Whether your restaurant has an actual mobile restaurant marketing app or just a mobile-friendly, search-friendly website, the right digital marketing can be a revenue generator by giving new visitors reasons to visit and loyal customers reasons to come back.

5 Restaurant Digital Marketing Darlings Boost Customer Attraction and Retention

Like it or not, the battle for the hearts and minds of restaurant patrons might be won online as well as in the kitchen. Here are five ways to engage local consumers using digital restaurant marketing tools so you can grow your restaurant faster.

Once a ‘set it and forget it’ type of placeholder for many restaurants with a job of doing nothing more than displaying contact information, directions and a menu, today, restaurant websites and restaurant apps must be constantly updated and be designed to attract and engage local customers.

The more your restaurant’s website (or restaurant app) is optimized to attract local consumers via online search, intrigue them upon arrival and give them reasons to subscribe to updates and visit again, the more likely they are to become first time, then repeat and then long-time loyal restaurant customers.

When it comes to improving your website, including how it displays on mobile devices (which are all important in the restaurant industry, where consumers often take action within minutes after searching for a restaurant online) it’s all about two things:

1. What does the site visitor want to do? and
2. What do you want the site visitor to do next?

Making it easy for restaurant website visitors to do what they want to do is paramount if you want to bring more of them in the door. But landing a new customer is not the end-game, it’s the beginning. Once you have them on site and they got the information they were looking for, what’s next?

Your answers to the first question will get them in the door. Your answers to the second question will determine whether they become repeat customers, leave reviews, subscribe or follow your restaurant’s social pages, recommend your restaurant to their networks, develop loyalty and so much more.

If your restaurant’s website is still in placeholder mode or your restaurant app doesn’t seem to be helping you attract new customers, now could be the ideal time to improve your digital marketing game with these five restaurant marketing ideas.

Attract and Retain Customers with these 5 Restaurant Digital Marketing Ideas

Use Your Vibe to Entice

Google My Business and most restaurant ordering apps give you the ability to post photos (and sometimes even videos) that give customers a peek at the action going on in a given restaurant in real-time. You might not want to post a live stream of your restaurant online (but you could if you wanted to), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t post real-life photos on your restaurant app or website showing happy restaurant customers to entice website visitors to become real-time visitors themselves.

Allow for Online Check-In and On-the-Way Notifications

Allowing regular customers (customers who are members of your loyalty program) to check in online or notify you they will be arriving soon could be a great perk for customers who patronize your restaurant frequently. During busy hours this could help push your most loyal patrons to the front of the line, reinforcing the relationship and affinity they have with your brand. You can also make updates to your website or restaurant app in real time showing any wait time.

Reward Social Payments

Every time a happy restaurant customer posts a photo of their favorite entrée or to-die-for cocktail online, they are paying you with a social signal. Use your restaurant marketing app to generate more social shares and check-ins by rewarding customers for these online endorsements, such as entering each into a prize drawing, sending them exclusive offers or upping their loyalty rewards. One great way to track these activities is to promote use of a unique hashtag that applies to your restaurant. Tie rewards for social payments to your loyalty program as another way to reward your biggest brand advocates.

Trending Menu Items

While some restaurant goers like to stick with one or two favorites, many would probably come out more often if they were looking forward to trying something new each time. One way to highlight things on your restaurant menu customers might not have tried yet would be to show a trending menu items page or app on your website and social networks showing which appetizers, salads, cocktails, entrees or desserts are popular in your restaurant right now. Besides helping to suggest something new, it also essentially provides social endorsement.

Test Market an Item of the Week

If you are introducing new menu items or tweaking old favorites, promote awareness of these changes on your website, social networks, and in email and text marketing with a test marketing program. Allow customers to ‘opt in’ and give them the option of trying the new item with a special offer or a free tasting with their meal.

 

Great networking skills can translate into new opportunities, more leads and sales, and higher retention and referral rates. Use the networking skills laid out in this infographic to find out whether your networking skills are up to snuff.

Networking Skills Infographic: 10 Things the Best Networkers Understand

Effective networking is a talent that comes naturally to a lucky few. For the rest of us, it’s important to decipher the elements that the best networkers already understand so that we, too, can enjoy the benefits that strategic networking can generate.

There’s an old saying that says “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Knowing the right people (i.e., having the right people in your network) might be the key to landing a new job, filling the sales funnel, keeping important clients engaged and generating coveted referrals.

Your network (noun) consists of the people you know; networking (verb) are activities you can engage in, in order to grow your network strategically. Adapted from the Business Insider networking skills infographic below, here are eleven things that talented networkers understand, that you can master, too.

Infographic – 10 Ways to Test Your Networking Skills

1. It’s not business, it’s personal.

Although networking is a business activity and – done well – produces business outcomes, most networking occurs in social settings, giving participants a better opportunity to assess whether you are someone they want to do business with based (at least in part) on whether they enjoy spending time with you as a person.

2. Pitches are for closers, not openers.

While many sales professionals hope a great pitch will mean easy conversions, elevator pitches work best when a lead is ready to buy. When networking, focus on introducing and exploring topics that speak to customer needs, and save the elevator pitch for closing time.

3. Everyone doesn’t need your card.

Exchanging business cards at the end of a conversation, instead of the beginning, gives you an opportunity to write something personal and important about the exchange on the card that you give away as well as the one you receive. This can make it more likely for a prospect to reach out to you, or help you remember what was important to the prospect when you reach out to them after an event.

4. Spend more time listening than talking.

When you meet up with a likely prospect at an event or through networking activities, it might be hard not to jump into talking mode right away. The more time you spend listening (really listening!) and assessing the prospects real need, the more likely you are to deliver the information that will be compelling to them.

5. Have a book of short stories.

When you get an opportunity to talk about what you do, try telling stories about customer resolutions that are likely to relate to the audience at hand instead of talking products and services. Talking about customer outcomes, gains and resolutions helps your prospect envision these results as probable for themselves, if they choose to do business with you.

6. It’s not a numbers game.

Sales processes are often viewed as a numbers game. The more quantity of leads that get put into the funnel, the more that will convert to real sales by the end. When it comes to networking, all connections are not equally valuable. Spend time seeking out and cultivating quality contacts vs. trying to get as many people as possible into your network.

7. There is real work involved in netWORKing.

From the work you do in advance of activities to research and prepare to moving out of your comfort zone to engage people you don’t know, and give them a reason to want to know you too, the more work and strategy that goes into your networking efforts, the more return on investment you are likely to realize.

8. A network isn’t a circle, it’s a sphere.

A circle is a flat, one dimensional shape, while spheres are multi-dimensional. If you only connect with people you can sell to then you are merely skimming the surface when it comes to networking. You will be missing out on potential referrals and the chance to cultivate relationships with people who do not need what you have to offer now, but will in the future.

9. What goes around, comes around.

Networkers who are constantly trying to sell or engaging only in self-serving activities aren’t going to be perceived as valuable relationships. The best networkers understand that a lot of what constitutes effective networking are activities that are not self-promotional or self-serving at all. Connecting people with resources and solutions, sending links to interesting articles or apps, and getting involved in charitable and civic endeavors can all make you a more valuable networking partner, and keep you top-in-mind for when prospects do want products or services like yours.

10. Know when it’s time to move on.

Knowing how to end a conversation is just as important as how you begin it; and maybe more. Time is valuable. Whether you are connecting with someone over coffee or at a networking event where many other people are present, have a plan for ending the conversation that plants the seed for future interaction or gives people a reason to follow up with you (or welcome your follow up call or email) later on.

Infographic - 10 Ways to Test Your Networking Skills

With a little creativity, the same retail marketing ideas big chains use at the point of sale during the checkout process can be applied by boutique retailers as well.

3 Point of Sale Marketing Lessons Boutique Retailers Can Steal from Big Competitors

Coming up with fresh marketing ideas to draw consumer attention away from the ads of large retail store competitors can be a challenge for small retailers. These scaled-down retail marketing ideas come straight from the marketing playbooks of the big players in retail, and can help your local small business compete better.

Practical Ecommerce reported on the checkout process of ten leading online retailers. With a little creativity, studying the way large retail chains increase revenues at the point of sale can be applied by boutique retailers as well.

These three retail marketing ideas that can help local, independent retail stores grow their business by encouraging shoppers to spend more at each visit, registering and following up with customers and by facilitating deeper, more loyal relationships between consumers and independent retail stores.

3 Big Chain Retail Marketing Ideas Scaled for Small Boutiques

Boutique Retail Marketing Idea #1: Keep People Shopping

Retail e-commerce sites often give shoppers multiple opportunities to resume shopping rather than check out (when they place an item in the cart, when they view their cart, before finalizing checkout, etc.) Boutique retail merchants can help keep people shopping, longer, by:

  • Making sure they have a larger bag or cart than they need
  • Relieving shoppers of items they are hand-carrying by offering to hold them at the checkout area (which may also reinforce the inclination to buy the item, rather than thinking about it or putting it back)
  • Placing items which shoppers need to try on into a dressing room so they can find additional items to try
  • Offering to store other bags while they shop (shopping bags, heavy coats, umbrellas or other encumbrances they may have arrived with)

Boutique Retail Marketing Idea #2: Register Customers and Follow Up

Try to collect at least one piece of customer contact information at the point of sale with every transaction, beginning with email address and mobile phone number. Let customers know at the point of sale that if they provide you with an email address and/or mobile phone number, you will follow up by sending them a special offer, a special thank you reward, an invitation to future sale events or to join your loyalty program – and then DO IT!

Boutique Retail Marketing Idea #3: Talk Rewards

Some e-commerce sites not only add shopper’s item to their cart, they also tell them how far away in purchases they are from earning additional rewards (like free shipping).

As a boutique retail merchant, you have the ability to create a truly unique loyalty and referral reward program for your customers. Your plan could include points, dollars or other measures by which they reach the next level of rewards, and you could also get creative and partner with other local retailers for cross-promotional rewards and offers – something big retail rivals wouldn’t take the time to do.

Use text and email marketing to send a monthly update to all customers who participate in your rewards program about their status and suggest ways that they could move to the next level. Hold loyalty rewards member-only events once or twice a year as a “thank you” and the means to introduce new items or blow through old inventory.

For customers who have registered with you for updates but are not members of your rewards program, send email and text message marketing highlighting the benefits of joining your program and what rewards they might have already earned – but missed out on – based on past shopping at your boutique.

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Got loyalty? If your point of sale solution isn’t helping bring customers back, it might be time to upgrade. We have credit card processing solutions and POS equipment that can help facilitate point of sale loyalty marketing with each and every transaction. Reach out for a free, no-obligation quote to find out more:

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If your business depends on in-store shopping, or you just want to make your business more profitable, here are five retail marketing strategies that can help.

Study: In-Store Shoppers Spend More than Online Shoppers

No matter how convenient, eCommerce can’t rival in-store shopping when it comes to physical experience, and it might show up on the bottom line. A First Insight Report found that 71 percent of shoppers spent more than $50 shopping in-store while only 54 percent did the same when shopping online. For businesses that depend on attracting and selling to local shoppers, tweaking their retail marketing strategy might help attract more of these shoppers.

Even popular retail giants that spend millions on marketing and advertising can struggle to attract the numbers of in-store shoppers they want to see, despite facilitating (and not fighting) the new consumer penchant for showrooming (researching and shopping in-store, and they buying online, usually to get the lowest price). So if it’s not about big money, retailers who creatively re-think their retail marketing strategy could be the ones to get more local shoppers back inside their brick-and-mortar stores.

5 Retail Marketing Ideas to Boost In-Store Foot Traffic

Come Up with an In-Store Only Gimmick

While differentiation is an important part of marketing, it’s not always easy to pull off. A gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something stand out from competitors. A gimmick can even be developing a special feature for the sake of having a special feature.

If nothing about the customer experience at your business is unique – quirky – special – or different from the experience customers can expect from competitors, including e-commerce buying options, then why should they come to your brick and mortar store to buy?

Speaking of in-store marketing gimmicks: Fast food giant Arby’s recently discovered a traffic-generating gimmick, albeit by accident. Having launched a marketing campaign with the tagline We Have the Meats® along with a photo showing Arby’s meat selections stacked atop one another, they responded quickly by making the Arby’s Meat Mountain available by customer request, even though it’s not officially on the menu. News of this $10 meat-lovers delight quickly spread via viral means and brought consumers in-store to see if they could tackle it.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em: Sell Online as Well as Off

Brick and mortar retailers may be able to significantly boost revenues during the holidays and all year long by adding a shopping cart that both local and remote customers can use, incorporating shipping and handling fees into pricing in order to sell online without increasing shopper costs, and stepping up email marketing and social media efforts.

Stepping up communication is critical to attracting local customers. Engagement via social networks boost top of mind awareness and makes your content and offers highly shareable. Being present in your customer’s email inbox at the right time means that when they are ready to buy, they are going to remember to visit your store online or offline while researching their options, early in the buying process. Extending customer-exclusive offers via email, text messages (SMS) and social networks can be an especially meaningful way to reward your most loyal customers and keep their business in-house. Holding “flash” sales with offers only extended via email marketing, text (SMS) marketing and social networks can be an effective way to drive traffic during slow hours or help slow movers make their way off the shelves.

Use cash advance financing to add a web store to your website!

Expand your business with brick-and-mortar or online, virtually, by adding e-commerce to your list of shopping options. Adding a shopping cart to your web site – or building a whole new web site in order to accommodate online ordering, call-ahead ordering, inventory queries and so on can be out of reach without adequate working capital. Apply for one of our retail business loans and find out how much working capital may be available to help you grow your retail ecommerce or brick and mortar store.

Expand Engagement Campaigns Over Advertising Campaigns

The cost of traditional advertising has been prohibitive for most small businesses and can be even more expensive when a corresponding return on investment does not materialize. Plus, advertising is often a one-and-done proposition, requiring constant reinvestment in order to maintain brand awareness and put offers in front of target audiences.

Engagement, on the other hand, goes deeper, lasts longer and – maybe best of all – costs far less than advertising. A brick-and-mortar Main Street business can engage its local target market by stepping out of its location and into the community, being present for community projects, supporting local charities, donating and time and resources toward local people in need and providing resources beyond products and services for local consumers.

Find out what else interests your customers – and give it to them. By making your web site as well as brick-and-mortar business location more valuable to your target audiences, you give them more reasons to visit, refer others and create buzz about your business.

Put VIP customer-exclusive events back on the calendar. While we may be more “connected” thanks to technology than ever before, digital connection does not always replace face-to-face engagement. Give your customers and prospects the opportunity to take part in hands-on demos, product sampling, education, exhibits and other in-store events during hours that are closed to the general public. Giving away event grab bags, holding substantial event-only prize drawings or amping up your event with music, wine tasting and food can also help boost event attendance. Hold one or two significant events – perhaps with other retail marketing partners – each year that will get customers buzzing inviting their friends to visit your business and move people into your organization’s insider “circle of friends.”

Is there an organized “shop local” effort operating within your community? If not, now might be the perfect time to move your local business networking group from brainstorming into strategic action. Shop local activities help to educate local customers about the economic and civic benefits of spending their money at local establishments instead of online or at remotely-headquartered chain stores. When local consumers realize that – just by shopping – they are helping to improve their own community, they may be far more likely to go out of their way, or even spend more, in order to do so.

Master Local Search Optimization (or Local SEO)

Google has made it abundantly clear that local businesses must optimize their web sites for search and provided guidelines for doing so. Publishing content on a regular basis per local SEO best practices will bring more local web traffic to your site, which in turn can bring far more customers to your brick and mortar location to buy.

As you develop content for your website, be sure that your on-page content includes phrases that local shoppers would naturally type into a search engine when looking for the type of solutions your business provides. Use these phrases where it makes sense in your online content in order to help those local shoppers find your business more often in online product or service research.

To help you get started, here is a quick guide to SEO in 2019 as well as an article specific to local SEO, titled Local Search Trends from 2017-2018 from searchenginewatch.com.

Accommodate the Convenience-Driven, Multi-Device Consumer

It may be impractical (or even impossible) for you to actually sell and ship the goods or services your business provides online, but that does not mean you cannot accommodate the convenience-driven, multi-device shopper. For example:

  • Be sure you have a search-optimized mobile version of your website and make sure that you periodically test it to be sure that it is synced with your regular website, is providing useful analytics and works well across device types
  • Make it possible for people to check inventory, reserve items for pickup or pay online for pick up or local delivery
  • Provide price and feature-comparisons on your website and in in-store signage to save shoppers the trouble of comparison shopping
  • Solicit customer preference about how they want to receive offers and updates, and put them into practice as quickly as possible by extending valuable, contact-only offers, tips, resources and ideas

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Overcoming buyer objections can quickly turn into arguing, so it’s important to master persuasion skills and strategies in order to avoid turning off prospective customers by coming on too strong.

Overcoming Buyer Objections – 6 Persuasion Strategies Could Help You Close more Sales

When it comes to your buyers, are you overcoming objections, or just arguing? If you cross the line, you are much more likely to lose buyers than convert them. Here are six persuasion strategies every sales and marketing pro should master in order to close more sales.

Not all buying cycles are created equal. For low cost or low risk goods and services, sellers may not need to do much more than make buyers aware of the opportunity to buy.

For B2B and high-priced retail sales and marketing professionals, however, the buying cycle is usually more complicated. If you find that it’s difficult to distinguish between the art of overcoming buyer objections and arguing over buyer’s concerns, it might help to take a closer look at these six strategies that present persuasion in a more scientific light.

Before someone becomes a customer who is always right, they are a buyer who probably doesn’t have all the facts. The job of sales and marketing is to identify the buyers who have needs that their products or services are best-suited to meet, desires most-likely to fulfill or problems most-likely to resolve. Once found, the next step in the buying cycle is educating the prospect and – if needed – overcoming objections.

You might also like: 73% of Consumers Would Pay More for Good Customer Service

When a buyer is not convinced that their objection is being adequately addressed or has a long list of objections, it’s easy for explanations to turn into arguments. Once the process takes on a negative feeling, a buyer will often walk away and it can become difficult to salvage the opportunity to make a sale. In some cases, unhappy buyers will even tell other people about their negative experience, and preclude the opportunity for other sales as well.

Master 6 Persuasion Strategies and Get Better at Overcoming Objections [Infographic]

1. Reciprocation

Reciprocation in business is the idea that customers often respond positively when – as a business – you do something they perceive as (a) positive and which lies (b) outside of their expectations. Studies show reciprocation works as a method of persuading others to take desired actions. For instance, when restaurant waitstaff included candy with the bill, on average:

  • Women left 21% higher tips
  • Men left 18% higher tips

2. Social Validation

Remember those times your parents asked this question: “If all your friends jumped off the top of a bridge, would you do it too?” when they wanted to encourage you to resist peer pressure? It turns out, you might! One social validation experiment attempted to determine how many people would follow suit when they saw someone else (or a group of people) looking up. They found that:

  • When passersby saw one person looking up, 4% of them looked up as well
  • When passersby saw 5 people looking up, 18% of them looked up as well
  • When passersby saw 15 people looking up, 40% of them looked up as well

3. Consistency

Some people will stick to their guns in order to appear consistent to others. For some people, even providing informal or tacit approval of an idea or commitment is enough to make them follow through. The infographic below note that one fund-raiser asked people to sign a petition of support two weeks below his event and the result was a whopping 100% increase of monetary contributions due to prior commitment.

4. Respect for Authority

Uniforms, suits and other trappings of authority can go a long way to inspiring trust and helping to persuade people to take action – even when that action could be perceived as illegal! A University of Texas-Austin study found that 350% more people were willing to follow a man crossing the street on a red light – when that man wore a suit and tie.

5. Liking

People like to accommodate people they like, plain and simple. Three statistics referenced in the infographic include three techniques that might make people like you better:

  • Compliments – A UNC (University of North Carolina) study found that both true and untrue compliments produced the same amount of liking
  • Cooperation – Like reciprocation, people may be more willing to take a desired action when they perceive that you are meeting them halfway
  • Congruence – People may prefer to do business with you when they identify personal interests that align or other similarities that exist between you

6. Scarcity

Get ‘em before they’re all gone! When quantities are limited, people are more likely to take action in order to avoid loss. Plus, when items are moving quickly or nearly sold out, people may perceive them as more desirable.

*Studies and Statistics Cited by The Science of Persuasion Infographic (Below)
Impact Learning Systems (a division of Miller Heiman)
Infographic - science of persuasion overcoming objections