Restaurant Marketing in 2021
Retail and restaurant marketing in 2021 has been forever reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With closures and restrictions in place across the country, marketers are being forced to rethink their strategy.
Just a short year ago, the restaurant industry was bursting at the seams as customers were spending more money dining out than ever before. Today, the industry is suffering like never before.
This means that it is now necessary to seek out different ways to attract new and existing customers.
So, while traditional strategies are still in play, the shift in focus to online and omni-channel restaurant marketing is becoming paramount to keeping a brick-and-mortar business afloat in 2021.
How Retail and Restaurant Marketing Has Changed?
Restaurant marketing is now highly dynamic and constantly evolving.
Even prior to the pandemic, successful marketers were relying less upon inconsistent digital mass-marketing tactics and focusing on more personal, one-on-one, conversation-based marketing.
Your ultimate goal should be gathering the reliable, comprehensive data you need to step into your customer’s shoes and understand how they truly feel about your restaurant, your marketing, and your messaging.
Likewise, it is imperative to find out how your customers plan to interact with your business in 2021.
In other words, you need to branch out from a single customer data collection method and gain every ounce of data possible – advertising data, website statistics, social media analytics, email campaign stats and even presence analytics, for both online and offline customer behavior.
Ideally, you should organize this data on your overall customer base, your various customer segments, and on the individual customer level.
Then, you need to turn around and use that data to provide a seamless, cohesive experience for your customers in all of those channels.
Below, you will find several tips and ideas for retail and restaurant marketing in 2021. We will break them up into three categories: Getting Found/Remembered, Collecting Customer Data, Customer Retention, and Using Data for Optimization.
Getting Found and Remembered
When restaurants and retail locations were forced to shut down their on-site business, customers turned to other ways to decide on where and how to spend their money.
Retail and restaurant owners and operators were scrambling to pivot to alternative ways of getting their products in front of their customers.
Delivery and curbside service were not a large part of their marketing messaging. Suddenly, it became everything.
This makes it important, moving forward in a very dynamic marketplace, to have the data necessary to quickly change marketing messages based upon reliable and accurate data.
With solid data, marketers know where customers are searching, and what they are searching for.
At the same time, as mandatory shutdowns are lifted in 2021, it is imperative to have a way to get back into your customers’ mind when they are able to visit your establishment again.
1. Improve Customer Ratings and Reviews
Customer ratings and reviews websites are possibly the most powerful tool for retail and restaurant marketing in 2021.
The power of ratings and reviews has long been established. However, with customer going online now more than ever to decide where to spend their money, managing ratings and reviews – and working hard to improve them – is vital.
With proper attention, and the right customer rating and review management tools, it is possible to easily improve your online reputation.
In addition, you can use them to identify issues and be proactive about resolving them. This improves overall customer experience and inherently improves ratings over time.
- According to Modern Restaurant Management, an increase of just one star can give a business an approximate 5-9% increase in revenue. And an increase of just one-half star would likely fill your seats during peak business times.
- They also reported that 34% of diners choose a restaurant based on peer review websites.
- And 53% of 18-to-34- year-olds reported that online ratings and reviews factored into their dining decisions.
Based on these statistics alone, if you’re not monitoring and actively taking steps to improve your customer ratings, you could be losing potential customers and leaving a lot of money on the table.
In addition to working to improve ratings and reviews, it is also very important to respond to them. Whether good or bad, responding properly to all reviews shows your customers that you care about their experience.
Find out more about ratings and reviews here.
2. Advertising and Remarketing
Harvard Business Review has revealed that acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
Further, a Bain & Company study showed that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
Online advertising with Google and Facebook can be a very powerful and lucrative strategy.
However, if they are not managed correctly, or if they are targeting the wrong audience, they can quickly drain a large portion of your advertising budget.
To help ensure correct audience targeting, remarketing is a very effective strategy.
Remarketing with Facebook
Facebook is one of the most visited websites in the world.
During the third quarter of 2020, Facebook reported almost 1.82 billion daily active users and 2.7 billion monthly active users.
It is the world’s most popular social network. Likewise, it is a great channel for retail and restaurant marketing in 2021.
Facebook gives you the ability to embed a Facebook pixel into your company’s WiFi landing page.
When a customer logs into your WiFi, the pixel is activated, and this is recorded by Facebook.
You can then begin targeting those customers with Facebook/Instagram ads. This is done in Facebook’s advertising tools using the custom audience feature.
For instance, a customer is at your place of business and logs into the WiFi. The pixel is triggered and recorded by Facebook. Unlike cookies, the pixel is not stored on the user’s device.
As you create your Facebook ad campaign, you can configure Facebook to show specific ads to those who triggered the pixel by logging into your WiFi.
When that customer logs into Facebook or Instagram, they will be targeted with your remarketing advertising campaign.
According to Signifi Media, the average click-through rate (CTR) for remarketing ads is 10 times higher than regular display ads.
The average CTR for retargeted ads is 0.7% compared to 0.07% for regular display ads.
Facebook Lookalike Campaigns
Facebook and Instagram have another great restaurant advertising feature called a “lookalike” campaign.
Since Facebook tracks those who log into your WiFi, it will begin understanding your customer demographics and behavior patterns.
The platform can then find others who share similar patterns and characteristics. Facebook can analyze the data and create a list of people with those same traits.
You would then create an advertising campaign in Facebook to target that lookalike audience.
This type of marketing campaign gives you an increased probability of generating the best traffic to your business, decreasing the cost of advertising.
Remarketing with Google
Much like Facebook’s lookalike campaigns, Google offers a feature called Similar Audience Targeting (SAT).
This type of audience targeting involves utilizing a WiFi marketing and analytics platform, like Bloom Intelligence.
When customers come to your brick-and-mortar establishment and attempt to log into your WiFi, they are taken to a captive portal page.
This page will require them to enter their email address, or log in using a social media account, before they can access the internet.
Companies using a platform like Bloom are quickly building huge customer lists to use for email or SMS marketing (more on this below).
To create a Google SAT campaign, you simply export your list of customer emails into an Excel spreadsheet. Then upload the spreadsheet into the Google Ads platform.
Google’s algorithms will then find consumers with similar demographics and behavior patterns and create your similar audience.
Learn more about advertising and remarketing here.
Using Customer Insights
As discussed above, restaurant marketing in 2021 is dynamic and changing every day.
One of the most important aspects of any marketing campaign has always been the ability to capture accurate and comprehensive customer data and then use that data to develop successful marketing campaigns, accurately measure results, and lower costs.
This holds true in 2021 more than ever.
However, with the 2020 pandemic shifting customer behavior patterns, today’s consumers may not respond as well to your marketing campaigns that were once thriving.
No matter what type of business you operate, having accurate, clean, and comprehensive data is a must. It can be the catalyst to keep you ahead of your competition.
Omni-channel collection of your customer data across platforms allows you to have a deeper understanding of your customer’s behavior.
Not only will you have a better understanding of how your customers are behaving in 2021, you will be able test and optimize campaigns much more quickly.
Here are several ways to collect customer data across platforms, whether customers are at your place of business or not.
3. Collect Data From Your Physical Locations
With a platform like Bloom Intelligence, physical location customer data collection become very easy to execute.
Using your WiFi access points, Bloom can collect customer data even if they do not log into your WiFi.
Although the platform does not know who the individual customers are, it can sense their Wireless device or smartphone and track overall anonymous customer data.
Behavior such as dwell times, customer return rates, visit days, and times, and more will be measured.
This will give you an overview of your customer behavior allowing you to spot trends and measure marketing effectiveness.
The true power comes when customers log into your WiFi. At that point, they are taken to a WiFi Landing Page where they will have to enter their contact information, email, name, social media information for example, prior to accessing the internet.
And, they only have to log in once. Then the system will know it is them whenever they are in range of your WiFi, whether they log in or not.
Once you have their contact information, you can begin marketing to them directly through email or SMS.
You’ll have the ability to sort and filter your customer database to create targeted, personalized campaigns.
Not only that, you can measure the effectiveness of those campaigns, all the way to a customer coming back to your establishment.
Even if customers are using curbside or take-out service, you can build your database by asking them to log in to receive special deals, or even offering them an immediate discount..
As these marketing campaigns begin to show ROI, you can begin reducing your spend on advertising.
At the same time, you will be able to continue optimizing your purchasing and staffing, avoiding overspending and waste.
Find out more about collecting customer data here.
4. Social Media Data Collection
With Bloom, you can make logging into your WiFi even easier by using the social media login feature.
With one click, customers can log in using a social media platform like Facebook or LinkedIn.
When they do this, the system will gather any public data from their social media account – birthday, gender, profile pictures, etc. – and add it to their customer profile.
This data will be collected as long as your customer allows it in the settings of their social media platforms.
This data collection makes collecting rich customer data even faster while making it more convenient for your customers.
5. Use Progressive Profiling
Every time you interact with a customer, you should be asking for an additional piece of information to add to their profile.
Over time, you can build thousands of rich customer profiles allowing your to further segment and target your advertising.
Further optimizing your marketing messages for specific customers and customer segments, your marketing ROI will increase, and engagement and loyalty increase.
For instance, the first time a customer logs in, you could ask for their first name and email address.
Then, the next time, you could ask for their phone number; the next time, their birthday; the next time, their postal code, and so on.
6. Collect Data Through Your Website
Bloom also provides a website widget for retail and restaurant websites.
When anyone visits the website, the widget will unobtrusively pop up in the lower right or left hand portion of the screen.
It has a configurable message field and then a form for customers to enter their information. When they do, it is added to the company’s customer database in real time.
For example, you can have a message asking them to sign up for the latest deals and specials you are offering.
They will be added to any automated campaigns you are running, and you never have to lift a finger.
This is an easy way to continue building your customer database even if customers are ordering takeout or delivery.
7. Only Use Clean Customer Data
Often times, potential customers will log into WiFi or sign up for deals using inaccurate, or just plain fake, information.
This can cause your customer behavior data and campaign data to be skewed and inaccurate.
Plus, it will cause your segmentation and personalization to be incorrect and useless.
Bloom has the ability to clean and normalize the data it collects. It will even catch mistakes or bogus email addresses, birthdays, and postal codes, all in real-time. If this should happen, it will ask the customer to enter their correct information.
The cleaner your data, the more effective your marketing and advertising will be.
8. Build a CRM Database to Accelerate Growth
CRM, which stands for customer relationship management, refers to software that will gather, document, monitor, and store customer data for you in a central database.
Then you can use your CRM database to make intelligent, data-driven marketing and operations decisions.
Most retail and restaurant marketers in 2021 do not have the time or resources to create and maintain an accurate, up-to-date CRM database manually.
Fortunately there are many software solution that can do it for you, and for retail and restaurant locations, a WiFi solution is the best way to go.
Unlike other CRMs built for large B2B sales and marketing teams, Bloom was built specifically for restaurants and other offline businesses to automatically build rich, clean customer profiles and databases quickly.
It is all done for you, behind the scenes. All you have to do is watch it grow.
This way, you and your staff can focus on marketing campaigns to bring in new customers and get your current customers to keep coming back.
Learn more about CRM databases here.
9. Utilize Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas
Without customer data, advertising and marketing become a shot in the dark.
Likewise, there is no way to segment your customers and target your messaging and no way to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Segmented, targeted marketing is much more effective in terms of engagement and ROI. It is impossible to do this without having accurate customer profiles and buyer personas.
Here are some examples of why you should be collecting customer profiles:
- An article from CMO.com stated that targeted advertisements are, on average, almost twice as effective as non-targeted ads.
- eConsultancy.com reported that 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.
- In a study by The Direct Marketing Association, segmented and targeted emails generated 58% of all marketing revenue. And 77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns.
A huge benefit of targeted personalized marketing campaigns is that you are sending your message to those who are more likely to engage and respond.
Collecting customer data like contact information, demographics, physical behavior, customer ratings, purchasing habits, and other targeted information, allows you to deliver this highly effective advertising to help your business grow.
Bloom displays all of your customer profiles in an easy-to-use, sortable, filterable list.
Using the advanced filters, you can create separate lists of various customer segments. You can save the lists and use them in individually targeted marketing campaigns.
Discover the power of customer profiles here.
Keep Your Customers Coming Back
It has long been known that it costs about 5 times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
At the same time, on average, about 80% of your sales come from the top 20% of your customers.
As a result, the better you can be retaining your top customers, the more profitable your business can be. This is especially important for restaurant marketing in 2021.
The main objective for brick-and-mortar marketing professionals should be to build relationships with your current and prospective customers that will last.
Here are several ways to keep customers coming back in 2021.
10. Implement or Upgrade a Customer Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty programs work because consumers enjoy engaging with them.
According to CMO.com:
- More than 75% of consumers currently participate in at least one loyalty program
- Almost half of consumers have joined a hotel program
- About 40% of consumers are part of an airline program
- Loyalty marketers on average receive about $12.00 in earned media for every dollar they spend
- Loyal customers on average spend about 70% more than first-time customers
In 2021, WiFi-based loyalty programs are becoming more popular.
They work using your existing WiFi access points. All a customer has to do to join your program is to log into WiFi just once.
Even if they never log in again, the system will know when they return based upon their WiFi enabled device (phone, laptop, tablets, etc.).
Even better, the loyalty program is completely automated. You simply configure the reward and the message that will go along with it and the system will send them a message with a redeemable coupon when they reach your loyalty visit threshold.
It is automated, simple, and reliable.
But remember, not every loyalty initiative works, or works as well as you would like it to.
That means you should constantly be monitoring results, preferably by associating your messaging with measurable presence analytics provided by your WiFi marketing platform.
Learn more about WiFi Customer Loyalty Programs here.
11. Execute Effective Reputation Management
The reputation of your business, both online and offline, can literally make, or break, your restaurant or retail business.
That is why it is crucial to keep a constant eye on your company’s reputation, and manage it accordingly.
The first step is to develop the habit of consistently checking not only your online ratings and reviews, but your offline reputation as well.
That means talking to your customers and dealing with issues promptly and effectively. The very moment you learn of a negative experience, it is vital to address it immediately.
Instead of quickly defending yourself and risking the appearance of not caring about your customers, take a deep breath, relax, and respond appropriately.
This applies to online reviews as well as offline physical complaints.
Instead of reacting with a defensive tone, thank them for taking the time to let you know about their experience. Then apologize for the way things affected that guest’s experience at your location.
If responding to an online review, take the conversation offline to a non-public forum, but make sure it is apparent to the public that you wish to continue the conversation with the customer.
Finally, treat the customer. You want the customer to come back through your doors and experience your restaurant in a different, more positive way.
So, offer them an incentive to come back.
Over time, your ratings and reviews will inherently become more positive, leading to more loyal customers.
Learn more about reputation management.
12. Engage with Positive Reviews and Experiences
It is just as important to respond to, and engage with those give you positive reviews, or appear to be having a positive experience.
Many business owners will see a positive review and think it is fine to leave it alone. It is, after all, a positive.
But responding to positive reviews can do wonders for the reputation of your business, and the loyalty of your customers.
Again, you should thank them for spending the time to leave the review. Engage with them.
This sends a clear message that you are engaged with, and care deeply about all of your customers.
Leaving a positive review alone without providing a response isn’t going to break your business, but the upside to it can make a big difference in customer loyalty and acquisition.
Likewise, when you see customers having a positive experience on-premise, engage with them and simply ask them to give you a rating/review.
13. Strive for the Ultimate Customer Experience
While managing online and offline ratings and reviews is vital, there is still one thing that is more important – providing a stellar customer experience.
You can manage ratings and reviews all day long, but if your product, service, and atmosphere are poor, it will all be in vain.
You should always strive to be head and shoulders above your competition. If you can “wow” your customers on a regular basis, your reputation will inherently improve, both online and offline (word of mouth).
Give your customers an experience they will remember and share with friends and family, online and offline.
14. Identify and Save At-Risk Customers
Customer churn, also known as customer attrition, happens in every business.
There are many reasons that customers churn: poor customer service, high prices, poor quality or selection. Whatever the reason, it typically comes down to the customer not having an excellent experience.
As discussed above, acquiring a new customer can be anywhere from 5-25 times more expensive than retaining a current one.
Add to that the time between losing one customer and gaining another, and you can quickly see that an out-of-control churn rate can be devastating for any business.
This is especially true for retail and restaurant marketing in 2021.
Worse, if you do not recognize it, it will only continue to climb.
For brick-and-mortar locations, it is next to impossible to identify churning loyal customers – until now.
Identifying Churning Customers
Bloom Intelligence automatically monitors your customer foot traffic or individualized presence analytics for you, and how that behavior changes over time.
The intelligent algorithm sets monitor each customer’s frequency distribution, individually and as a whole, to understand your customer attrition rate.
When a customer is found to be at risk of churning, they will be tagged as such in your CRM database.
Then, an automated message can be sent to the customer with an incentive to get them to return and re-establish their loyalty.
Clients all over the country are running this type of campaign using the Bloom platform. And they are seeing impressive results leading to strong business growth.
For instance, a Florida-based restaurant chain began running an at-risk campaign several months ago.
They have seen a whopping 38% of these customers return to their restaurants.
Imagine being able to get this percentage of churning customers back into your locations. The value of this kind of tool is enormous, and over time can bring huge dividends to your business.
Learn more about this powerful feature here.
15. Make Use of Marketing Automation
Restaurant marketing in 2021 would not be complete without the use of a quality WiFi Marketing and Analytics platform.
These solutions utilize your WiFi access points to collect customer information through a captive portal. When customer log into your WiFi, they provide their name and contact information.
From then on, even if they never log into WiFi again, the system will monitor the behavior of their smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
You’ll immediately be able to execute many of the strategies above.
What makes this solution so valuable to many retail and restaurant marketers is the ability to trigger messages based upon specific customer behavior and demographic data.
You’ll finally be able to target different marketing messages to different segments of your customers based on a very large sample size of actual data.
And since you’ll be able to track ROI on every campaign, you can optimize your marketing for the best results possible.
Now you can confidently create extremely targeted marketing campaigns that you can measure precisely, allowing for robust and profitable marketing efforts.
If they do not perform as well as you expect, you can easily adjust your tactics/messaging and watch the results in real time.
Gathering Feedback and Tracking ROI
16. Create Customer Surveys
When a customer gives feedback, it can be priceless information for your business.
It allows you to recognize specific things that customers love, and those that need improvement.
Using a WiFi marketing and analytics platform like Bloom Intelligence, you can create an automated feedback loop to gather this feedback while helping to improve your online ratings and reviews.
When a customer leaves your place of business, the system will send an automated message asking them to rate their experience.
If they leave a good rating, you can respond with a thank you message, including links to your online ratings pages on Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, or any other website.
Or, if the customer leaves a poor rating, you can automate a response with an apology and an incentive to get them to return. This can help mitigate the customer leaving you a bad review online.
Moreover, it gives you a second chance to prove that you are worthy of their business.
With Bloom, all ratings and reviews are stored in your customer database. They can be sorted by the rating, or by date, customer name, or physical location.
By studying the ratings list, you can find hidden trends or operational issues you were previously unaware of, and make changes to improve overall customer satisfaction.
17. Monitor Reporting Data
Traditionally, it has been extremely difficult for retail and restaurant locations to monitor location analytics, customer engagement, marketing attribution, and customer demographic and behavior data.
This is exactly the customer data that a WiFi marketing & customer intelligence platform can provide for your organization.
For retail and restaurant marketing in 2021, reliable and comprehensive reporting is required to stay ahead of the competition.
Bloom Intelligence has placed an emphasis on giving users the most accurate & actionable reporting possible.
These reports include campaign results, customer behavior and engagement analytics, ratings & reviews results, marketing attribution, and so much more.
With these reports, you can optimize your campaigns, operations, and initiatives, and track results in real time.
This is similar to website analytics that give webmasters the ability to track customer engagement on their website, giving proper attribution to marketing campaigns.
Bloom gives you this, but for your physical location.
Finally you can see the tangible results of marketing campaigns and track ROI down to customers walking back in your doors.
18. Track Individual Campaign ROI
Just like other offline reporting, campaign ROI and attribution has always been difficult to establish.
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, physician, author
The most effective marketing campaigns are built on solid, reliable data. For brick-and-mortar marketing campaigns, WiFi analytics can bring you exactly the type of data you need.
WiFi analytics literally fill in the gaps and take away the advantage that online businesses have had for decades.
You’ll finally have easy-to-understand, accurate offline customer behavior data without the need to hire expensive companies to perform market research for you.
By understanding and using WiFi analytic metrics effectively, you’ll have the data you need to help you develop marketing campaigns for every step of your customer journey, from attraction and acquisition, through building customer value, to retaining your best customers indefinitely.
And ROI is tracked all the way down to a customer coming back through your door.
19. Discover Bloom Intelligence
Retail and restaurant marketing in 2021 is extremely competitive, and as things evolve and play out after the pandemic, marketing will continue to be as tricky as ever.
Bloom Intelligence can give you a strong competitive edge by engaging your customers on a much more personal level which leads to a higher revenue.
The Bloom Intelligence WiFi Marketing Automation and Customer Intelligence Hub is a robust marketing platform that physical locations use to grow their business.
You’ll have the ability to:
- Understand customer behavior at physical locations.
- Build large clean customer databases quickly.
- Segment rich customer profiles into buyer personas to personalize the customer’s experience.
- Re-market to customers based upon their behavior and buyer’s persona.
- Track every marketing campaign down to a customer walking back in your door and the tangible ROI of each campaign.
Let Bloom help you master all of the topics discussed above and elevate your restaurant marketing in 2021.
Restaurant Marketing FAQs
What is the best marketing strategy for restaurants?
Of all the restaurant marketing strategies, perhaps the most efficient and effective strategy is using a WiFi marketing and analytics platform. It allows you to collect customer contact information, segment your customer list, create targeted, personalized messaging, and remarket to them for maximum results.
What is restaurant marketing?
Restaurant remarketing is a powerful way to connect with visitors to your website or customers who have logged into your WiFi. It allows you to send targeted advertising, behavior driven promotions to those people through online advertising or email marketing. It’s a key marketing concept that should be a primary focus of restaurant owners and marketers.
What is restaurant marketing segmentation?
Restaurant customer segmentation refers to the process of subdividing a customer base into specific groups based on similar demographics, psychographics, and/or various behavior data points. This information can guide restaurant marketing professionals when developing new marketing campaigns for each group, or optimizing existing ones to personalize the customer experience online or at their physical locations.
How do you use smart coupons to market a restaurant?
The best and easiest way to implement and maintain a digital smart coupon program is to use a WiFi marketing and analytics platform like Bloom Intelligence. Then, the platform allows you to easily create and send customers a unique, one-time use code that they can redeem at their next visit. The coupon is stored on their mobile device.