We’ve shared with you our secrets of ‘Loyalty Programs and Events’ to fill your seats, but how is that different from Holiday or Special Events, by creating successful marketing systems?
This past Cinco de Mayo, we successfully filled seats in three different restaurants. How? By having a marketing system in place, such as:
- Knowing who your customers are and speaking their language.
- Reaching out to your social media followers by creating a ‘countdown of anticipation’
- Sending notices to your email list who have already expressed their desire to know what’s happening at your restaurant
- Add printed material with a visual message to create desire.
Of course, the success of this assumes you already have a decent-sized social media following and an email list. If you don’t yet have these, do not despair – just start to cultivate them immediately.
Consistency is key in promoting holiday or special events. Remember, only a small percentage of your followers will see even one of your posts. Don’t worry about posting a few times a day, every day. Almost no one will see all of your posts, unless they visit your page. What shows up in their feed on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is only a sampling. (An example of this is a client who has 9,000 followers on Facebook. Each post reaches between 400 and 1,500 people on average)
That doesn’t mean that you should post the same thing over and over. Your ‘Countdown of anticipation’ should be done every day. ’10 days until the party of the year!’, then 9, 8, etc. Build excitement.
Use short videos to promote your event. They can be from similar events or last year’s holiday. Talk about how much fun it was and remind your readers it’s coming up again. (This message will engage the marketing tool of ‘social proof’ – more in our e-book)
Use lots of images with words that create desire. Creating desire is your job. It’s the difference between the typical social media rant of ‘hey look at this! Whoa!’ and ‘your watermelon margarita is ready. Go ahead – lean in and take a sip. Feel the cold glass. Taste the fresh, ripe melon bursting with flavor’. Speak their language – take into account their demographics and psychographics.
Your email to followers may be a bit longer and more detailed, but don’t forget to use lots of images and bullet points instead of long, run on paragraphs. For special events, create a sign-up page where your followers may sign up and pre-pay – and get a discount for being one of your loyal followers. (This engages the marketing tool of ‘reciprocity’ – see our Butts in Seats e-book for more)
In general, what we have experienced is that you’ll get an average of 10% response from your email list (e.g. sign ups) and 1% from those reached with posts on Social Media. See the following example:
Event: Special holiday winemaker’s dinner
Goal: 50 guests
Your email list: 400
Social media following: 2,000
Post reach with one post: 200
Based on this model, you’ll likely get 40 sign ups from your email list (provided you have carefully cultivated your audience). You’ll get 2 sign ups from social media. To reach 50 guests, you’ll need to do the following:
- ‘Boost’ your Facebook/Instagram post(s) to reach more people
- Post more often
- Send a ‘reminder’ email to your list 10 days prior to the event
Your goal is to reach at least 8,000 more people with your posts.
Don’t forget the printed material! If your restaurant is in a high foot traffic area, use a well-designed A-frame poster with quality images outside your door. Printed ¼ page cards for events that include lots of fun things such as live music, dance, drink specials, etc. can be effective. Ask your host/hostess to hand these out to every guest as they’re seated.
Want more great ways you can improve on filling up those seats in your restaurants? Sign up here and receive our free gift – ‘The Restaurant Butts in Seats Marketing Program’ E-book.
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