Running a successful restaurant is no easy feat. From attracting new patrons and building loyalty to running various promotions, keeping the engine running requires a heavy investment of time and energy. The great news is that we have entered an era where technology is on our side.
Marketing Automation is no new concept but with the introduction of advanced software, it can now do better and brighter things. It’s been a saving grace for the food and beverage industry, that’s for sure!
If this is the first time you are familiarising yourself with the concept, then let’s backtrack a little and start by looking at what Marketing Automation is.
Defining “Marketing Automation”
The idea of “automated marketing” is not something that can easily be boiled down into a few sentences. However, we explain it as follows:
“Marketing automation is a process that relies on software and web-based services to implement, manage, and automate marketing tasks. Examples of these marketing tasks include the collection and storage of customer data, sending emails, and posting promotions on social media platforms.
Automated marketing eliminates the need for manual and repetitive marketing practices. Additionally, it also collects valuable data that can help you to continuously make informed marketing decisions.”
How Important Is Marketing Automation for Restaurants?
Now that you have a good idea of what marketing automation entails, let’s discuss why this very modern way of marketing is so important for your restaurant, bar, coffee shop, café, or deli.
Just like digital marketing, automated marketing is far from being a passing trend. It’s here to stay. Therefore it must hold some worth, especially if every second business is hopping onto the bandwagon to get their piece of this “money-making pie”.
Besides being a component that keeps you in-line with your competition, this type of marketing also has many additional benefits. Here are FIVE reasons why automated marketing is an extremely valuable addition to your business:
1. It Saves Money and Time
The future of marketing is all about saving time and money. Automated marketing ticks both of these boxes.
Firstly, the software gives you different means to collect your customer data (for example, they can sign up for loyalty programs or swap details in exchange for free Wi-Fi access). Once you have this information, then promotional emails, social media posts, and other notifications can be generated and scheduled to be sent automatically.
This way, you can focus your time on running other aspects of your restaurant. Marketing automation saves you time by taking care of the tedious marketing admin and it saves you money by allowing you to focus on the other money-making elements of your restaurant.
2. It Can Increase Your Return on Investment (ROI)
If used correctly, automated marketing is a holistic marketing solution that will give you a return on your investment, unlike many other marketing strategies that run on the basis of trial and error.
In point one, we discussed that marketing automation gives you free time to focus on other income-generating avenues of your restaurant. This is the first opportunity where you can now increase profits.
Additionally, this form of marketing allows you to effortlessly communicate with your customer-base. Promotional messages and loyalty systems can remind them of your services and encourage patrons to return to your establishment for another amazing experience…this time with more friends in tow.
3. It Helps You to Establish Good Relationships with Your Patrons
As it stands, we’re dealing with generations who appreciate personal customer-services. Marketing automation helps you to establish what it is each customer expects from you (and why) by collecting invaluable data. This data can include information on dining habits, meal preferences, current trends, and so on.
By having insight into the patterns and expectations of your customers, you can refine your relationship with them and give them what they want before they realise that they even want it!
4. It Increases Customer Loyalty
Loyalty is established when you have a good relationship with a customer and they are reminded of how much they enjoy dining at your restaurant.
Automated marketing allows you to nurture a continuous dialogue with your customers. This gives them a reason to stick around – especially if you share content that’s meant for them. This special content includes things like:
- Interesting newsletters
- Special discounts
- Event invites
- Offers for rewards and referral programs
5. It Generates In-Depth Reports
Marketing automation software is designed to keep track of all the data generated along the way. It provides feedback into customer patterns, their likes, and their dislikes.
In the food and beverage industry, this information can be used to refine and perfect nearly every component of the business. From creating an environment that you know will please your patrons to preparing dishes that satisfy their lifestyles, it’s easy to serve someone (no pun intended) when you are 100% sure of what it is that makes them happy.
Tying the Pieces Together…
Marketing automation is an important piece to your marketing puzzle. If you use it to constantly reshape and analyse your strategies to discover what’s working and what isn’t – then you will soon discover that it is an invaluable investment. It’s a concept that’s loaded with ideas for restaurant marketing and will help to leave your business at the forefront of innovation.