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This is the fourth article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your restaurant and make it a success.
Getting the word out about your restaurant takes more than simply printing postcards and launching a website. You have to get the right message in front of the right audience at the right time. Here are some tips for restaurant marketing distribution:
Direct mail is the best way to reach your patrons. A calculated direct-mail campaign represents an investment in profit and should be approached with dedication. Consult a list broker or use the mailing list building tools available at PsPrint, develop a database of your own customers and define a mailing list comprised of likely patrons. Repetition is key: Instead of a one-postcard campaign, develop a strategy that incorporates multiple direct mailers during a six-month period. This contributes to your restaurant branding efforts and allows you to develop long-term relationships with your customers. By the time you launch your incredible offer, you'll have established trust and credibility and will earn a higher response rate.
Week One: Send a menu and brochure introducing your potential clientí¨le to your restaurant. Offer a discount or free appetizer to anyone who visits. Week Six: Send a flyer that highlights your upcoming entrée specials. Week 12: Send a postcard advertising an upcoming event and a call to action for your patrons to make VIP reservations fast. Week 18: Send a calendar loaded with images of your tasty menu selection. Week 24: Send another menu for good measure. Week 30: Send a greeting card for the next holiday inviting patrons to a free meal on the house. This will help build customer loyalty and attract new customers to your place of business.
You can deploy advertisements online or in the yellow pages, newspapers and magazines; as well as on the radio, television, billboards and any number of published mediums. You can also take your ads street side by placing flyers and posters on community bulletin boards, and university, office and industrial social hot spots. Word of mouth is the most powerful advertiser for restaurants, so make sure friends, family and colleagues know what you do and are prepared to spread the word for you. You should consider handing out stickers and business cards to everyone you know for distribution (include a mini-menu on the back!).
Test, track and tweak - these three Ts will help you develop winning restaurant print marketing campaigns. Always test different variations of your marketing materials on small portions of your mailing list before launching the full campaign. Sometimes a single word change can make a big difference in your return on investment. Track your response rates and record who responds so you can further define what neighborhoods your customers live in, what appetizers and meals they buy, and how much they spend. Tweak your subsequent print marketing materials to cater to this audience. Keep a database of customers and respondents, and evaluate recognizable trends so you can customize your offers. This is just another form of knowing your customers, but from an analytical perspective it allows you to make intelligent business decisions based on honest, proven statistics.