Reopenings of dining and social places require restaurant business owners to come up with new strategies for reintroducing their brands. Utilizing every resource at your disposal, such as social media and restaurant gift card marketing, can be a smart place to start.
Before the pandemic, it’s already a challenge to keep up with the interest and curiosity of modern diners. Engagement from customers is something you, as an owner, should work hard for.
During the pandemic, the global industry of restaurants took a serious hit. All the safety protocols such as social distancing affected the habit of dining out. This is the main reason why sixty percent of businesses permanently closed their doors for guests.
But if you’re one of the lucky ones who managed to survive and aim to thrive this year, you should learn how to reconnect with your customers. Being able to assist them through an online medium is quite different from being able to assist them in person.
How confident are you that they will still be interested in your restaurant brand? What strategies do you have in place to help meet the needs of your customers in the new normal?
In case you have second thoughts about any of your answers to the above questions, this article may provide you with what you need. A wide variety of marketing campaigns might lead to you being overwhelmed and misusing some of them.
The purpose of this article is to discuss how gift cards can provide you with just the right level of customer engagement. As for these ideas, we made sure they would fit perfectly into the new normal setting for the industry.
Restaurant Marketing- Gift Cards
A brand’s presentation is crucial in this industry. From sales to operations, from brand awareness to customer loyalty, marketing has an impact on the overall health of your business. You have to be sure you are using the right strategies for your business because it plays such a crucial role.
Wishing to market your brand in a new and modern way, you might consider revisiting a classic. Also, find out how you can innovate traditional methods by incorporating modern ones. You can benefit from this approach since the classics have already proved to be valuable.
You might be wondering why you need to adapt your classic marketing method to the new normal setting. Keep in mind that there’s been a huge market turnaround during the pandemic, and while the reopening of indoor hospitality appears to you that everything’s going back to the usual, then you’re not on the right path.
As part of this industry, restaurant owners like you, are expected to be fearless with innovations. This is mainly because you’re serving a customer-centric industry. What the customers ask for, it should be given. If you’re not going to, expect that other brands will.
Holidays are just around the corner. Consumers are excited to socialize but still with great precaution. By providing them an easy way on how to achieve those two, then you can expect a desirable response from your customers.
How will you capitalize this gift-giving season, and at the same time practice precaution? Gift cards! In this day and age, it’s one of the most practical restaurant marketing ideas you can use.
But before digging deeper into such ideas, you also have to know what are other methods you can use to keep the engagement and interest of your brand at high levels. After all, fighting a battle with a single strategy is not as effective as having two or more.
Ways To Increase Your Customer Engagement – Covid 19
With all the lockdowns and discovery of variants, you mustn’t get too confident about your marketing. If there’s a lesson this pandemic has taught you, as a restaurant business owner, is that you should never be complacent.
The service industry is a market characterized by a highly demanding consumer base and volatile market forces. Several restrictions seem to be relaxing, but your marketing needs to be stronger here to gain the edge over your competitors.
Connect proactively with your customers
Before the pandemic, there are already several online platforms you can use to connect and communicate with your customers. It’s just a matter of how badly you want to engage with them.
Check out the different social media channels that your target audience may be using. There are also review sites that you can use as well. Communicating with them through your social media profiles helps them to humanize your brand and connecting is much easier on their end.
You should hire someone to monitor your official social media pages and reply to comments and inquiries. Make sure you also check your website for questions. As a result, customers appreciate timely responses, as they feel valued.
Show your compliance with the safety and health protocols
Keep your customers updated on what are the methods you’re using to provide them a safe dining experience. You may post signage outside your restaurant that assures that your staff and the entire management are properly complying with the protocols.
You can also utilize your newsletter to show them the extra safety and cleaning measures you’ve incorporated into your restaurant. Let them know the heightened hygiene and sanitation protocols for your team.
This is also a great opportunity to let them know about your updated working hours, should you need to close your doors for deep cleaning. Keeping your customers informed is a great way to promote brand awareness and cultivate loyalty.
Strengthen your online presence
After the lockdowns, every customer has become more trusting of online services. Now, everything is digital, including food orders and grocery deliveries. As the online food delivery market grows to $126.91 billion, it becomes clear that the digital age is approaching its peak.
This also means that the competition is now online. Make sure that your online brand has a strong and steady foundation. Do your homework and complete your GMB profile. Ensure that all information about your restaurant is updated and correct.
Social media and review platforms are also a great way to back up your presence online. Consistently interact with your customers on every platform and this will boost your online brand awareness.
Lastly, you should keep your website updated and organized. Make use of local SEO to improve its ranking on every major search engine site. You may also upload relevant content in the form of a blog or a video.
Online video marketing is an effective way to gather interest and engagement for your brand. Use Facebook Live or other online streaming services to showcase your services. And if you already know its ins and outs, you can offer paid tutorial services as well.
Maximize the potential of free digital marketing. Major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter offer different free marketing tools that are proven to be beneficial in a business.
They also have paid marketing services, which are not that costly compared to other types of mainstream marketing media. Run different restaurant marketing and promotion ideas with your team, and create a deal out of it.
Do you have something to celebrate? Or a new menu to introduce? Offering online deals to your customers creates a more inviting atmosphere with your brand. It encourages customers to interact and engage with your brand more, in exchange for something valuable to them.
Offer online customer service
Your customers may not have enough patience to call on a phone should they have a concern about your restaurant. It is a good idea to step up your customer service capabilities and make sure they can reach you anywhere – even if they are overseas. You may already offer email and phone support to your customers, but now is the time to improve those services.
Start by offering options for messenger communication through Facebook Messenger or other instant messaging apps like WhatsApp. Through Skype or FaceTime, you can also offer customers video conferencing, so they may experience the feeling of meeting in person without being physically present.
Marketing Your Restaurant Using Gift Cards- Covid 19
In today’s economy, gift cards remain a viable source of revenue. Your restaurant must make the most of its gift card revenue by implementing a strategic marketing campaign.
If customers are unaware of the option, they cannot purchase online gift cards. Put a promotional gift card banner on your homepage if you already have a gift card integration on your website so customers can see it right away.
Restaurants see online gift cards as an increasingly essential marketing tool because of social distance among their customers and fewer opportunities to interact face-to-face. By purchasing digital gift cards, customers have the opportunity to instantly support you without having to visit your restaurant.
You can also integrate gift cards with services such as Diggecard and GiftPro if you don’t already have one. These apps are intuitive, allowing you to immediately get paid after selling a restaurant gift card online.
Offer in bundles
Takeaway operations and delivery services have increased significantly for some restaurants. Gift cards are a great addition to certain orders. If you still have a few orders coming in, it might be worthwhile to bundle them.
You might offer a discount gift card for large takeaway orders or customers who meet certain spending thresholds for delivery.
Discounting gift cards might seem odd, but it has the practical advantage that it may encourage customers to make bigger purchases to take advantage of the offer.
Incorporate to every touchpoint
How else can you spread the word about your gift cards? Take advantage of every customer touchpoint and mention your new restaurant promotion idea. The more you advertise in-store, the better your gift card sales will be. Your customers can now purchase gift cards by creating a public display that draws attention to this fact.
Not every restaurant has the resources to whip up custom graphics at the drop of a hat. Using your words is a good option if you don’t have any design skills.
Let customers know that purchasing a gift card allows you to continue serving the community, whether they are ordering delivery or picking up a takeaway order. You can boost your gift card marketing to sell more by leveraging word-of-mouth or some clever graphics.
Utilize online marketing
Some of the most effective marketing for restaurants is conducted online. Social media and email marketing continuously prove their worth to every business, especially to small-scale restaurants.
If a comprehensive communication strategy is in place, all messages aimed at promoting gift card sales will be compelling and targeted.
The email has been used by many restaurants to inform their customers about how they are responding to COVID-19. Moreover, if you are considering this, you might wish to emphasize that you also offer gift cards to anyone interested in visiting your business in the future.
You should keep in mind that email is a valuable method for reaching out to customers, so be sensitive to the current circumstances. If you’re sending any emails during COVID-19, you need to carefully craft your messages and communications strategy.
For your social media marketing, if you’re going to use it to promote your gift cards, keep the present-day economy in mind. Even in a situation as unpredictable as this one, it is advisable to take the time to think carefully before posting, to make sure that your message is received properly.
Promote your gift cards on any social media platform to ensure customers are aware of their options. Make sure you include information about how gift cards can be bought – whether they’re online, by email, or by phone.
Due to the daily flood of news, your restaurant’s website may not be visited directly by customers. Using social media to promote your gift cards is therefore vital.
Present your deals in different forms. You may consider encouraging practicing self-gift options. Gift cards from restaurants have historically made excellent gift options for the holidays, as well as other celebrations.
The act of giving might not be the priority during COVID-19. It is also important to remind your customers that they can indulge themselves or their loved ones at a later date through self-gifting.
In an era when more consumers are supporting local businesses, this is especially vital. Consider offering your customers the option to purchase a gift card or other merchandise at a later date at a discount if they are looking for a way to support your business.
You might also want to spice up your deals. Historically, restaurants have offered rewards in exchange for gift cards that are worth a particular amount. With the purchase of a £100 gift card, customers might receive an additional £20 gift card.
The additional credit can encourage customers to buy larger gift cards to get the bonus credit. You could offer customers additional gift cards to those who purchase gift cards on a certain day or at a certain time.
It isn’t a new strategy, but it may be effective in increasing the value of gift cards currently purchased by customers. An individual who had only planned to spend £60 might spend an additional £15 to receive an additional £15 off down the road. Don’t forget to align any discount gift card offers with your COVID-19 campaign.
Benefits of Gift Cards in Restaurants
In times of crisis or recovery, a restaurant gift card can be very helpful. For several years, gift card sales have been on the rise for restaurants, and they have always been a valuable source of revenue. Nonetheless, the value of gift cards has risen thanks to COVID-19.
Increases your bottom line
You can expect to see an increase in spending when your customers return. More than seventy percent of gift card holders use the cards more than they are worth, meaning more money in the bank.
You profit even if a customer uses a gift card for less than its original value – since the remaining balance just motivates them to come back again.
Improves brand awareness
The top priority for your business during its slow recovery from COVID-19 is acquiring new clients. Your restaurant can bring in more customers through gift card marketing.
Giving gift cards to people who love and know your restaurant is a great way to encourage them to bring their family and friends to eat there. Thus, your regulars can grow into brand ambassadors who promote your services by inviting others to try out your restaurant.
Increasingly, consumers are looking forward to enjoying dinner with their friends and family as restrictions on restaurants have been loosened. Customers will remember your restaurant when the time comes with the help of gift cards. Therefore, you are ensuring that diners will be seated in your restaurant when the doors open again by selling gift cards now.
Showcases community support
The business model for independent restaurants is a loyalty program where regulars are rewarded with gift cards, so even if patrons are not ready to dine in yet, they can support their favorite local establishments.
A growing number of consumers are supporting small and local businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated restaurants and other small businesses.