Imagine yourself at a house party. The music is pumping, people are yelling—you can’t hear a thing.
Then suddenly, somehow above all the noise, you hear your name, clear as day. With laser precision, you zero in on the person talking behind you, certain that’s who said it. Almost like magic, the party noise gets quieter as you listen closely to hear what they’re saying about you.
Before hearing your name you would’ve said it was impossible to hear anything. Moments later, you’re hearing every word of an intimate conversation. This is called the cocktail party effect.
These days the world has become noisy with marketing messages. People are bombarded with so many ads that they’ve begun to tune them out. Like one big house party, it’s become so loud, no one can hear anything.
That’s why personalized restaurant marketing is essential. It makes people tune out all the background noise and focus on what you’re saying. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Putting this lesson into practice has gotten easier in recent years. Modern technology allows companies like Netflix and Amazon to seamlessly personalize their recommendations based on your past viewing behavior and purchasing decisions.
Personalized restaurant marketing may seem less straightforward. It might sound complicated and time-consuming, not to mention require expensive technology that’s hard to use.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be so. There are actually a number of easy ways for you to make your restaurant’s marketing more personal, less generic, and rise above the noise.
A famous writer once said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” When someone takes the time and care to remember your name, it makes you feel welcome and appreciated. Get good at remembering names and never miss an opportunity to use them. If you’re “not good with names,” get better. It’s an invaluable skill.
You should also talk to your staff about the importance of names and ensure they’re greeting regulars by name when possible. Starting your emails with a person’s name is also essential. Dear loyal customer just doesn’t work anymore. You can also try putting their name in the subject line or later in the email for effect.
You don’t talk to new acquaintances the same way you talk to old friends and you shouldn’t talk to new customers the same way you talk to regulars.
Servers should ask new faces whether it’s their first time at the restaurant and tailor what they say afterward accordingly. New customers may want to know what dishes are most popular, while repeat customers may be more interested in hearing about new additions to the menu.
The same is true of your email communications. New subscribers should receive a welcome email that references their recent visit to your restaurant. They shouldn’t just hop right into your ongoing emails with no introduction.
If you run a sports bar, chances are a lot of your customers like sports. If your restaurant is vegan, chances are many of your regulars are health-conscious and probably care about the environment and the welfare of animals. For other restaurants, common interests may be less obvious, but if you’re really unsure, you can always ask your customers directly.
Now, once you’ve identified a common interest, you can incorporate it into your marketing. Create a nightly special around Monday Night Football. Host a special event to raise money for a cause you know your customers hold dear or a craft beer tasting night to encourage first-time customers to try you out. Look for ways to use the interest as a topic for emails and other promotions.
Most of your repeat customers live close by, at least in the same city, if not the same neighborhood. An easy way to make your marketing seem more relevant is to reference this location.
If you’re choosing images for your website, make them local and include well-known and well-liked landmarks. The same goes for flyers, or for choosing a location to shoot a promo video.
If there’s nearby attractions, weave them into your specials and promotions. If people often eat at your restaurant before attending shows at a nearby theater, create a date-night dinner special. Or better yet, partner with the theatre to make it a package deal.
If something notable happens in the neighborhood, consider referencing that in your next email. People identify with where they live. Any way that you can make your marketing feel more local helps make it feel more personal.
There may seem nothing personal about the time of day, but it’s a fact that matters to everyone. We do different things in the morning than we do at night. We crave different foods.
By making use of the time of day in your marketing, you can make it more relevant and timely to individuals.
Some ways of doing this are obvious. Greet people with good morning, good afternoon and good night. When you post things on social media, make sure the time of day is appropriate to what you’re posting—pictures of coffee in the morning, steak at dinner, and so forth.
When sending emails, you can start it with good morning if you intend to send it out at 8 am, or you can reference the day of the week. Anything to make it more specific and set it apart from the constant background noise.
Referencing names, visit frequency, interests, location and time of day can all help with personalized restaurant marketing, but the real key is to actually be more personal. If your communications feel corporate and anonymous, they’re never going to resonate.
Improve your personalized restaurant marketing by being real and authentic. Use “I” in your emails. Share little tidbits about your restaurant. Give your messages some personality. Personalization is worthless if the messages don’t feel personal.
Want to learn how you can use WiFi marketing technology to personalize messages for your restaurant customers?