6 local marketing tips during Covid-19

With social distancing well underway, and restrictions placed on the hospitality industry, restaurants are quickly adapting their products and services to help maintain cash flow and keep staff employed.

In this rapidly changing environment, it’s important to have a local marketing strategy that will let people know that you’re still open for business. We believe that establishing a strong local ‘digital’ presence will be the key to engaging with your local community and succeeding throughout this period of uncertainty.

We have provided you with six tips that you can adopt for your own local marketing strategy. If you have any questions or need some help with your local marketing, we’re more than happy to help, so please feel free to get in touch with us.

Tip 1 – Update your website and Google My Business

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to update your website. Let people know what services you’re offering, such as a take-away and delivery option. It’s important that you promote these as soon as visitors arrive on the homepage, don’t force them to hunt for information.

Update your Google My Business page to reflect your new trading hours, link to take away menus and update the primary category. A great Google hack is to add keywords to your title, for example “take away”. This little trick will help boost visibility on Google maps.

Tip 2 – Send locally focused emails

Email is a quick and effective way to keep in touch with past customers and gain new ones. Leverage your customer email addresses and spread the message that you open for business. If you don’t currently have email addresses, add a sign-up form on your website and social media channels to encourage people to sign up for the latest updates.

In your emails, provide clear information about how you’re dealing with Covid-19, what your new services are, any specials you have running and links back to your website.

Pro tip:  by adding an offer in the email subject line (e.g. free delivery), it’s a great way to entice people to open your email and read what’s inside.

Tip 3 – Offer referral and loyalty incentives

Rewarding loyal customers is important to build repeat business and gaining a customer for life. An example might be on the 5th purchase, put a handwritten “voucher” into the delivery bag thanking them for their support and offer them a discount to use at your restaurant when it reopens.

Example: “Thanks for being such a loyal customer through these crazy times. Here’s 50% off for your bill next time you dine in the restaurant”. Encouraging loyal customers to refer their family friends is another good tactic.  You could offer a special for both the referrer and referee, for example, both will receive a free dessert on their next order.

Tip 4 – Encourage positive word of mouth

Word of mouth is a highly effective way to drive new customers. 92% of consumers will believe a recommendation from friends and family over any other type of advertising [source:  Neilson]

Be proactive by asking customers for reviews on Google, via email, or on social media. Participate on local community pages or local Facebook groups and tell people about your service and encourage others to do the same.

Another tactic is to partner with other local businesses that could compliment your service. For example you could partner with a local wine store to include a bottle of wine with your dinner delivery package or a bakery to provide bread with a meal.

Tip 5 – Run targeted Facebook & Google ads

This is a little more advance, but Facebook and Google allow you to target customers in your local area with advertisements. While this requires an investment in marketing, these tactics more often than not provide  immediate results including increased enquiries.

Similarly, to your email campaigns keep a consistent message that you are open for business and links to your products and services.

For help with running ads, check out these posts:

Tip 6 – Use UberEats & Deliveroo to widen your customer base

Many restaurants have avoided these platforms in the past, but these large networks are a quick and effective way to get your products and services out there straight away. Leverage offers to keep customers returning.

More than ever, convenience is crucial, and customers like to have all their options in one place. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for people to order from you and being available on these platforms is the first step.

These are just a few tips to boost visibility in your local community and to make sure that people know that you’re open for business.

Once again, if there is anything that we can do to help you in these tough times, please feel free to get in touch with us.