By Derrek J. Hull, Blogger-in-Chief
The National Restaurant Association, in concert with LivingSocial, recently fielded a study to better understand restaurant operators uses and preferences for certain marketing channels and how consumers engage and respond to them. The researching indicates that online media vehicles – Websites, email, social media, and daily deals – occupy a rightful place alongside offline or traditional marketing channels and that effective use of online media can enhance a restaurant’s brand, grow revenue, and attract new customers. Online marketing efforts also easily provide what consumers say they want in restaurant marketing materials: personalized offers and savings.
“Our new research outlines the challenges and opportunities of both offline and online marketing to help restaurant operators find the ‘sweet spot’ for promotions by identifying what consumers respond to and how various messaging vehicles are perceived," said James Balda, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of the National Restaurant Association.
A marketing strategy that is balanced and meets consumers’ expectations is the right approach, the research shows. And a healthy online marketing component, designed and executed thoughtfully and respectfully, can go a long way toward driving more business your way.
Key takeaways for online marketing include:
Know your customer: Your customers want messaging that speaks to them directly. Customize your messages to address their likes, locations, and lifestyles.
Connect online: Online channels, such as email, social media, and daily deals providers, are proven to better meet customers’ expectations and needs.
Extend your reach: Don’t make dramatic marketing changes, but do balance your marketing efforts with thoughtful online dialogue.
Build your reputation: Customers view restaurants that use online marketing as trustworthy, upscale, modern, and popular.
Join the conversation: When using social media, remember that customers consider social media their personal space. So lose the hard-sell approach here, and be respectful, conversational, and informative.
Full results were released at an education session at the 2012 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago, Ill. For more information and to review the full findings, please visit www.restaurant.org/onlinemarketing.