In any business, the key to surviving is a steady stream of revenue. To get that steady stream of revenue, customers have to know about your business. Awareness hinges on your ability to market it properly.
With so many ways to advertise, though, which is the most effective? Here are just a few of the effective ways you can promote your hotel, bar, or restaurant.
Survey Customers and Canvas High-Value Areas
One of the easiest things to do is to survey the customers that you already have. After customers have visited your establishment, ask them to fill out a short survey. On the survey, ask where they heard about the restaurant and what area code they’re from (or at least try to get them to give you their zip code). By getting this information, you’re creating a map of where your customers are coming from.
After noting which customers are coming from certain areas, it’s time to do some grassroots marketing. Gather some materials, such as door hangers or leaflets, and find a way to get them to people.
With door hangers, it’s fairly easy — visit local neighborhoods and apartment complexes, and hang them on a door (with permission of course). You’d be wise to include some sort of incentive for customer’s as well, like a special offer or coupon. Including an incentive can drive new business.
It is also wise to sponsor events within the community. These events can bring attention to your brand and create discussion and excitement among customers. Event sponsorship serves as an opportunity to distribute promotional materials and special offers to those in attendance.
Utilize Social Media to Engage Patrons
The best thing about social media, aside from being free, is the fact that you can reach anyone in the world in seconds. Using Facebook, you’re able to create a page for your establishment and reach out accordingly. Facebook encourages people to interact and get involved with discussions about your brand. Customer experience and one-on-one interaction can go a long way with customers.
With Twitter, you’re able to speak directly to people and share your brand messages with followers. Users can interact and directly address any concerns or issues they may have. They can also use unique hashtags to join the conversation about your establishment; and since Twitter made all tweets through 2006 searchable, people can see anything people have ever said about you.
Thanks to Twitter’s new Vine feature and Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram, users and companies alike can post videos advertising products. With Instagram, you’re limited to 15 second videos, and with Twitter, you’re limited to six seconds. It’s up to you as to how you can creatively advertise your establishment within an allotted time frame.
If you can’t be in charge of your own social media account, you need to place someone that you can trust in charge of it. Making one wrong post on any social media outlet can destroy the reputation of your entire business in mere seconds.
Make sure that the person in charge is also actively engaging customers. A great example of this is Taco Bell’s Twitter feed. The person in charge of this account frequently engages customers and responds to any questions or comments.
Offer Deals Through Group Buying Platforms
One popular trend as of late is group buying. Sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial offer deals at massive discounts. By getting involved with sites like these, you’re allowing customers to experience your services for a fraction of the price. If the service is great, they’ll encourage their friends and family to check it out for themselves.
If you can, set an offer to run for a very short period of time or only make a limited number of redemption’s available it creates a perception of exclusivity. By not offering deals to all customers, for a large amount of time, a buzz can generate about how it’s difficult to get into your establishment. Customers are then prompted to frequently check the site for your next incentive.
Don’t do this too often, though! If you offer discounts too often, people will almost expect it and avoid spending money with you unless they can get a fantastic deal. For example, you may want to test offering a deal every few months to drive new foot traffic.