In today’s ever increasing digital world, marketing your restaurant has become far more difficult. Social media and digital marketing has permanently altered how restaurateurs develop and execute a successful marketing campaign.

Customers now rely more than ever on online reviews, social media platforms like Facebook, email, and online advertising for recommendations. This is a vast change from previous strategies that relied solely on print media reviews or building word-of-mouth. Those are still important pieces of your marketing efforts but digital channels must now be at the center of your efforts to get the word out and build a successful restaurant business.

How is this done? By using the same types of tools online businesses use. E-commerce stores are completely reliant on online marketing but there is actually far more potential for restaurants to take advantage of digital marketing through social WiFi. A physical store has more of an advantage when it comes to marketing online than most online retailers.

What is Multi-Channel Marketing?

Unless they’re successful multi-billion dollar businesses like Amazon, most e-commerce stores almost exclusively market their services or products online. Typically, the average online store has few—if any—real-world options when it comes to marketing their business.

Because restaurants are a physical venue, they have the ability to leverage both real-world and digital marketing solutions. This ability to use many different platforms and approaches is what we call multi-channel marketing.

Along with the usual personal interactions and in-store marketing, restaurants can communicate with visitors through email campaigns, social media, websites, and other digital means. By reaching out to your customers through these platforms, you build better odds at finding new customers and retaining current visitors.

Why Multi-Channel Marketing Matters

Communication between customers and restaurants is key to growing a business. However, social media and other digital communication platforms have fractured the way people communicate with each other. So which avenue do you use to communicate? Why not use all of them.

Offer a Seamless Experience

Many people tend to prefer a single platform as their favorite communication tool but also use several different other social media accounts. Multi-channel marketing provides a seamless experience across all these platforms—both online and in the real world. Align your brand by tailoring it to different in-store displays and ads as well as your email marketing and social media efforts.

Increase Your Visibility

Studies have continuously shown that repeated messaging is a key component to marketing. The more someone sees your brand, the more familiar they become to it. And the more familiar they are with your brand, the more likely they are to become paying customers. Being visible on multiple platforms you increase the chances of a new person interacting with you and your business.

How Does it Work?

The same fractured digital communication platforms that give you more marketing possibilities also makes keeping track of them more difficult and time-consuming. Instead of trying to individually run your social media, CRM, and digital advertising campaigns separately, you can use platforms designed to provide you with a one-stop social WiFi solution. While most platforms require you to buy specific hardware to equip your restaurant to take advantage of multi-channel marketing, there are solutions that seamlessly integrate with your current in-store WiFi network. No new hardware needed.

Customers sign in to your free guest WiFi through social media accounts like Facebook which allows you to access their interests and demographics. Once they’re signed in, the in-store wireless network will then know how long each of their visits are and how often they return.

Run Comprehensive Analyses

Find out what drives customers to visit your restaurant and what their behaviors are. Learn what they’re interested in, their age, gender, how many are repeat customers, and more.

Social WiFi gives you a true breakdown of your customers which takes the guesswork out of it. This allows you to filter and create focused marketing decisions that are tailored to specific customer profiles.

Create Highly Targeted Messages

An email newsletter is vastly different than an in-store advertisement. What messaging works for one won’t work for the other and even similar online platforms need to be approached differently. With all of these different digital channels requiring different messaging, multi-channel marketing solutions allow you to execute them from a single dashboard. This allows you to easily develop a highly engaged audience that is more susceptible to your marketing.

The key is the demographic and behavioral information you’ve collected. With it, you can create incentives that are hyper-targeted to precise audiences that are interested in specific things or act in a certain way.

Run Your Campaigns

Easily run complex, multi-channel campaigns with a social WiFi platform. Trying to get customers to communicate with a channel they don’t use is exceedingly difficult. Instead of trying to force them into a rigid funnel, you can adapt your campaign to a variety of different platforms instead. That allows customers to communicate with you in whatever way they find natural and you can control multiple platforms from a single place that compiles all of the data.

Find Out What Your Return On Investment Is

Quantifying your return on investment in a multi-channel campaign is very difficult. Without a centralized system for analyzing results, you’ll have to go to multiple platforms to assess your data. On top of that, visitors who open an email or click on an ad won’t tell you if they took action and returned to your restaurant. By using a social WiFi platform that integrates with your guest wireless network you can compare who triggered an action online and whether they returned to your restaurant. This gives you an actual return of investment and closes the marketing loop.

Actionable Strategies

Now that you have collected contact, behavioral, and demographic information—and know what to do with your data—you can develop strategies for your multi-channel campaign. There are many different ways to act on the information you’ve collected for marketing purposes but here are four easy strategies you can implement quickly.

Ask for Online Reviews

Online reviews are one of the foundations of getting more customers to your restaurant. Because online reviews encourage other reviews, it creates a feedback loop so getting them started is incredibly important. Encouraging a review is simple with social WiFi, after a guest leaves your restaurant you can set an automatic trigger. This sends an email asking them to share their experiences on popular review sites.

Get Your Regulars to Come Back More Often

The collected demographic and behavioral information allows you to target your regular customers. This allows you to find them on multiple platforms and incentivize them to return more often. Studies have been performed that reveal if you can increase your repeat customers by just 5 percent you can boost sales by at least 25 percent all the way to 95 percent.

Execute Digital Surveys

Getting customer feedback is another way to improve service. Easily ask your patrons to answer a few questions about your servers, menu, restaurant ambience, or anything else about their dining experience by creating digital surveys. Just like asking for online reviews, you can preset a trigger to activate once a customer leaves your restaurant.

Cross Promote Your Restaurants

Leverage your customer information from one restaurant to promote another. You’ve built up recognition in your customers’ minds at one restaurant which means that when you promote a new location or a different restaurant you run under a group, they’ll be more likely to check it out. Afterward you can evaluate how successful the campaign was and measure the exact number of people on your CRM that it brought to your new venue.

Danny F. Santos is the content manager at Aislelabs, a provider of the most advanced WiFi location marketing, advertising, and analytics platform in the market. He has over seven years of content management and technical writing experience.
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