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It's interesting to look around LinkedIn at group members trying to learn how to market their restaurants successfully from the free advice of professionals in the Marketing industry.  I liken it to getting your cancer diagnosis and treatment plan from WedMd , not the best strategy if you want to survive .   If you want your restaurant business to thrive and survive a tepid ( at best) economy , then leave the marketing to the experts and focus on the most crucial aspect of your restaurant business;  the food and service. 

Everyone has their area of expertise and while I can personally cook a mean meatloaf I certainly wouldn't try to sell it and make a living off of it.  What we here at Bloom Loyalty DO know is people , consumers , and that fickle diva, mobile marketing.  So if you want a few morsels of  free advice , we'll give it to you but the best advice of all is to hire a professional, even if it's not us.

Morsel 1 : get your act together 

You NEED ( not simply nice to have but NEED) a Website that is mobile friendly.  That website MUST  have a click to call , RSVP system ( if you have that kind of restaurant) and a menu that is functional on Mobile and desktop.  You need to link to your Foursquare,Yelp, Urban Spoon and any local review sites and you MUST Link to your Social Media.  Also you MUST HAVE social media to link to .  YouTube ( or Vimeo) Twitter and Facebook ( maybe Google+) not optional.

Morsel 2 : you must understand what Marketing and Advertising are

These are NOT interchangeable terms .  Advertising is a one trick pony ...paying money to get eyes on your business ( not butts in your seat) .  Be that PPC, Print, radio, or TV doesn't matter.  Marketing is the subtle relationship building aspect that might involve community events, relationship building, loyalty programs ...the finesse .  If you are only focusing on advertising you are missing 90% of the puzzle.

Morsel 3 : Make it all work together
Every aspect of your experience as a customer should mesh ...from the website ,to the decor, to the food , it all needs to paint a beautiful and coherent picture.  The beating heart of your marketing effort is your restaurant and all your marketing and advertising should reflect that.  A restaurant with 3 Michelin stars is going to market to a different group of people than say the 5 star rated Ice Cream shop on Yelp , but the strategy is, at its core, the same.  All Marketing programs should adapt to the needs and "feel" of the restaurant.  Anyone that offers a cookie cutter plan wont work for you .  A good marketer will embrace your concept across all media.  

Morsel 4 : don't get behind the 8 ball
Mobile is where its at. In 2 years those businesses that didn't go mobile will be kicking themselves for it.  Restaurants will be especially hard hit because they are hyper local businesses .  Google is already starting to penalize business websites that aren't mobile friendly , and by penalize we meal dropping them all together from mobile search results.  If you don't care about local customers , then ignore this tip.  If you don't care about the 30% of smartphone users who in the past 30 days have looked and patronized a restaurant they researched on their phone , ignore this too.  If you DO want to reach mobile customers , then make sure your website is mobile .  Regularly read industry publications also,  so you can be abreast of all the major technological advances to keep you current with the competition; not just with mobile but across the board.


 


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