How Restaurants Can Attract Customers Today, Even During Coronavirus

Empty Restaurant

Tampa Bay restaurants are slowly reopening as state and city leadership begin to relax coronavirus restrictions. While eateries are only permitted to operate with 25 percent capacity at the moment, this is expected to increase next week.

But restaurants that have survived the shutdown aren’t quite out of the weeds yet. They need to get customers through their doors, and they need to do it ASAP.

Without a doubt, the fastest way for restaurants to score customers today is through Facebook advertising. And we do mean today. A long-term marketing plan has its place, as does a marketing strategy in the short term. Now is the time for the latter. Now is the time to jump-start your business and thrive as the world adjusts to several “new normals.”

So, how do you pull this off?

Step 1: Do not boost a Facebook post.

Step 2: Get to work on real Facebook advertising.

Crave Digital has talked about using a Facebook marketing plan to sustain a successful restaurant in our previous posts. To attract guests to your restaurant today, you need to run targeted ads to your warm and hot audiences.

What is a hot audience?

Your hot audience is made up of people who are already your customers. They know you and, hopefully, like you. In the past we’ve also discussed “courtship” in advertising. Your hot audience does not require courtship. You should be able to get them through your doors easily.

The beauty of this kind of campaign is that it’s the cheapest form of Facebook advertising.

How do I target my hot audience?

Facebook makes it simple. The easiest way is to upload your email list into the Ad Manager. (You’re working on an email list, right?) Target those customers with a few informative ads. Let them know you’re open. Let them know you’re taking additional safety precautions to put their minds at ease during the pandemic. We recommend simple, graphical ads. At most, use a great photo of your most popular dish for extra enticement.

If you don’t have a list of current and past customers, the next best thing would to target people that have visited your website. A large percentage of them have already visited, and the ones who haven’t, are very familiar with you. This can be done through targeting people on your Facebook Pixel.

What is a warm audience?

Your warm audience consists of people who follow you on social media but haven’t visited your restaurant. You could even expand the group to include folks who’ve interacted with you online; anyone who’s “liked” one of your posts, for example, but exclude guests who’ve already liked your page.

How do I target my warm audience?

You’ll use Facebook’s Ads Manager to reach your warm audience as well. This could be done by targeting people who’ve interacted with your brand online, but excluding people who’ve already liked your Facebook or Instagram pages. This will be a group of people who are somewhat familiar with you at least. A well placed ad could get them through your doors today.

However, you might want to put these potential customers on hold if your budget is tight, the customers most likely to come in today are definitely the hot list. If you have a good hot list of customers, you might want to add your hot budget by taking away from your warm audience’s budget.

As usual, you should be A/B testing a couple of different Facebook ads, since you’ll probably be running them over the next month or so. Even if this isn’t a long-term campaign, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment. Fine-tuning different ads and audiences helps you determine what is most effective. If you’re going to go through the effort to pay for advertising, you should definitely take the extra step to find what works best.

If you would like to chat more about how to get more customers thru your doors today, reach out today!

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