The latest government announcement to avoid restaurants and bars, has left restaurant owners uncertain of how their business will shift during this pandemic. Whilst no-one has the answers, I wanted to offer some Marketing guidance for my clients and other small businesses who can maximise their income potential during this difficult and unpredictable time.
Here are 5 things you can act on immediately...
1. Communicate Regularly
Search interest in the 'Coronavirus' online has increased by 260% globally and customers everywhere want to stay up to date, including with their local businesses.This is ultimately a time when you need to build trust and maintain customer relationships.
Post an update to your Social channels on how your business will be shifting to adapt with their needs. If your business will remain open, or you will be changing your opening hours, or if you will be take-away services only, let your customers know via social media.
If there has been large bookings or parties affected, will you be offering refunds or rescheduling policies? Include this in your statement via social media.
Do not forget to update your Google My Business page with your updated business hours and description and also update your website with a Covid-19 advisory.
2. Adjust your Strategy !!!
This goes without saying. Your strategy for maximising Mother's Day bookings is most likely to be affected, so amend your posts to sell gift vouchers for Mother's Day, so they can use them when the pandemic is over.
Although a lot of changes can be stressful, as marketeers and business owners, we can only look forward and calm the nerves of our customers by having clear, concise messages.
If your ad spend has been predominantly on generating footfall to your restaurant, it would be a good idea to re-think this option and divert budgets to ads selling take-aways instead.
If your business is staying open, be obsessive about your hygiene and use social media stories to show implementations of this. For example, show behind the scenes on hand sanitisers and staff disinfecting surfaces. Reassure your customers and your employees and be proactive as possible about cleaning.
3. Maximise Take-aways during Self-Isolation and Quarantine
If your Restaurant has not yet done so, produce and design a take-away menu. Upload a downloadable PDF to your website and pin to the top of your Social channels.
Email & text your database with your latest take-away menu and discount.
Create & print flyers and distribute to your local customers with a discount.
Partner with popular companies like UberEats, Deliveroo, Just Eat and Starship Robots where possible.
Generate Paid ads on Social Media to stand out and avoid using any terminology of Corona Virus as Facebook are banning these ads.
Send Take-aways to some local/ micro- influencers who can help you generate content on Social stories and help you spread the word.
4. Move Sales online where possible
Get creative and consider ways to make money online. What about sharing your special recipe or creating an e-book?
Signing up to meal-prep options? or monthly cocktail subscriptions?
As I mentioned before, Gift Vouchers are also a great option.
5. Be Social - even with social distancing!
If you do choose to explore local influencers, why not host a Facebook watch party once they have received your take-away for online reviews.
You could also encourage your regular customers to sign up to a weekly subscription of cocktails to keep them entertained during self isolation and promote a trending hashtag.
Go Live with chef's cooking and add value and tips to your audience.
Promote discounts and encourage take-away bookings.
Share regular e-mail newsletters and be more active online than usual.
I hope this helps, but as always if you need more support or assistance, feel free to reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org