With the holiday season approaching and indoor dining is closed across the US, restaurants are looking for holiday marketing ideas for their businesses to take advantage of the increase of customers.
Although the holidays are looking a little different this year with COVID-19 and more family dining will be taking place at home, you still want customers to know about your business and what you have to offer by making them feel welcome.
You want to “be found” by customers looking for places to dine this holiday season.
You want to “attract” new customers to your location through your menu offerings and promotions.
At the same time, you want to be on the top of your loyal customers mind by “engaging” with them and serving them in such a way they want to remain your “loyal” patrons.
To do this, you need to create a restaurant marketing plan.
Holiday Marketing Ideas
We have here some holiday marketing ideas that can help you get your restaurant ready for the holidays. Take a look and see which ones you can use today and try to use them frequently without overdoing it.
Here Are Our 7 Holiday Marketing Ideas for the restaurant:
1. Make Your Website User Friendly
During the holiday season, one of the things most customers want is convenience and an easy experience. They want a restaurant website that is easy to use and that will inform them of your specials, gift card promotions, and holiday hours.
If you are running a special holiday menu or have holiday restaurant promotions, make sure customers can find it when they visit your site.
Making your website more user friendly will show them that you care about their business.
Read blog post on "5 Must Have Features for Every Restaurant Website"
Many restaurants post longer holiday hours to keep up with holiday shoppers. If you have special holiday hours, be sure to let your customers know. This need be on your website, on your social media channels, or via your text and email campaigns that you send out. It is a good way to invite them in to try your holiday specials or offer them gift card promotions.
A user-friendly website is the first thing to consider among the restaurant marketing ideas.
2. Get Festive With Your Online Branding
Re-brand your website, social media channels, blogs, and emails with holiday themes. There is a variety of ways you can decorate your online pages online by choosing the right theme. It will show that your business is festive and help put your customers in the holiday shopping, and dining mood.
People in the holiday shopping mood tend to spend more money so why not invite them in with your festive pages? Show them that your restaurant is the place to be this holiday season.
This festive branding idea among all the restaurant marketing ideas takes some creative resources but well worth the branding effort.
3. Get Your Customers Involved
Your customers are already on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. Why not get them involved in your restaurant marketing?
Offer them specials if they share their visit to your restaurant with their social media friends as this will spread the word about your restaurant, the food, and the service.
Invite them to share pictures of your food on their Instagram or Pinterest pages and you will reach more potential customers that wouldn’t have known about your restaurant unless their friends suggested it.
Word of mouth advertising is free and it works. This is one of the easiest ideas of the restaurant marketing ideas to get going.
4. Update Your Social Media
The holiday season is fast-paced and updating your social media regularly will help keep your customers up to date with specials, holiday hours, or special menu items.
Remember, your customers are checking their social media feeds often and if they see a picture of your lunch or dinner special, they just might plan on visiting your restaurant for a bite to eat. You don’t want to take over their page with too many posts, but keep them regular enough so they will see you.
Want to increase engagement on Facebook, Read blog post on "7 Ways To Increase Facebook Engagement For Restaurants"
Too busy to run your holiday social media channels?
Try a social media management tool such as Hootsuite. Use it to schedule your posts throughout the holiday season. But you still have to engage with your customers on social and respond to them in a timely manner.
5. Become a Donation Site
The holidays bring many fundraising drives with it and your restaurant can help out while getting a boost in your marketing. Organizations such as Toys for Tots and the United Way will partner with your restaurant letting you hold a fundraising drive or become a donation drop-off.
You can add this to your social media channels, text and email shots, and any other online marketing tools you are using. This demonstrates your involvement in the community and customers like to see that, especially during the holidays. When a business does something for others, customers notice and so do local news stations, restaurant blog,s and online review sites. Think of it as free publicity.
You can also throw in your holiday hours, holiday specials and promotions, and anything else that will invite potential customers in.
6. Reach Through Email Marketing
If you have a good size email list and you have nurtured your email subscribers by engaging with them frequently, this is the time to engage with them and send holiday promotions.
Send out holiday cards with an invitation to visit your restaurant and try your holiday specials menu. You can also tell customers about any gift card promotions you are running and any after shopping drink specials you have.
Any chance you get to tell potential customers about your business is a chance to get them to visit for lunch or dinner and this restaurant advertising idea will get more customers in the door.
Read blog post on "7 Email Strategies to Boost Restaurant Marketing"
7. Get Staff Involved
In addition to leveraging the digital channels for holiday promotions, it is important that the staff is engaged to make the holiday promotions a success. Getting the staff involved with the holiday promotions gives a boost to the digital overall marketing efforts.
Let your staff be dressed in the festive colors to match the holiday decor. They bring cheer to the restaurant and directly interact with the guests.
Let your staff engage in social media channels instead of you being the only one trying to promote. With the younger staff generally active on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, encourage them to post and engage on those platforms.
During the holiday season, people usually spend more than they would any other time of year. Customers are busy shopping, don’t have time to cook or just want to relax with friends over dinner and drinks. You can maximize your marketing effectiveness and let Q4 earnings set a record for your business.
By using online marketing, you can reach more customers, more efficiently on a more frequent basis. Social media, email marketing and website upgrades can attract new and repeat business and make this holiday season a successful one.
The Digital Restaurant helps restaurant owners market their businesses online, implement the various restaurant marketing ideas, and profit from the holiday seasons while growing their customer base and seeing potential repeat business after the holidays.
Now your turn:
Tell us what restaurant marketing ideas you have used in your restaurant in the past that has worked for your business. We would love to hear from you in the comments section below.