A great restaurant promotion can often be the deciding factor in where guests choose to eat, according to the National Restaurant Association. If you're in a slow season or working your way back from pandemic capacity restrictions, a promotion could be a lifeline to grow sales and stay afloat.

But time, budget, and staff constraints sometimes mean that marketing your restaurant promotion is easier said than done. Lucikly, there are strategies you can use to make sure your promotions are getting to the right people - efficiently and cost effectively.

Promoting your restaurant promo

Start by taking advantage of our digital culture. As our ability to go out has seesawed following on-again, off-again stay-at-home orders, many have turned to technology to access their favorite meals. According to Fidelity, 48% of American consumers use a smartphone or mobile device to place delivery orders, and 37% use a computer. With this in mind, a digital strategy that combines social media and email marketing is likely your best place to start.

But don't discount traditional point-of-purchase marketing approaches, like signs, posters, and staff recommendations, just yet. While anxiety about dining in at restaurants persists, the National Restaurant Association reports that almost half of adults surveyed plan to eat on-premises during the next few months — if the option is available. And if your online ordering and delivery business is booming, placing inserts in takeout bags is a great way to get in front of your customers.

Social media

Facebook or Google ads can effectively spread the word about your restaurant promotion to a wide audience. Facebook ads, in particular, are highly flexible and affordable, and they offer a more targeted approach to your campaign. You set your goals and cast your net based on factors like age and location, and you're in control of how long the ads run.

Website and email marketing

Your website can be a great promotional tool, too. You can use analytics to find areas of your site that get the most traffic and place your promotional offers there. You can also add pop ups to the homepage or online ordering section to capture attention.

Email marketing and newsletters are another low-cost way to advertise your restaurant promotion, but to make use of them, you'll need a database of guests contact information. Operators already participating in a loyalty program have a leg up in this instance, as they can use data collected to reach out to guests with special offers.

Leaning on your resources and partnerships

A multichannel marketing approach requires time and effort, but leaning on the resources you already have can boost efficiencies.

If you already have an established website and you're active on social media, expand on those efforts. Check if your point-of-sale has integrated software to streamline your marketing processes. Leading restaurant technology integrates point-of-sale system and marketing tools, giving you a one-stop shop for designing, evaluating, and delivering campaigns.

"Campaigns" can sound overwhelming, but they don't need to be. Using marketing tools built for restaurant owners, you can easily create promotional social media and email marketing campaigns by using templates or a drag-and-drop editor. Some software even tracks how your marketing campaigns are performing by analyzing how your guests are interacting with them. When you know what your guests are — and aren't — responding to, you can adjust your strategy for optimal results. Look at you, marketing whizz.

Leveraging guest data

Ultimately, restaurant promotions can help you grow your customer base and collect new guests' contact information. But communication shouldn't stop once a promotion ends. If you can get to know your guests and their needs, habits, and behaviors better, then your knowledge becomes a resource for smarter business decisions and more rewarding marketing campaigns.

Hidden among your guest data could be new growth opportunities and ideas for engagement initiatives. For example, you might discover ways to segment guests and tailor promotional offers that each group will love. You could also offer a reward for loyal patrons, or provide an incentive for infrequent guests to return to your restaurant. Another alternative is to identify high-value guests and impress them with a VIP service, such as priority reservation.

When you unlock the full potential of your data, you'll get a clearer picture of the communication channels that your guests are most responsive to, and find a way to tweak your messages so they stand out.

In today's hyperconnected world, a multi-pronged approach is the best way to spread the word about your restaurant promotion. Many restaurateurs are catching on to the role technology can play in supercharging business and are adopting fit-for-purpose systems that combine marketing and point-of-sale. With the right tools in hand, you can effortlessly marketing your promotion, track your campaign's impact, and leverage the data to keep guests coming back.

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