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The marketing game has changed a lot over the last couple of decades. Where marketing strategies of the 80s and 90s might’ve centered on flyers, radio slots and blimps (blimps were a huge thing back then, don’t try and tell me otherwise), things have changed. And they’re still changing.
The digital revolution of the last 20 years has resulted in a huge paradigm shift for the marketing industry. This shift affects everyone, even you, the small restaurant owner. The strategies you use to market your restaurant both now and into the future need to take into account these shifts in order to be as effective as you need or want them to be.
How do you future-proof your restaurant’s marketing efforts? As it happens, there are two major things that separate the marketing strategy of yesterday with the marketing strategy of tomorrow – being measurable, and being local.
Measurable Restaurant Marketing
What do we mean by measurable marketing? Think of a flyer put up on a wall. Sure, it might be on a busy street, and sure, if it’s a particularly eye-catching design you might expect that perhaps a quarter of those walking past will glance at it. But how do you know?
The marketing strategies of two decades ago were very limited in their measurability. Whether we’re talking newspaper ads, radio commercials or blimps, the best that any medium could offer would be an educated guess as to how many people it was reaching. Even television relied on approximate numbers, gauged off a sample size of less than one percent of the whole.
With the onset of digital marketing, that all changed. Marketing was no longer a one-way form of communication. Information could be both sent and received by the advertiser. You could get hard numbers on how many website visitors you had, or how many advertising clicks you enjoyed.
From these base level analytics, digital marketing measurability has exploded into the most valuable tool in any marketer’s toolkit. Facebook, for example, allows you to not only check on how many people saw a post, but also which of these people saw it organically and which were shown it through paid advertising, who clicked on it, and who engaged with it. It will also give an astounding amount of demographic information on the audience (such as sex, age, location and language).
Marketing measurability gives you the tools you need to be efficient with your advertising dollar. Why spend $50 printing up flyers when you can spend $10 on a social media platform, and get in front of the eyes of the exact audience you’re hoping to?; teenage girls from London who speak Spanish, for example.
Localized Restaurant Marketing
This marketing measurability leads beautifully into the second aspect of solid future restaurant marketing – advertising local.
Small restaurants have a natural advantage over larger chains. They can do things on a local level without it coming across forced or out of obligation. Small restaurants want to position themselves as an integral part of the local fabric; a place where you recognize the faces when you walk in, and where those faces recognize you right back.
There are many ways that you can capitalize on localized restaurant marketing. Sponsoring local events is one of the best, serving simultaneously as advertising and as support for a presumably worthy cause. But the future of restaurant marketing rests on-going hyperlocal in a digital sense.
The very same measurability offered by modern digital marketing techniques – with analytics on age, location and gender – can be used to localize your marketing efforts. Location-based marketing avenues are available on Google searches, social media platforms and mobile apps, and serve to once again make your advertising as efficient and effective as possible. And because you’re a truly local restaurant, with a visible profile in the area, these hyperlocal advertising campaigns can be some of the most productive marketing dollars you spend.
What’s the future of restaurant marketing? It’s measurable and it’s local, but perhaps most importantly of all, it’s digital.