Restaurant customers have a new idea of what is important when choosing where to spend their money.
It is no longer just about how amazing your product, environment, and customer service can be.
Discover what today’s post-COVID consumers are really looking for.
In last week’s blog post we discussed how building a large, clean customer database can greatly improve your marketing results after the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week we will talk about the various types of campaigns you can launch to rebuild the trust and loyalty of your customer base.
First, let’s take a look at the latest statistics.
According to the latest research (July 23, 2020) from Black Box Intelligence, detailing the evolving impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry, we are not out of the woods yet.
This is why effective marketing is so essential at this time.
The Latest Statistics
Consider these stats from Black Box:
- After twelve consecutive weeks of comp sales improvements for full-service restaurants, recovery has stagnated over the last three weeks.
- As the number of COVID-19 cases rise and new capacity restrictions are implemented at the regional level, the percentage of dine-in sales has decreased. During week ending July 12, 61% of all full-service restaurant sales were dine-in. This percentage increased steadily until reaching a high of 64% two weeks ago.
- As dine-in sales have slowed down for full-service restaurants, off-premise sales growth year over has picked up steam again. Off-premise sales growth for full-service restaurants had been slowing down as dine-in sales increased, but that trend has now been reversed in the last three weeks.
Moreover, the main interest of restaurant guests has seen a major shift in importance.
- One theme that continues to be top of mind for restaurant guests is cleanliness. Guest net sentiment for restaurant cleanliness has been increasing in recent months. Additionally, the overall percentage of restaurant ambiance mentions that center on cleanliness has been steadily increasing each month since April.
- As guests started going back to dine-in at restaurants, a larger portion of the restaurant experience has been focused on safety and sanitation. And the good news is that as restaurant operators have had a chance to adapt to the new required heightened cleanliness protocols, the response from guests has been increasingly positive.
What This Means for Marketers
Traditionally, restaurant marketers have been able to rely on the products, services, and customer support as main features of their marketing messages.
While this still rings true, it is obvious that a new focus should added to the list immediately.
Customers need to know that you are following all cleanliness procedures mandated for your restaurant.
Leaving this information out of your messaging can mean the difference between getting that customer spending money with you, or seeing them choose another establishment.
This goes for dine-in, pickup, and delivery.
Post-COVID Marketing Campaign Messaging
Recovering from months of shutdowns is a daunting thought.
Without doubt, your main concerns will be keep your employees working, saving on costs as much as possible, and most importantly, getting customers in your seats.
So, when creating your marketing messages, it is crucial to not only potential new customers what they want to hear, but your old loyal customers as well.
The overarching message for now should be the fact that you care about their safety.
Let them know what steps you are taking to ensure cleanliness and safety. And if you are going above and beyond, tell them.
As Black Box Intelligence says:
Monitoring ROI and Testing Messages Is Crucial
With a need to save on costs and be as effective as possible with your marketing campaigns, monitoring ROI and testing messages becomes very important.
Of course, this has been a staple of marketing best-practices for decades. But in today’s post-COVID economy, special attention must be paid to monitoring your marketing campaigns.
If a campaign is simply not effective, you will want to pause the campaign and re-evaluate.
Likewise, you should be testing your messages against secondary variations. This is called A/B split testing.
This involves creating a slightly different variation of a message and then sending half of your customers variation A, and sending variation B to the other half.
After a period of time, you can eliminate the variation with lesser ROI and engagement (the loser). Then, start over with a new variation to test against the winner.
Try using different imagery, different placement of text, different email subject lines, or any other variation your team can brainstorm.
Just make sure not to change too many things in a single test. This way you will know what made the winning message win – and apply to other campaign A/B tests.
Using Bloom Intelligence To Build Customer Lists, Monitor ROI, and A/B Split Test.
Likewise, you can use the advanced marketing suite of tools to segment your list and send beautiful, easy-to-design emails to your customers.
And you can monitor ROI on every campaign all the way down to a customer returning to your restaurant, using the detailed reporting tools.
Over the next few weeks, we will be posting more helpful tips on how to market to customers after the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Also, be on the lookout for our upcoming webinar in August that will go into more detail and show you how it all works.