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What are the 12 best strategies and tips to market your cafe, bar or restaurant online in 2023?

10 years of insights from the Leading Hospitality marketers!

CPM Online Marketing has been a leading hospitality marketing specialist since 2013, at the dawn of social media marketing and has been in the industry for the last 10 years proudly supporting cafes, restaurants and eateries through all the ups and down in the hospitality industry.

We have helped put some of the big names in the hospitality industry on the map along the way and helped small startup cafes turn into larger franchise chains. A lot has changed in hospitality marketing in that time and a lot has stayed the same and become an evergreen marketing standard that we have helped to establish.

Now in today’s digital age, social media has become an essential tool for hospitality businesses to reach out to their target audience and establish their brand identity.

However, with the increasing number of venues sprouting up, standing out in the crowded market can be a challenging task. The key to success in this highly competitive industry lies in developing a strong and clear social media and online strategy that helps your cafe or restaurant to stand out from the rest.

As leading hospitality marketers with 10 years of experience and working with over 200 hospitality clients, we have found that certain essential things work the best for cafe or restaurant marketing. So we have decided to put this list of 12 best things that a hospitality business should be doing to promote their business in 2023!

1. First Define Your Target Audience.

Before you even start creating content for your cafe, it's crucial to know who your target audience is. Understanding your potential customer's age group, interests, and behaviours can help you create content that appeals to them. Whether it is young Asian bubble tea drinkers, affluent fine diners or burger fans, you need to know who you're targeting for your content and also ad strategy.

2. Choose The Right Social Media Platforms to Market From.

With so many social media platforms available, it's crucial to choose the ones that are most relevant to your target audience. Instagram and Facebook are two of the most popular platforms for cafes and coffee shops, as they offer a visually appealing platform to showcase your products and services. Additionally, platforms like TikTok are also rising and can be used to engage with your followers in real-time and create a sense of community around your brand. We do know it is hard to market on every platform with limited time and resources, so we do have a strong opinion on which one is best in 2023. If you are interested in which platform you definitely need to be on, then you can read it here on our other blog: Here’s a hint, Instagram is still the King!

3. Create Stunning and Visually Appealing Content.

Visual content is more likely to catch the attention of your followers, and it's an excellent way to showcase your cafe's products, ambience, and services. Use high-quality images and videos to showcase your menu items, promotions, and special events. Using professional photography is a must these days to capture your products and showcase them in the best way possible. With so much noise out there, these days your Instagram and Facebook accounts need to leap out of your phone and your grid has to look outstanding at first glance. People already make a first opinion in the first 3 seconds of looking at your feed so your photos need to pop! Long gone are the days of just iPhone shots and a random-looking feed if you want to stand out. At CPM we have always worked with the best in the business of capturing content and have built up great working relationships over the years!

4. Be Consistent With Your Posting.

Recency and frequency are King! Posting consistently and frequently on social media is crucial for businesses that want to get noticed in today's digital age. With so many brands vying for attention on social platforms, it's easy to get lost in the noise if you're not making a regular and consistent effort to engage your audience. By posting content frequently, businesses increase their chances of being seen by potential customers, and by posting consistently, they create a sense of reliability and dependability that can help build trust and loyalty.

Furthermore, social media algorithms tend to favour content that is fresh and current, which means that businesses that post regularly are more likely to be seen by their target audience. In short, recency and frequency are essential elements of effective social media marketing, helping businesses to stay top-of-mind and attract new customers over time. How many times should you post to Instagram and Facebook? At the very, very minimum it is 3 times but 5 -7 times a week regularly is much better according to most of the social media experts. Also Instagram is still the no.1 platform in the world for people to connect with brands, so you need to have your content out there REGULARLY!

5. Share Some Behind-the-Scenes Content.

Behind-the-scenes content gives your followers a glimpse into the inner workings of your cafe, making them feel like they are a part of the team. If you have the footage and time, share this type of content only if captured well. This is best done via stories and not on the feed as it usually doesn't mix well unless done artistically. Say using photos of your baristas preparing coffee, baking pastries, and creating latte art. This type of content can help humanize your brand and create a connection with your followers.

6. Utilize User-Generated Content.

Encourage your followers to share their experiences at your cafe by using relevant hashtags and using influencers. User-generated content can be an excellent way to showcase your cafe's offerings, as well as build a sense of community around your brand. When you feature user-generated content on your page, make sure to tag the person who shared it, and this will increase the chances of them sharing your content with their followers. At CPM we have an active blogging community that is part of our packages to come and visit and post about our client's venues. Apart from the great exposure to their audience we then use their content again on the client's own pages in the form of posts, stories or reels.

7. Social Media Paid Adverts are Essential.

While organic social media marketing is important, paid advertising on social media platforms definitely reaches a larger audience and drives more traffic to your website or physical location. Everyone that knows social media marketing knows that organic is now not as effective as it used to be and you have to “Pay to Play!” on social media. Ads can laser target your audience through paid ads on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

We don't mean just boosting posts either! Meta ads manager is a very powerful platform and when used right, can laser target your audience and give you lots of exposure as well. Ads manager also gives you amazing feedback and metrics on your target audience and demographic as well. These days social media ads strategy is as, if not more important than organic posts and how pretty your feed looks. We have been using FB& IG ads for a long time since Meta switched over to paid ads as a platform. We know also incorporate TikTok ads into our arsenal if there is more ad budget for our clients, but Meta ads are a must to start with!

8. Collaborate With Local Influencers or Food Bloggers and Use Influencer Marketing!

Collaborating with local influencers or food bloggers can be an effective way to promote your business and attract new customers. Influencers on Instagram and TikTok can showcase your restaurant to their followers, giving you access to a wider audience and increasing your brand awareness. At CPM we have been championing the use of Influencers since 2013 when Instagram influencers and food bloggers first started appearing. Back then we had to explain and convince cafe and restaurant owners that they were legitimate and could help them get exposure as many except a few were very sceptical. Now 10 years later the rest is history and the industry knows what a food blogger is as well as they know about every other aspect of their business! At CPM we have an influencer community that we have and curate constantly to send to our clients. We also monitor and check their insights and engagement carefully to make sure that they are delivering on their side of the deal as well and always bring good value from their visit to our clients.

9. Host Specials and Deals.

Hosting specials and deals can be a great way to engage with the community and bring people to your business. This is particularly important in the current tough economic climate, where people are looking for value for their money. Consider running weekly specials or offering discounts for large groups to encourage repeat business. This then should tie in with social posts and ads to keep people interested. With the cost of living and inflation on the top of people's minds at the moment, deals are getting more and more attractive as people still want to go out but want to get value for their money.

10. Provide Exceptional Customer Service and Loyalty Programs.

Providing exceptional customer service and offering loyalty programs can help to retain existing customers and build a loyal following. Rewarding repeat business with discounts or special perks can be a great way to keep customers coming back for more. With so many choices out there we retaining regular customers is important to keep that regular customer base supporting you.

11. EDM (Electronic Direct Mail) Marketing.

EDM marketing is a crucial tool for cafes and restaurants looking to build and maintain a strong customer base. By utilizing this marketing strategy, cafes and restaurants can effectively communicate with their customers, increase brand awareness, and ultimately drive sales. EDM marketing allows businesses to send targeted and personalized messages directly to their customers' inboxes, which can include promotions, events, new menu items, and special deals. Unlike Social media platforms, you own this IP and control and it can't be changed on you like a social platform!

With the ability to track open rates and click-through rates, businesses can also gather valuable data on their customers' preferences and behaviour, allowing them to tailor their marketing efforts and improve their overall customer experience. In a highly competitive industry like the food and beverage industry, EDM marketing can give cafes and restaurants a significant edge in attracting and retaining loyal customers. There are many POS and booking systems these days that build up your mailing list automatically for you. Every restaurant or cafe that takes bookings needs to have this set up and connected!

12. Monitor and Adjust Your Marketing Strategy.

Finally, constantly monitoring and adjusting your marketing strategy based on customer feedback and business performance is essential to ensure continued success. Regularly review your marketing metrics, such as website traffic and social media engagement, to see what is working and what isn't. Use analytics tools to track your engagement rates, reach, and conversions. This information can help you make informed decisions about what is working and what isn't, allowing you to refine your strategy and achieve better results. Use this information to make changes and optimize your marketing efforts.

In conclusion, marketing your cafe or restaurant effectively is now essential to success in this day and age.

The rise of Social media marketing has gone hand in hand with the rise of the hospitality industry. It has been a match made in heaven and has really helped put some venues on the map!

If you're not marketing online and have a proper marketing strategy for your venue, then you are really far behind your competition as most of the industry is using doing it.

Back when we first started the hospitality marketing business 10 years ago, social media and online marketing was a luxury but now it is the industry standard and essential for success. In this hyper-competitive market, marketing is now a necessity and not a luxury anymore. It is essential for attracting new customers and building a loyal following. By using a combination of the strategies outlined above, you can differentiate your business from the competition and stand out from the crowd. Remember also to constantly monitor and adjust your marketing strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

If this all sounds like a lot of work, it is!

It's not impossible for hospitality owners to do this themselves but it is very time-consuming and also difficult to be a master of all areas of marketing as well as running the operations of your business. We understand and that's why at CPM we have put together packages that cover all aspects of hospitality marketing that a cafe, restaurant or eatery would need and wrapped it all up into a package that can be delivered at a reasonable price.

If this is something that sounds good, then get in touch with us for a free assessment of your business!


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