The National Retail Federation estimates that 41 percent of consumers will celebrate Valentine’s day with a special dinner or celebration at home. Valentine’s Day is often a busy time for restaurants, but many are now dealing with various challenges amid the pandemic, like no indoor dining or limited capacity as well as more customers opting for carry out. Whether your restaurant is welcoming guests for a romantic evening of indoor dining, or creating a special carry out menu for diners to enjoy at home, having a strong digital marketing strategy that communicates all aspects of your Valentine’s day specials helps ensure that your customers are kept in the loop about your offerings and can ultimately help boost Valentine’s day dining sales. This article includes some simple digital marketing strategies that restaurants can quickly implement ahead of the Valentine’s Day holiday.
Make Your Menu the Main Course
Whether you are offering a special Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu for two or romantic carry out options, your offerings need to be easily accessible to customers looking for local dining options. With the Marketing Rule of 7, it takes an average of seven interactions with a brand before a purchase takes place. By sharing your menu across all digital platforms including your website, review pages and social channels, customers have ample opportunities to see it and therefore decide to make a buying decision—whether that be making an in-person dining reservation or ordering food for delivery. By creating unique and timely menus that are clearly displayed, customers searching for restaurants on Google are more likely to see your restaurant pop up, since the website is populating as an active one.
Give Your Website All of the Love
Restaurant websites should have a clean, uncluttered feel and customers should easily be able to navigate between pages. As more customers are searching for and looking at restaurant websites on their phones, the page needs to be mobile friendly and optimized. This means fast-loading and easy to navigate on a phone while on the go.
Especially amid the pandemic where restaurant closures, protocols and precautions are consistently changing, ensuring your restaurant’s COVID-19 safety measures are clearly shown is imperative. This can include, mask wearing protocols, occupancy rules, socially distanced dining, Valentine’s day reservation instructions and more. Furthermore, customers should be able to seamlessly make a reservation on the website as most restaurants require one for dine-in.
By maintaining a website that’s consistently updated, Google can then recognize the restaurant as a credible referral when people are searching online creating more traffic to the website and new customers.
Leverage CRM Tools That Will Make Your Customers Swoon
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is key to helping restaurants stay connected to their customers and creating more profits for the restaurant. As a tool that collects a customer's demographic data, email address, contact information, social media details and more, CRM allows restaurant owners to use that data to solicit reviews, communicate regularly and run promotions through email and text. CRM allows restaurateurs to ensure their business stays top-of-mind with existing customers and should be a focus area in any digital marketing plan. With popular dining holidays like Valentine’s day, CRM is the perfect way to reach out to repeat customers with specials, deals and more. Emailing or texting customers directly keeps your restaurant top of mind for customers.
Solicit Customer Reviews – They Are Like Love Notes for Your Restaurant
Customer reviews can seem like a small aspect of running a restaurant, but they can tell a lot about how well a restaurant is running at all aspects. Analyzing reviews your customers send can give a snapshot of overall customer satisfaction and the customer service your restaurant provides, especially on busy holidays like Valentine’s day. Reviews allow other customers to get a sense of past experiences which they use to decide if they would like to try out that restaurant for themselves. Restaurants solicitating and welcoming reviews, whether positive or negative, allows customers to feel like they have a loyalty to that restaurant, and a voice, which keeps them coming back.
Positive reviews also act as a mini marketing campaign for your restaurant—they do the work for you of making sure positive experiences are shared online and with other customers. Having online review visible welcomes other customers to leave their own reviews and feedback, thus creating a cycle that continues to get the word out for your restaurant for free.
To bring back patrons and attract new customers for dine-in or carry out in the pandemic environment, restaurants need to pivot to digital marketing strategies that allow them to engage and connect with consumers. Having a strong digital marketing strategy that communicates your Valentine’s day specials ensures customers are kept in the loop about offerings and can ultimately help boost Valentine’s day sales, strengthen the restaurant’s brand and reputation and drive revenue for a much-needed boost this year.