Digital marketing has revolutionized the way restaurateurs attract
people to their eateries. This has led
many to believe that social media, video marketing and other online resources
are the only way to fill the bar tables. As it turns out, however, good old-fashioned offline marketing is still
important. In fact, the following
techniques may actually outshine some forms of digital advertising.
Direct Mail Advertising
One great method of getting people around the bar tables is to send out
direct mail advertisements or newspaper ads. By doing this, a restaurateur can sometimes target a specific area in
their locale to market to.
A list of daily specials plastered over a photo of friends in a
restaurant booth would work fine, but a few coupons could be even more
effective. The point is merely to get
seen, but with so many people engaging in "couponing" these days, a
few deals wouldn’t hurt.
Quid Pro Quo for Restaurants
One of the most underutilized but effective offline marketing
techniques is building a referral system with other businesses in the
area. If a restaurant owner in a tourist
town promises to refer patrons to a car rental agency, for instance, that
agency will likely have no problem suggesting the eatery to their clients.
This can be done with several local businesses from different
industries. In fact, it’s ideal to work
with those from various companies to increase exposure. Even if the two businesses can only agree to
display each others’ business cards up front, it’s a start.
Invest in Flyers
Flyers are a great offline marketing technique, and they can lead
someone currently sitting at a laundromat table to be sitting at an eatery’s
bar table in only a few hours. Aside
from hanging flyers on laundromat bulletin boards, it’s also smart to display
them at local community boards, libraries, churches, colleges and
businesses—with permission, of course.
Offer Frequent-Diner Discounts
Tradition dictates that nothing in life is free, but living by this
mantra removes a great marketing opportunity. Offering promotions to frequent diners is a great way to ensure current
patrons keep coming back.
It’s amazing how often cafe chairs get filled when guests know they’ll
get a free appetizer on their fifth visit. The specific discount will obviously vary based on what a restaurateur
can offer, but most patrons are content sitting at the bar tables for just
about any freebie.
Engage in Philanthropy
No matter where a restaurant is located, it’s likely there are
fundraisers or local charities nearby. Offering gift certificates, or even a free catered party, for a charity auction or other benefit will greatly increase an
establishment’s name recognition in town. Plus, people like giving business to charitable companies.
Offline marketing isn’t a dead art. It’s simply not as center stage as it once was. This doesn’t, however, remove its
effectiveness. A restaurateur who
invests in these marketing strategies will have an advantage over their