Britons scoffed more than 100m discounted meals during the August Eat Out to Help Out scheme – but what are you doing to capitalise on the scheme now it’s finished?
Some operators such as Gaucho are continuing the initiative at their own expense for a while, thanks to the droves of customers it brings in.
But if that’s not your choice, now that customers have made the psychologically-important move back to your restaurant, it’s a great opportunity to continue engaging with them to encourage them to come back again and again.
Different hospitality operations have different levels of marketing support, of course, and not everyone has a whole marketing department at their disposal.
So today we launch a new series, written by an award-winning PR professional, to pass on best practice tips on how to promote your business and engage well with your customers.
This week’s top tips – how to reach your customer’s heart
Start thinking about who your customers are. Where do they come from? What age group are they? Socio-economic type? Singles, couples, families? Typical spend? See if you can group them into three or four typical ‘personas’.
Now you have identified ‘segments’ of your client base, think about what each group actually wants. What do they order? When do they come in? Do they book and order online? Eat-in or takeaway?
Your restaurant management technology can help a great deal here, capturing a complete set of data that can be segmented to support your own instincts and knowledge.
Now, based on the preferences you have identified, think about what incentives to offer each persona. Couples might appreciate a romantic free glass of prosecco with their next meal; families not so much – complimentary soft drinks for the kids could work, though.
Avoid sending the same offer to everyone, as you stand a good chance of missing your target – or even of causing offence.
For instance, if a customer has never ordered alcohol with a meal, it’s a possibility that they do not drink. Again, your restaurant management technology’s loyalty functions can provide this kind of detail.
Send out your offer. Remember, you may have taken someone’s email address as part of the fight against coronavirus, but under data protection rules, you MUST have specific permission from your customer to contact them. Why not ask customers to tick a box to give this permission when you take their details?
Your emailed offer doesn’t need to be fancy, but it should be short, friendly and to the point. Address your customer, and outline the offer straight away.
Watch this space for more in this NFS guide to marketing your hospitality business. We’ll help you to:
Understand your customers better
Create targeted offers that will appeal to them
Learn how to use different channels including email, SMS and Facebook
Use restaurant management technology to drive successful loyalty programmes
Create a long-term strategy for customer loyalty and rewards
Use social media to create a community of engaged customers
Send fraud-proof voucher campaigns
We’ll even provide you with some sample emails and social media posts that you can adapt to your own operation.