Restaurants across the UK are starting to reopen, with many competing for vital business during the summer months. Charlie Terry, founder and managing director at digital marketing and social media consultancy CEEK Marketing, shares five easy ways that businesses can boost business.
1 Take an omni-channel approach
Brands should ensure they are active across as many relevant consumer channels as possible to maximise all messaging during this period. Social media channels are the most efficient and effective for results, such as Instagram and Facebook, as the majority of customers will be active on either; hence it is crucial for brands to also be active on these platforms and communicate their key messages. TikTok, for example, has taken an incredible role in brand awareness by driving exponential amounts of traffic to websites. Another channel that is greatly overlooked is Google My Business (GMB), which is brilliant to gain traction from potential customers within the location/vicinity who are actively searching for the brands services, hence updating with regular posts/photos along with replying to reviews is imperative to acquiring new customers. GMB allows you to see where people are coming from, helping to ascertain whether your audience is mainly local, or more disparate. You can also access the specific search queries used by visitors, information that you can then use to craft better content to attract high-value customers. Email Marketing is a forgotten gem - talk about safety measures, new deals and discounts and potential customer benefits that need to be transacted online
2 Engage with your followers
Actively engage with your existing followers on social media/email data to inform of any changes/messages and grow your customer loyalty. You should choose the platform you feel is most beneficial to your brand and where you have the most active users, or alternatively opt to utilise both methods of communication. For example, post content on social media that encourages people to interact and reshare with others - this could be a meal or product giveaway on an instagram feed post that encourages someone to follow one or more accounts and tag their friends to participate. People are excited to go out with friends and families post Covid-19 and are feeling the economical hit so leverage the opportunity that will likely bring new traffic, exposure and positive energy to your business.
3 Encourage customer reviews
Reviews on platforms such as Google My Business and TripAdvisor can be great ways of generating custom. A business is more likely to show up in Google’s local pack if it has reviews that mention keywords you’re trying to rank for and the city/neighbourhood that your business is located in. The best approach to acquiring reviews is to create call to actions on your business´ website after purchase, checkout or as a pop up. I recommend displaying Google review widgets on business websites to add customer value and act as an incentive to participate.
4 Create evergreen content
Consider creating content that can acquire customers not just in six months but in 12 months (and longer). Known as evergreen content, this is search-optimised content that isn’t time sensitive and continues to drive traffic long after it is first published. There are plenty of avenues to leverage sustainable content in your content marketing strategy, including blog/articles, lists, tips, and how-to content including video tutorials. The key with long-form writing or video is to answer frequently asked questions from your customers by providing industry tips and how to explanations. You may find that some of these topics and concepts have already been covered by other industry experts on multiple occasions - simply bring something new to the table and search for long-tail keywords that have an OK volume search but a lower ranking difficulty.
5 Get involved with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme
The Government’s discount scheme is a good vehicle for acquiring new customers as well as re-engaging with regulars and returning customers. For example, encourage new groups of people through new dish combinations such as family deals and broaden your audience. Consider expanding the offer outside of the scheme, for example Monday to Friday, and also implement a layered loyalty scheme to ensure retention of Eat Out to Help Out customers – loyalty cards and rewards have been a good friend of small local businesses as they encourage new and existing customers to return in order to obtain client benefits. Create members cards at a fixed price (similar to a private membership but for a reasonable entry price) which offer bundle offers, seasonal discounts and loyalty points for better discounts long after the Government scheme is over. Alternatively, if you already have a membership programme implemented in your business, bring your joining prices down during the Eat Out Help out scheme.
Charlie Terry is founder and managing director at CEEK Marketing