Three ways to use the web to drive restaurant marketing ROI

By Denis Hancock
November 23, 2012
Three ways to use the web to drive restaurant marketing ROI

For many years marketers have been advised that social media demands a totally new communication mindset: “Broadcasting” is bad; engaging customers in personalized, two-way dialogue is good. And of course, going viral is what modern marketing dreams are made of.

But there are obvious problems with this advice. The most glaring is that most people connecting with brands online have no interest in dialogue. The best proof is that they aren’t engaging in it. Designing a strategy around what most people don’t want is typically a bad idea.

Ask people what they do want from brands and “special offers” almost always top the list. Information on new offerings is usually right up there as well. Basically exactly what most restaurant marketers are well accustomed to (dare I say) broadcasting – just through a different channel.

Connecting for free

What makes this channel so valuable, in turn, can be seen as having little to do with being “social” at all. Instead, it’s something far simpler – the ability to connect with consumers for “free” (think: no CPM, in addition to many other cost savings vs. traditional channels). Such free connections, which by this definition include the oft-neglected email list, are best viewed as a strategic asset where you can look for ways to enhance overall marketing return-on-investment (ROI) by spending less.

It’s a relatively easy idea to demonstrate by looking at larger brands like Starbucks, which currently has a base of 32 million people having “liked” them on Facebook alone. But even if your restaurant has a much smaller digital footprint, here are a few ideas you can think about implementing to better capitalize on web-enabled opportunities – and make your “traditional” marketing that much better in the process.

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