Would you try a new type drink your friend suggests over watching a paid ad? Around 90% of people would take action based on what their friend tells them over any other type of marketing, according to stats.
Having a chat with your mates about the latest meal they had or a place they went can have a huge impact - so when customers do talk about you - you want them to be saying good things!
So, how can you make sure you get talked about in a great way to get new customers or to build reputation? Here are some suggestions.
Make Your Experience Unique
So, you need to come up with a good way to stand out. What can achieve this? When it was open, the Ice Bar in London created a (snow) storm with its experience making punters wear globes and scarfs, ordering from bars made of ice with sculptures everywhere. You either need a special ingredient that elevates your restaurant to another level, an unusual drink or a unique experience. Whether it's magic tricks at the table or some other form of entertainment to get people talking. Find your unique selling point and emphasise it.
Plan Special Events
Planning a special event or attraction is a strategy to boost word-of-mouth movement with your customers and the people they know. This doesn't have to cost a lot, either. Competitions can work well, promoted through social media, since people like to share them around and promote them for you. You need to find something that works for your customers and your audience and make the most of it. It also needs to fit with your restaurant's theme and cuisine. If you can take advantage of existing holidays and tie them to your restaurant then this works well.
Make a Fanatastic Impression
People want to be entertained. This means that if you can do something that makes them smile or laugh then you're already going to be on their good side. Make sure it fits the character of your restaurant. Create a humorous advert or campaign. Create something that pokes fun at yourself. Something like this will generate goodwill amongst people and attract attention to your restaurant - maybe even press coverage. Making an impression starts with great customer service - asking the customer what they'd like before they ask you, filling their glass with water - all those little things that customers appreciate. Encourage your staff to build rapport with customers by using their names (if they know them) and dedicating each table to one waiter for their whole exoerience. Even a bit of a negative about the food can be turned into a plus if you take care of the issue by replacing a meal or offering a discount. Customers will remember how you dealt with an issue straight away and will want to talk about the freebie they got.
Encourage Photo Sharing
Dedicate a space where customers can get photos taken of themselves on their night out. Not only will this be memorable, but they can share the photos through social media. Customers can either take their own photos or dedicate a member of staff to take photos. With your customers' consent, you can also share photos on your own social media channels, tag customers (again, with consent) and boost word-of-mouth.
Use a hashtag for customers to share where they were and how great it was!
Give customers a reason to return. Whether it's a discount on their next meal, a discount for a recommendation or a referral to someone, will be the va-va-voom for people to remember to tell at least one person about your restaurant. Customers love to feel they're getting money off or something special for next time.
No matter what you decide to do, you should make sure that it is part of an overall consistent marketing campaign. This means that you should incorporate it into your social media and internet strategy, as well as in other forms of marketing. Whatever your budget, give your customers something to talk about and give them an memorable experience they'll want to share with friends, family and anyone in-between.
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