Starting a new business on a low marketing budget has traditionally been considered to be a tricky enterprise, but these days it’s a lot better. With the internet, search engines, social media and related services available at no cost, the new business owner can get their business name out there in front of the massess – fast – and way under budget.
There are so many ways to market your business on a shoestring or a budget, and you can find many of them online by searching for:
Marketing on a Shoestring
First Step – a Website
The one main thing you MUST have is a website – if you don’t have a site with information about your location, your food and your ‘story’, you’re missing out on a big opportunity.
People like to do business with people they know, like and trust – if someone wants to read more about you, they can do that on your site – 24/7.
Make your site easy to navigate, interesting, lots of photos, especially of you – the owner – and the staff. Help them to feel welcomed on the site so that they’ll want to come meet you in person.
Second Step – You Must Have A Way for People to Sign-up on Your Website
If you encourage people to sign up on your website for your tips about new dishes, special events, coupons etc, then you’ll have their email name.
This is THE most important thing a website owner can do. It’s a fantastic way you can go back to them once a week or so and keep in touch, let them know what’s been happening in your restaurant, what’s coming up, etc. Give them a reason to come into your restaurant. Weave little stories about your customers into your news, so they see that you care about your clientele, mention birthdays or milestones for locals & businesses, and they’ll all start talking about how great your restaurant is.
Make notes on cards or on your computer if you hear of any of these milestones or when someone comes in for a birthday meal – if you surprise them with a real card they’ll be very impressed. Sending one in the post will be even more powerful.
Third Step – Make your customers feel special
Take photos of your customers, ask if you can put them on your Facebook business page, and when they see their photo, they’ll tell their friends (which brings more visitors to your Facebook page, and possibly your website).
Then you write about your customers and photos in your newsletter, and they’ll send your newsletter to their friends so they’ll go see the photos on Facebook.
See how this can boost your customer base, and potentially bring more website visitors?
If your customers have websites or Facebook pages, comment on them, post links to them, engage them in chats – this helps tremendously to boost a local business, especially a restaurant.
Fourth Step – Come Up With A Unique Marketing Ideas
Think up something really unusual, a way to be different from all the other restaurants in town.
Start a Loyalty Card and offer something different as the Bonus or gift.
Consider using barcode advertising for your products or services, so people with smart phones can see your advert online or in the press, a flyer etc, and scan with their phone. If it takes them to a coupon and they get a discount, they’ll tell their friends.
Fifth Step – Press Releases & Articles
Create a Press Release and an Article every week about something interesting – news – about your restaurant – there are a ton of things which would be suitable.
These are some of the easiest way to start building a presence on the internet for your business, so people can find out more about you, and feel good about visiting your new restaurant.
There are many more ways to market yourself, and this is a good start.
Press Releases – write them as though you’re a journalist.
Articles – write them as the business owner sharing a story, news or event.
Sixth Step – Create Social Media accounts
Sign up for Twitter, Facebook etc and start mentioning your restaurant in more places. Search online for: no cost marketing – or words to that effect, and you’ll be surprised at how much great information is available to you.
I hope this helps you work out how to market a restaurant
That’s just a few small things you could do for no cost – I hope it helps, and I wish you all the very best of luck for your new restaurant.
If you’d like to learn more about marketing your business and website, grab my 7 free marketing video tutorials >>
by Teena Hughes