The recent surge and rapid transmissibility of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 instantly put restaurateurs back in hot water. For some locations, in-person dining has only recently been reintroduced, along with the group dining option and regular business hours. As businesses plan for rapid response and prepare for possible shutdown, here are four digital marketing strategies to help amplify your business’ reach, presence, and output.
1. Make sure your advertising is current, accurate and reaches the right audience.
With the new variant, your location could very well have to revert to an offsite restaurant, or in the worst case, close indefinitely. If you are able to offer your customers a drive-through or take-out option during this time, ensure that they are not only aware of this capability, but also exposed to its appeal. Take a look at your online analytics. What demographic group are you currently targeting? Are you advertising on a platform where people spend most of their time? As people prepare for the threat posed by the Omicron variant, they may be spending more time on social media and websites and less time driving your business. If you have room in your budget to allocate to your ad spend, now is the time to do it. Reach them where they are. Some marketing automations allow you to see what gender, age, and geo-targeting demographics you’re reaching and on what channels you’re doing it. Take advantage of this. Advertise your take-out menu, safe driving precautions, and the ability to serve your customers in a way they feel safe. It’s not enough to just market your product now – market the steps you are taking to keep your customers safe and happy.
2. Be there, even if you can’t be in person.
If your business has to temporarily close due to the Omicron variant, you still have the opportunity to stay ahead with your customers and your local community. Use your online publication, whether on Facebook or Instagram, and relay what is happening. If possible, reach out to local customers and community organizations you work with and launch an online campaign that gives you the opportunity to interact with people. What menu items do they miss the most? What is their best memory of your restaurant while waiting for its reopening? A strong consumer base and connection to the community will take you a long way once restrictions are lifted, and being able to be transparent and in touch with your consumers will help you a lot.
Maintain consistency. It may sound crazy, but one of the biggest challenges of the past year has been the deterioration of a place’s digital presence. Last March, brands that decided to shut down or completely eliminate online advertising fared much worse than those that chose to keep it. Why? Well, it’s crucial to note that you don’t have to completely eliminate your digital advertising during unprecedented times, and instead see it as an opportunity to stay online and in front of customers, just on a different level. This may mean pausing your campaigns or simply changing your budget to fit what you can offer right now. Instead of completely canceling your digital marketing vendor partner or subscription, try revamping your campaigns. This is one of the many benefits of 24/7 marketing automation and online presence. Persistent advertising gives you the ability to control your advertising whenever you want through subscription advertising services.
3. Do you have a loyalty program? Go to the top speed.
One way to really engage with your customers and keep them coming back is to use one of the basics – your loyalty rewards program. What menu items or experiences have you offered as a reward in the past? Interact with your most loyal customers and offer a free treat or meal depending on how many deliveries they order. For those who have been with your business for a long time, see what rewards you have that will get them discounts. Engage your customers to entice them to order and engage more with your location, wherever they are.
4. Create an at-home challenge.
Have you ever tried to perfect the recipe for your favorite restaurant? With more time at home to try to stay safe, customers can cook their own meals. Come up with a challenge for the prettiest burger, the most impressive simulated dining experience, or something engaging that will not only give customers a way to interact with and market your brand, but will invest time and effort. energy to your business. Winners may receive meals and/or gift cards for future use. You entice them to visit and return to your business, not to mention the free marketing competitors will do for you when competing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most influential and upsetting events of the past century. Business owners continue to face challenges and changes every day. We hope these digital marketing strategies help you and your business.
Mary Hanula is Eulerity’s Marketing Director. Eulerity is the most effective local marketing platform in the world. Using machine learning and automation, Eulerity’s industry-leading technology simplifies the complex world of developing and executing digital marketing programs, all for one flat, transparent fee. Our technology-based SaaS model is a fraction of the cost of traditional vendors. For more information on how Eulerity can amplify your online advertising with marketing automation, visit https://eulerity.com.