Since every restaurant has different needs, we recommend experimenting with several promotions and reward programs to determine the most successful ones and use them as an ongoing part of your marketing plan. 

Email marketing campaign

There are many reasons why your marketing efforts should include an email marketing campaign. For one, it’s an affordable and effective way to reach out to new and regular customers. When you build an email marketing list, you can use email to help increase sales, boost website traffic, get new customers, and share updates about your restaurant. You can also use it as a platform to inform customers of promotions and freebies. Like other content marketing (including blogs, podcasts, and your website), email marketing can also be used as a branding tool. Be sure to be consistent in your messaging by including your brand colors, theme, and logo in all of your customer communications with customers. If you can, customize your emails for different groups (e.g., one-time customers vs. regulars) instead of sending one mass email. The messaging should also be relevant and personalized based on customer needs and expectations. 

Expand your reach with online food delivery

One of the easiest and most effective ways to expand your marketing reach is by partnering with a third-party food delivery platform. When you sign up for DashPass, your restaurant will be included on the DoorDash online directory, giving you instant exposure to potential customers in your area. These built-in marketing tools allow you to take advantage of DoorDash’s huge online reach with minimal spend on your end. 

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The main takeaway? Because most consumers look online when searching for a place to order food, restaurants need to invest in an online marketing strategy. Social media, third-party food delivery platforms, and a professional, SEO-friendly website are effective and low-cost ways to reach new customers. The best aspect of these tried-and-true marketing tips for restaurants is that they’re affordable and targeted, minimizing risk as restaurants test these digital channels.

If you’re wondering how to market for a restaurant, you’ll find more marketing tips for restaurant owners and the latest industry trends at the DoorDash blog

Ready to grow your business with online food delivery? Sign up for DoorDash for Merchants today.