Another great question I get all the time is, ”Where do I get the best bang for my buck in marketing my restaurant?” This actually is kind of an old world thought. I think when people ask me this they are thinking, “Should I be putting it in a Yellow Pages ad? Should I be creating a newspaper ad? Should I try and get a radio spot?” The truth of the matter is the very best thing that you can do for now is connect with your customers. Think about it. If you had every customer who ever tried you was still a regular in your restaurant, you would be so far ahead of any of your competitors. It wouldn’t even be funny. So my number one recommendation, best bang for your buck is to build an email list.
Make sure that you capture an email for everybody that comes into your restaurant. Now you’ve got probably and arguably the best way to communicate with them, and you’ll hear all kinds of people, giving you all kinds of advice.
Email is absolutely the best mechanism to get your message to your customer. But the message cannot just be, “Here buy my stuff! Come to my shop! Come visit us!”
Here’s a special advice. If you do that, you’ll drive them away. They’ll drop off of your list. The communication that you have to have with your customers regardless of the medium that you’re using whether it’s email, whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s Twitter, any of the social medium platforms which by the way are free, and you can do a lot of the same kinds of things, so I suggest that you start getting your customers on Facebook and Twitter, but the message that you’re crafting to those people should be highly educational, and I can’t stress that enough.
Educational People like to be taught of something. Tell them the history of food. Tell them the history of your restaurant. Teach them your recipes. If you’ve got a secret recipe that your grandfather gave you and told you, share it! They will think you’re the greatest person on earth for sharing a big secret with them. So educate them.
Don’t blast messages at them, but the number one thing that you can do is get an email list. Do all kinds of campaigns. Do birthday campaigns. Do specials. Give them free dessert if you have to. It is absolutely the most, frankly, if I were giving you one little piece of advice, give them a free meal to get them on your email list. It’s the most valuable thing that you can have in your restaurant for marketing purposes. It gives you a connection directly between you and the end customer so that you can communicate with them, and think about it, if you had the email address of every single person that had ever come in your restaurant. Wow! It’s hugely powerful! You’re going to have a special event or something and you want to invite all of these people to come, you’ve got a direct path to them. Direct, right to their inbox, something that they check every single day.
So think about it. Think hard about it. Think about what you’re going to communicate to them, how you can educate them, how you can entertain them, what you can share with them, but not how you can advertise to them. It’s the most important concept, and then you take those same concepts and you roll them out onto the free platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.
Take pictures of your food and post it up on those. People love to see a good meal nicely displayed. So that’s my recommendation. If you’re going to invest money in just one thing, the best bang for your buck is absolutely an email list and for free you can use the same information on all of the free platforms for Facebook, Twitter, social media X, Y, Z, and when something new comes up, you can use it.