If the past two years and the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we need to be prepared for anything. The Sydney lockdowns have significantly impacted the hospitality industry, diminishing restaurant bookings and dampening consumer confidence, really hitting the buying habits of dining customers in the country. Now we have just passed the worst of the Omicron de facto lockdown that happened over Dec & Jan and people are now starting to venture out again and visit eateries.
So what is the best strategy to attract customers again and when is the best time to do this?
As customers look to get back to reality and choose dine-in instead of takeaway, the top hospitality venues are jumping on board and utilising marketing to increase exposure and grow their customer base, before the market gets overcrowded. There is a lot of confusion over what is happening with venues and who is open when and what is on offer.
So right now is the ideal time to cut through the noise and get in front of people! Before all your competition has time to mobilise, is the best time to be pushing and hitting the ground running. All of our best clients are doing that right now and making sure they are heard.
Remember RECENCY & FREQUENCY is the key to effective marketing!
Here at CPM, we have been specialised in hospitality marketing for over 9 years, assisting 200+ Sydney restaurants and cafes grow their following and customer base, including some of the best names in Sydney. We thought we would lay out what the most important tips are that you as a cafe, restaurant or takeaway owner would need to do. Here is a list of what we believe are the most important things to do in order to grow your business, attract more customers and build your brand.
The backbone of your online presence relies on producing quality content to WOW your audience. You want people commenting, liking, tagging their friends and sharing your dishes and building excitement about your brand. The first step of getting good content is to hire a professional or freelance photographer to photograph your menu. This helps ensure that the photos you are publishing online are professional, aligns with your brand and shows the best aspects of your dishes. By showcasing visually pleasing, creative and entertaining content, customers are more likely to trust your business and engage with it. Having a professional food photographer, your food will be captured in an attractive style, setting your brand apart from your competitors. Add value with each post, whether it's aesthetically pleasing, informative or entertaining content- ensure that each post gives something to the viewer. This will make it more memorable and have a better chance of encouraging the viewer to become a follower and then a regular customer. Click here to read more about the power of food photography here!
Work alongside some of Sydney's best hospitality brands! Here are some of the top clients that we have worked with and assisted in boosting their growth and getting customers in during this challenging time!
Over the past few years, paid advertising via Instagram and Facebook has grown exponentially to be the main driver of hospitality traffic. The great thing about paid advertising is that it enables you to directly reach the customers you want who are most likely to engage with your service. These days, the best venues have a targeted ad strategy with ad campaigns being monitored for effectiveness and great 'call-to-action' on them. Make sure that your cafe or restaurant has a great ad strategy as well as targeting your most likely customers. As an agency, we schedule regular calls, directly with Facebook, that help guide us on our ad strategy as the platforms evolve, and how best to effectively spend your marketing budget. It is way more strategic ad effective than hitting the boost post button! By setting an adequate budget and strategy, you effectively align your brand with your target market, exposing your venue to a larger and more active audience. Click here to read more about the importance of Facebook and Instagram ads here!
A Strong online presence
Websites are crucial for customers to learn about your business. Websites such as TripAdvisor and Google Business ensures your customers are met with clear and easily accessible information, such as how to make a booking, checking out your menu, finding the opening hours and seeing where you are located. This allows your customers to directly engage with your cafe and restaurant directly. Creating a clear website and online presence also builds owner-customer trust, credibility, visibility and range. It is also a great way to gain new customers in your area to ensure you achieve good ratings.
short-form video content
Short-form video content, in the form of TikToks and Instagram Reels, has blown up recently for the hospitality industry. Making videos that show off your venue, menu, behind the scenes and even fun challenges is a sure way to build a strong following and hype around your venue. Get creative with it! By staying up to date with what is trending online and making videos that highlight the exciting aspects of your business, the Facebook and TikTok algorithm will reward you with more exposure to people who may have not known about your business prior. These video styles don’t need to be super professional or flashy, as many businesses have flourished from doing simple videos that your audience can relate to. Have fun with it!
an effective hook/signature dish
You want to differentiate yourself from the competition and be known for something. Foodies love to try and experience something new and unique, and respond really well when you come up with a menu item that has never been seen before. Ideally, you should have a unique and exclusive menu item and an aesthetically pleasing venue that sets your brand apart from the rest. Try to always stand out and don’t be afraid to try something different to what everyone else is doing! Be aware of food trends and see how you can put your own unique twist on it!
Become a local hero
Creating customer loyalty is one of the best ways to have a constant influx of visitors - build up a good local following via deals, loyalty programmes, etc. Once customers realise that you have a good menu, and constantly changing deals and promotions going on, they will be excited and keep coming back for more. An effective way to achieve this is by establishing a basic loyalty program, or by creating regular specials and deals. Having something as simple as a coffee loyalty card will keep customers coming back. It is also a good idea to build relationships with your valued customers, making your cafe or restaurant a pleasant and familiar place for them to get their morning coffee, have a friends brunch, study over a cake and coffee and so much more.
Public relations (or PR) is the best way to extend your market reach beyond your immediate area and build hype around your venue. Having your business appear in the press will retain public interest and will allow you to tell your brand's story. Online and print media is read by hundreds and thousands of people on a daily basis, making it an extremely powerful marketing tool. Sharing your business to the media is the best way to achieve maximum exposure, putting your restaurant or cafe in the spotlight of places customers should go visit. Your business is able to feature in the media following a well-written press release and many follow-ups. Not only that but increased exposure and publicity offers credibility – if the media is vouching for a place, it MUST be good! Getting featured in Good Food, Broadsheet and Eat Drink Play are really helpful in getting awareness and people to your door. With effective food PR, you can have people travelling across the city, interstate or even internationally to visit your venue!
Effective use of influencers
Influencers have taken over the social media sphere and have become the new trusted figures, showing their followers the coolest and most exciting spots to visit on their next breakfast, lunch or dinner out. Food bloggers specifically can directly affect consumer opinions and perspectives on your business. They allow you to reach a market that is already looking for new places to try and new things to eat. When a foodie influencer provides positive remarks regarding your cafe or restaurant, this builds the trust of thousands of their followers who become your potential customers. You can read about how to use influencers in detail here.
Utilising traditional marketing
Traditional forms of marketing is a great way to support your online campaign and catch the eye of potential customers. This can include physical signage, emails, newsletters and more. It is a great way to direct target customers and gain exposure in your area, while also keeping them updated and informed regarding any changes your cafe or restaurant may have. This contributes to the overall brand awareness of your business.
Measuring and analysing your campaigns
In every industry, success comes from constantly assessing what is and isn't working in your current campaigns. Constantly reviewing your business model and marketing is vital as you can stop what isn’t working and lean into what parts of your campaigns are getting the most. A great way to do this is by comparing your social media marketing strategy to your social media analytics and business performance.
Consistency is key!
BE CONSISTENT! Prove to your audience that you are reliable and can be trusted. Stay in their social media feeds and keep their attention. The algorithm will reward you if you continue to post, update, comment and reply to your followers. By reinforcing your brand message, customers are more likely to engage with your business. This is a great way to implement a long term marketing strategy and achieve traction and success.
As we mentioned, RECENCY & FREQUENCY is the key to marketing success. An ad here and there is not really going to be effective, as consistent and frequent content is really important. Each of the points above adds up together as a cumulative effect and all work with each other to build up to one great result!
As Sydney starts to open up and customers are wanting to explore the city, now more than ever is the time to get a head start on your marketing and spread your business out to as many people as possible. Success and brand awareness is so much more than just the number of likes on Facebook or Instagram. It requires producing continuous quality content and interacting on your profile as much as possible.
We wish all restaurants and cafe owners the best with the rest of the year and hope this helps you achieve your marketing goals for 2022.
We know that all those things take continuous time and effort but if you are interested in the experts to do it all for you, we have great marketing packages that are specifically designed for Sydney hospitality businesses to thrive in this environment. We can show you how our hopso marketing packages have helped many of Sydney's top names thrive!
To find out more or If you are interested in improving your marketing strategy for your cafe or restaurant, contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org