HOW TO TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR ONLINE TRAFFIC — The Restaurant Marketing Edition

by Garett Campbell-Wilson

Hello Everyone, before we get into the article, I invite you to check out my latest episode of The Locally Delicious Podcast. I interview Chef Lynda & Chef Denis Larouche, who together own and are both hands-on in running the Argo Cafe, which is one of the oldest restaurants in Vancouver, BC. We discuss the restaurant business, how to market your restaurant, and what it takes to survive in the restaurant industry.

I’d also like to encourage you to follow me on Instagram — just a fun place to connect, talk about ideas and see my behind-the-scenes process as an artist & entrepreneur.

Now, let’s get into the article. There are a couple of reasons why I wanted to write and share this with you:

  1. It simply answers common questions I’m asked when working with new digital marketing clients and I wanted to make this information available to more of you who are curious to learn new ways to market your restaurant.
  2. My team and I at Cerebrum Marketing Group have been providing a service called Cerebrum Connect which is tailored to help North American business owners within the restaurant, food truck, and food product industries disproportionately increase their sales and brand awareness without allocating a massive budget for advertising.

With that said, as you know it’s easy for restaurants to rely on at least one platform for all of their digital marketing, especially when they manage to use the algorithm in their favor. The problem with such a strategy is that your restaurant marketing is essentially at the mercy of your preferred platform, and sometimes things go wrong. Let’s fix that.

Real quick, though, before you read the rest of this article. I need to point out that many of you who are restaurant owners are 100% leaving money on the table if you don’t start thinking about building a list. Just ask yourself, how many guests that ordered from your restaurant today are you able to get back in the door more frequently?

It probably crosses your mind once in a while, but perhaps you don’t have the time, resources, or know-how to successfully build a digital book of guests. I just want to remind you that without collecting the name, email, and phone number of each guest that leaves your business the potential to generate recurring revenue simply melts away — therefore the question becomes “how long can you afford to lose this recurring revenue 🤔?

So please, use this article as an incentive to seriously begin collecting your restaurant’s guests’ information so that you can market to them again in the future to get them back into your restaurant.

I hope this outline will provide you with the knowledge and foundation to begin developing a better relationship with your new and existing guests as seamlessly as possible!

WHAT IS A DIGITAL GUEST DATABASE?

A digital guest database is for restaurants that see the value in building an asset represented by a digital book of guests and sending them special targeted offers according to their personal favorite menu items. At the end of the day, the main function is to get your guests to return more often and spend more money.

I know that building a list of your guests sounds like it will take a lot of time, but if you know what you’re doing it’s relatively easy to implement in your business. Keep in mind having a guest database is essential to have control over your advertising budget, generating repeat foot traffic and online orders.

The goal of having a guest database is to build a list of VIP guests, build your brand awareness, and excite your local community to engage with your business. Meanwhile, enabling you to also develop a closer and long-term relationship with your new and existing guests visiting your restaurant because it always costs more to market to new guests than existing guests.

Your guest database should include the collection of your guests’ names, emails, and phone numbers, so you can market to them anytime according to their menu preferences so you can generate repeat business when you need it. For example:

“Let’s say you own an Italian Restaurant, and you have a list of 1000 guests who really love your menu, but 250 of those guests are REALLY big Fettucini lovers. You can send a broadcast to a segmented list of Fettucini lovers and as time goes by, your growing database will allow you to segment each guest into specific categories, so you can send them offers on various holidays and slow days so you can generate more revenue.”

The bottom line is every restaurant wants and needs a proven method of getting their existing and new guests to come back more frequently.

WHAT IS THE COST OF ‘NOT’ BUILDING A LIST OF TRAFFIC THAT YOU CONTROL?

Remember when Facebook went down for 6 hours back in 2021 and the entire internet freaked out. That morning, I did my usual morning routine of firing off emails and responding to comments on social media. When I landed on Facebook nothing was working, and all the content in my feed was days old. I immediately knew that something was wrong. That’s when I started receiving emails and phone calls from online advertising clients asking me about what was happening. Many were concerned because their ads weren’t running, which obviously would impact their cash flow.

When you’re relying on communication platforms such as Facebook & Instagram and there is a breakdown in your ability to communicate with your audience, what’s your backup plan?

All businesses, and restaurants specifically, need to stop procrastinating and start getting serious about building their digital guest database. If you’re using Facebook & Instagram as your primary way of communicating with your audience, then you will remember that day having no way of letting your followers know about your important business updates. Especially, if you’re a food truck, how did you communicate to everyone where you will be on that day?

I hope that event made you realize how vulnerable and disconnected you were from your audience, but fortunately, this can be avoided.

If you run a business in the restaurant industry or are managing a food product brand that advertises on social media, now may be a good time to seriously focus on building your guest database. Below, I break down three ways you can get started:

1) GROW YOUR LIST OF NAMES, EMAILS & PHONE NUMBERS

Email and SMS marketing is the best way to build relationships and turn your existing and new guests into repeat business. According to Red Eye, the average open rate for email sits between 28% and 33% according to data from Hubspot. The same data suggests open rates gradually increase with the number of campaigns you have running each month.

The average open rate of a text message sits at about 99%, with 97% of messages being read within 15 minutes of delivery.

Since anyone who joins your guest database must have had some interest in your restaurant when they signed up, we know this is a warm guest.

Therefore, periodically popping up as a name in their inbox or text notifications will guarantee that they will remember that you exist, even when they don’t open your message each time.

For this reason, when it comes to growing your guest database, you need to be thoughtful.

Here’s an example. So, your guest walks in to place an order. Let’s say it’s for a slice of pizza, and you ask them:

Waitress: “Have you joined our VIP Club yet?

Guest: “No, I haven’t.”

Waitress: “When you sign up today for our VIP Club, you get a FREE 6” cheese bread!” 😋

Once you get them on board, engage them with relevant, valuable special offers. It can be tempting to send out updates about your business, but I recommend keeping those notifications to a minimum using this strategy.

Instead, put yourself in the guest’s shoes and ask yourself “Why will they want to open your message” and “What about it will make them want to open the next one?” Your goal is to continuously build a list of subscribers who want to hear from you and then delight them with offers that get them excited.

2) SEND SPECIAL PROMOTIONS AND EXCLUSIVE OFFERS TO YOUR LIST

“The money is in the list”…as we say in marketing, and it couldn’t be more true as we navigate an era where visitors are drawn to businesses that they care about and have a desire to grow a real relationship with.

Now that you’re starting to collect their contact information, you can send ‘broadcast messages to them. Using Cerebrum Connect, we typically recommend sending one broadcast on a weekly basis that shares with them your unique types of offers, such as Scarcity Offers, Discount-Based Offers, Bait to Bigger Sale Offers, and a BOGO Offer (Buy 1 Get 1 Free).

If you are currently running an offer, that may be a good place to start.

If not, you can run any type of offer you’d like, however, we always recommend that you create a very Tasty Grand Slam Offer 🏀. What do I mean by that? Well, let me ask you a question: if you were to see your own offer flash on your phone or in your email, would you click to claim the offer?

Exactly, it’s an offer that will immediately, from your perspective, excite your regulars and new guests to place an order.

3) INCENTIVIZE YOUR LIST TO SHARE AND PROMOTE YOUR OFFER WITH THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY

​​There are additional ways that we help you get guests to come back more often and spend more money. Sometimes life gets in the way, and they are unable to take advantage of your first offer before it expires.

To increase conversions, you’re going to need a system that can automatically send out reminders to encourage them to come in before the offer expires.

You’ll also need a way for your guests to share your offers with friends and family, resulting in increased foot traffic and revenues.

NEED HELP BUILDING A GUEST DATABASE SYSTEM FOR YOUR RESTAURANT?

Cerebrum Connect will automatically do all the heavy lifting for your business. You will have the ability to predictably generate revenues on demand. You will also have a fast and convenient communication platform to notify your customers of things that are happening in your business. Cerebrum Connect will encourage your customers to return more often, spend more money and tell their friends and keep your business top of mind.

Cerebrum Connect can deliver to you what every business needs and wants: growth in revenues.

Once again, if you’re a business owner and don’t have the time, knowledge, or resources to build your own customer database, then let my team at Cerebrum Marketing Group take that off your plate with Cerebrum Connect.😉

Want to request a demo? Text ‘CONNECT’ to 778–770–5809 📲

THANKS FOR READING!

Signing off. This is Garett Campbell-Wilson (aka GCAMWIL). I look forward to sharing more helpful marketing and advertising tips in future articles, videos, and podcasts.

Don’t forget to hit the subscribe and like button and stay tuned for my future articles. It would mean a lot to me if you would spread the love and share this with someone you know who can benefit from reading this.

Thanks for reading! 🙏🏾

Take care of yourselves.

See you in Digi.

About Garett Campbell-Wilson

Garett Campbell-Wilson is an artist @gcamwilstudio and digital marketing consultant @cerebrummg sharing thoughts on the creative process, marketing strategies, and smart ways to grow your business.

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Garett Campbell-Wilson

Garett Campbell-Wilson

Artist @gcamwilstudio Co-Founder & President @cerebrummg Entrepreneur sharing thoughts on the creative process, marketing, and smart ways to grow your business.