How to advertise your restaurant for free?
Determine your audience
One of the first ways you can start free advertising for your restaurant is determining who you want as a customer. Who do you want to bring your restaurant? As soon as you find out who you want to serve, you can focus on how you will get them interested.
Are they seniors who will probably come for the menu early risers? Are you sports fans who want to see the 'big game' in your establishment? Or are they young adults in college who are more interested in specialty drinks? Maybe you restaurant is it more family oriented? Although you'll want to serve everyone, it's important to narrow down your target audience to get started.
Create a Website
Four out of five consumers conduct local searches on their smartphones or computers for information on business hours, addresses, directions, and product availability. Ensuring your business has an online presence and can answer basic questions like location, hours of operation, and even product availability is crucial to its success. Fortunately, having a site Personal doesn't have to cost you a lot, if at all.
There are many free programs that allow users to create beautiful and visually appealing websites for free, and some look the same as paid websites. Programs like Wix, Weebly, Yola, Zoho, Wordpress, and other developers allow a business owner to customize their website from scratch. Everything from theme and colors to images and fonts can simply be dragged and dropped with these easy-to-use website builders. When designing your website, be sure to include the following:
- Menu- Include the prices of your menu items, as many times this is why customers will visit your website.
- About - Include a section with details that tells customers a bit about your business, what you offer, how it started, how many years it has been in business, whether it is family owned and operated, etc.
- Specials and upcoming events- Update customers on events in your restaurant so they can be sure to mark them on their calendars.
- Operating hours - Inform customers when your business opens and closes.
- Map- Include a map of your location, along with directions to interstates and busy highways that will take customers to your restaurant. It is also important to mention where customers can park once they arrive. Try implementing the Google Maps widget on your website so that customers can instantly click and be directed to your restaurant using Google Maps driving directions.
- Bookings- Include a phone number that people can call to make reservations or a link to apps like OpenTable, where guests can enjoy the convenience of reserving their table online.
- Multimedia- Add pictures and videos of your restaurant, signature dishes, and special events you've organized.
- Social Media- Link visitors to your social media accounts where they can continue to interact with you.
Establish your brand with a blog
While a website is intended to inform potential customers about your restaurant's operating hours, menu offerings, and specials, the purpose of a blog is similar to your social media accounts, and they are used for entertaining. your readers and build the brand of your establishment.
Having a good restaurant brand is important because it gives your business the opportunity to establish brand loyalty with your customers. Also, blogs are ideal for longer posts than blogging platforms. social media like Facebook and Instagram, which is great for explaining upcoming events or changes within your business.
Besides building your brand, blogging for your restaurant can help in other ways. For example, blogs are informal and are a great opportunity for your business to connect with your customers on a personal level. You can also blog about new menu items or upcoming events to generate interest from your customer base. In addition, your restaurant blog is a platform for your customers to leave comments, reviews, and suggestions, which can be valuable in improving your business.
Today, consumers live in a world where information is expected to be delivered instantly. Almost everything is researched online, and many business directories have switched from the classic Yellow Book to an online format. Websites like Yelp, Yahoo, Google Places, Yellow Pages, Super Pages, and Switchboard all offer free services where business owners can sign up to create their own page lists. Including information such as contact information and a link to your website will make it easier for customers to find you in local search rankings.
Become a member of your city's chamber of commerce
Although it is not completely free, becoming a member of your chamber of commerce is much cheaper than many other advertising strategies out there. For just a small fee each month, you can pay to join your community chamber of commerce, which is an organization that recognizes businesses throughout the community.
Why should you join?
- Increase public perception- Being linked to an elite organization, such as a chamber of commerce, creates credibility for your business.
- Increase your visibility in the community- When you join your chamber of commerce, your business will be featured in chamber newsletters and featured in other publications. This free press helps get your name out there in the community. Keep in mind that the cost to join could range from $ 300 to $ 1000, depending on the number of employees your company employs.
- Create networking opportunities- This free form of advertising creates a bond between you and other business owners, which can lead to an exchange of information by developing important contacts.
Organize events and promotions
Another effective way to advertise your business is to host events that customers will expect to attend each week. The trivia nights, the karaoke music, the happy hour and special tasting opportunities are free ways that give customers a reason to want to visit your restaurant.
You can gift a gift certificate to the winner of trivia nights that instantly creates a reason for them to come back. Promoting contests is another way to spread brand awareness because it entices customers to do something to get what they want. Offer coupons for free desserts or appetizers as your customers are likely to order an expensive drink to go with or an entrée to start.
Will your restaurant celebrate its Grand opening ? Or maybe you are hosting a big event and part of the proceeds will go to an important cause? Present these ideas to the press or send out a press release about what's going on at your restaurant, as it may lead a reporter to want to cover the story at no cost to you.
A great way to advertise for free is to connect directly with your customers on a personal level, which can be done for free simply by using your computer. Create customer comment cards as a way to evaluate your restaurant's service, while also helping you collect names, email addresses, and dates of birth that you can later use to produce an email campaign.
Send coupons to customers as their birthday approaches, and send emails with announcements and special offers that describe events happening at your restaurant. However, be sure to clearly state your intent when collecting information from people, such as phone numbers, because you do not want to violate any rules regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
A great way to network and advertise your business is to build relationships with other businesses in the community that your products relate to. For example, if you have a smoothie shop or juice bar, partner with a local yoga studio or gym that you probably share clients with. Offer discounts to promote others' business as a way to reach more people in the community.
Customers who see your business actively participating in charity events can benefit from building a positive reputation. Get your employees involved in community events as they will act as representatives of your business. You can also donate products to a worthy cause because you are likely to recoup profits from getting that much free publicity.
Although it's not completely free, becoming a sponsor of local school clubs and sports teams could create a great opportunity for your restaurant name to reach groups of people in the community. Elementary, middle and high school sports teams need the financial support, and in return, their logo, brand and name will be displayed on baseball jerseys, posters and banners, where crowds of people are likely to attend.
The largest and most widespread way restaurateurs can advertise their business for free is by participating on social media. It is estimated that one in four people use social networks on a daily basis, and that 4.200 billion of those users access this information directly from their portable devices. The owners of restaurants They should select just a few social media sites to start with and spend their time focusing on posts, conversations, and ways to encourage customer engagement. Some of the best ways to promote your restaurant for free are the following social media strategies:
Known as the largest social network, Facebook accounts for 23,39% of all Internet traffic. It allows anyone, including business owners, to create their own page that describes content about themselves, images, videos and updates, as well as being able to generate relationships with other users. Facebook even gives you free analytics information on how well your status updates and links rank so you can visually see how well your business is reaching others.
- Suggestion - Design a Facebook page that includes a strong cover image, which is the first thing visitors will see when they land on your page. Change this image frequently to correspond with the holidays, seasons, events, and other promotions that you want your restaurant to display.
- Suggestion - Create exclusive offers for customers that can only be used if they “do” something for you, like “like” your Facebook page, follow you, or mention you in a post. In return, customers could be rewarded with a coupon for your restaurant and every time they log into Facebook they will be connected to your business.
According to the IACP Social Media Center, more than two billion searches are made on Twitter every day. Make sure your restaurant is next by joining this online community that allows users to post updates with 140 characters or less. Promote your events, menu items, and special offers using Twitter, since users don't need a lot of time to read.
- Suggestion- Create a unique hashtag to use in posts that will help customers find you in the future. Ex. #MyRestaurant or #Comidarica
- Suggestion- Use Twitter to take advantage of posting visual content as it's limited to 280 characters. I posted pictures weekly events, exclusive new dishes or brochures promoting special offers.
- Suggestion- Send posts strategically at times of the day when people might be the hungriest. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night hours are popular times when customers may be looking for something to eat. Don't have time to dedicate yourself to this? Programs like Hootsuite y Tweetdeck will allow you to schedule and monitor tweets in advance, saving you time to work on other projects!
Like a cork board, Pinterest allows users to “pin” their favorite finds on the web through the use of links and images. Not surprisingly, food is the top-ranked category on Pinterest, as many users go here for recipes and culinary inspiration.
- Suggestion - Search engine optimization is essential for a social media presence. The more descriptive your pins, titles, and descriptions are, the more likely they are to be found when users search for you.
- Suggestion - Share links and images related to your restaurant industry. If your business specializes in farm-to-table ingredients, pin that link to local farmers markets.
- Council - It's also helpful to create dashboards that break down your menu categories such as appetizers, signature salads, and main dishes. Take pictures of each of these items so future customers can see exactly what you have to offer.
If an image is worth a thousand words, Instagram would be a library. This mobile photo app lets you share instantly filtered and enhanced images with your followers. 90% of users 35 and under participate on Instagram on a daily basis, which is a great campaign opportunity to use if your target market is within that demographic.
- Council - Motivate followers with photo contests that they can easily enter just by tagging your restaurant on their Instagram posts. Tempt customers with prize packages that they could win by taking a photo with the items you want to promote the most!
- Suggestion - Include a link on your Instagram profile to your website and other social media accounts you use.
Take customers to your restaurant with these free advertising and marketing strategies that are sure to increase your presence in the community and on the web. Try tactics like hosting events, joining your local chamber of commerce, and engaging with customers, which are great ways to advertise your restaurant. Since 46% of internet users rely on social media to influence their decision when making a purchase, it is now more important than ever to get involved with this free form of public relations.