When speaking of digital marketing, people usually think of marketing on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. However, there is another powerful platform that has sometimes been forgotten in the modern day: the good old organic word of mouth.
Word of mouth (WOM) is the most valuable form of marketing that customers trust above all others. Especially in the restaurant industry, it is the true differentiator that provides a competitive advantage. Think about this: would you rather eat in a restaurant that your family or friends recommend or a five-star restaurant that none of your acquaintances frequents? You might say you pick both.
However, according to a Nielsen study, 92% of customers value recommendations from friends and family members over all forms of advertising. Marketers have been too caught up on collecting social media fans, yet neglect connecting with them. If you discover the power of WOM, you can turn your customers into your brand advocates! Their authentic recommendations will excite potential customers to try out your food.
Here are a few tips to help you resonate with your guests better:
- Engage with your customers: Talk to your customers and listen to understand what they need to be kept engaged. Do your best to remember the names and preferences of regular customers.
- Keep your customers posted: An essential part of any marketing strategy is consistency. In other words, you need to be regular in your updates. SMS, email newsletter, or social media posts are great tactics to let your customers know if you are opening another location, or launching a new menu item.
- Value customer feedback: Feedback has an impeccable impact on your reputation and thus, your daily sales revenue. It is important that your customers feel that their feedback is appreciated and their opinions matter. Pay special attention to good reviews and handle negative reviews smartly. In the restaurant universe, excellent service and mediocre food beats poor service and scrumptious dishes. Your food can be improved, but your bad attitude will do some irreparable damages.
- Customer loyalty programs: Customers love to be rewarded. Give them a purpose and a goal to come back to your restaurants more frequently.
- Referral programs: They work similarly to loyalty programs in that customers are equipped with a tool to talk about your restaurant. Create exciting referral campaigns and reward your beloved customers with points when they share your content and refer their friends to try your food. It is a great win-win situation for both you and your customers. Make sure you offer them with compensation once they reach a target. A free meal or deep discount would be enticing!
Ultimately, you want your product and service to speak for itself. Put in extra efforts to provide your customer with an amazing dining experience and the word will get out.