Implementing new tactics to increase volume, attract new customers, or adapt to the evolving landscape is an important part of a restaurant’s success — but they are only effective if your customers know about them.
While word-of-mouth and review sites will always be important in driving customers to your restaurant, developing your own restaurant marketing strategy is critical to driving business and creating loyal customers.
Here’s the good news: you don’t need to be a self-taught marketing expert or pour thousands of dollars into hiring an outside agency to create a winter marketing plan for your restaurant. Just focus on the important elements:
1. Keep your website up-to-date
According to a recent survey, 77% of diners look at a restaurant’s website before dining in or ordering out. That’s all the reason you need to make sure your website has your current menu, operating hours, and any additional information diners might need to know. Whether you have a web presence or are just getting started, DoorDash can help.
- If you already have a website, do a quick audit to make sure it reflects your current menu and operating hours. Then, add weblinks so visitors can place a DoorDash order directly from your site. Weblinks became the #1 volume driver for restaurants in 2020.
- If you don’t have a website, DoorDash Storefront is a great way to establish a web presence and provide (commission-free!) online ordering for your customers.
Make sure that your delivery channels are up to date. Ensure that titles and ingredient specifications are consistent. If you have a new item, put it in the title that it’s new, so your delivery customers can see the work you’re doing to expand your menu.
2. Keep it social
Your website isn't the only place customers will go to get the latest information about your restaurant. Be sure to share your current hours and menu updates on your social media channels. You can even use social media to run special promotions for your followers, which drives engagement and can increase your following. For example, on Instagram, you can add an “order food” button to your Instagram story which will enable followers to easily order food on DoorDash. For more guidance on social media, download our free Restaurant Social Media Marketing guide.
Your website isn't the only place customers will go to get the latest information about your restaurant. “Find new ways to market to your customers,” advised Ratman. His team developed their own email list in order to stay in touch with regular customers.
3. Promote your (delivery) offerings
If you’re new to the delivery world or just stepping up your game, you’ll want to make sure diners know that delivery is an option. DoorDash reaches 80% of Americans, so customers in your area will already be alerted that you’re on the platform. Plus, as a DoorDash restaurant partner, you’ll receive an in-store marketing kit with decals, stickers, and more to let your customers know where to find you for delivery when the temperatures drop or in-person dining isn’t an option.
4. Offer in-app promotions
The DoorDash Marketplace enables restaurants to offer exclusive promotions to their customers, like a $0 delivery fee on a customer’s first order, which can generate up to a 30% increase in new customers. Another popular promotion is ‘Order Again and Save,’ where customers who haven't ordered from you in the past 45 days get a 20% discount (up to $5) on their next order. Offers like these inspire 21% of dormant customers to come back and order again. You can sign up for in-app promotions directly in the Merchant Portal.
5. Don’t forget about search
Google and Yelp are two of the biggest search platforms for restaurants, so be sure to update your business pages on those sites with info about your current hours, dining protocols, and anything customers might want to know in advance. The more information diners can find before arriving, the more likely they are to choose your restaurant.
What’s your winter marketing plan?
When navigating a sea of changes, it’s tempting to stop focusing on marketing — but it is perhaps the single most important thing you can focus on. The more you reach out and engage customers, the more your business will grow.
For more marketing tips, download our free Getting the Word Out About Your Restaurant guide.
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