How to use marketing to create a word of mouth buzz around your local restaurant and gain more long-term customers.
Most local business owners will tell you that their best customers first came to their business after hearing about how great someone else’s experience was. In fact, according to Nielson, 82% of Americans say that they like to get recommendations from friends and family before making purchase decisions, and that stat jumps to 92% when looking at the millennial generation. While marketing and technology has advanced to offer more technical and targeted forms of marketing in the last 10 years, there is no denying that traditional word of mouth marketing still has a place in the local restaurant marketing plan.
Based on the definition of marketing, word of mouth technically doesn’t even fall within the category since it is an unpaid promotion of your business- but that’s exactly where marketing needs to be. How can you, as a restaurant owner, use marketing to tee-up a great experience for customers that will lend itself to positive word of mouth marketing? In this scenario you have just won the business of 2+ new customers, both the customer that had a great experience and the people that they share the experience with.
At Welcomemat we recognize that even the best restaurants need marketing to keep new faces coming in, and seats filled. But we also recognize that it’s important for you to know when a new customer is responding to your marketing so that you can create the best customer experience for them. In our 15 years of local restaurant marketing we’ve seen how our formula creates buzzworthy experiences that can help your loyal customer base grow to new heights.
Recognize a New Customer
When it’s a customer’s first time at your restaurant it is important for you and your staff to be aware. First experiences are the most important encounter that a customer will have with your restaurant. They will generalize from the experience and make long term decisions about if they want to come back. Knowing that a customer is creating a first impression allows you and your staff to tailor their experience and provide the best possible customer service for them. Great customer service leaves the customer feeling satisfied and encouraged to share their experience with others.
By targeting your marketing, you’ll know details about your customers that can lead to a memorable conversation. At Welcomemat, our new mover marketing program only targets new residents in your community. When they present their Welcomemat certificate you know that they are a new customer and a new resident. This is a great opportunity to ask them about their move: where they moved from, how they like the neighborhood, etc.. Having a meaningful conversation with a customer creates a more positive and memorable experience of your restaurant.
Stick to your Business Purpose
Your marketing worked! You have a new customer in your seat. Now you’re ready for the easy part – do what your business does well. Your restaurant is successful because you have great food and create a great experience for diners. Stick to the guiding principles that power your business and represent your brand well. Don’t try too hard, just do what you do best. If it’s a good fit for them, they will have a great experience and want to bring their friends and family back!
Say Thank You
Don’t let the conversation stop at the door. While the customer probably had a great and memorable experience at your restaurant, it’s always beneficial to remind them with a positive and gracious touchpoint such as a thank you note or email. Reaching them after their visit to your restaurant will refresh their memory of the experience and make them even more likely to share their experience and come back sooner.
The advantage of restaurants is that everyone eats, and people love to talk about food. By leveraging word of mouth marketing within your restaurant marketing plan you can expand your marketing reach and build a stronger loyal customer base. If you’re interested in learning more about Welcomemat’s new mover marketing for restaurants , you can request more information HERE.