Get Your Mind off the Money: Focus On Marketing This Quarter

Summer is the ideal time for you to get your content marketing for your restaurant firing on all cylinders. What you do to attract, engage and retain new customers in June, July and August will carry you forward through the third and fourth quarters of the year. Your plans for promoting your business online and through traditional marketing channels during the summer will help you finish out the year strong. Here are some ways you can make marketing a priority this summer without going over budget.

Run a Social Media Contest

Holding a social media contest is a great way to promote your business without breaking your budget. Use a custom hashtag, and make it a part of your CTA for entry into the contest. A few lucky customers will get a small prize from your restaurant, and you will get widespread online and word-of-mouth advertising for nothing more than the cost of your prizes. It is a fantastic way to establish a strong sense of community and build rapport with your customers.

Host or Co-Sponsor a Community event

Your local community and non-competing or shared-interest businesses can help provide a strong foundation to your weekly and monthly revenue by helping you host a community event. It is an excellent way to increase your exposure and will help you establish and strengthen relationships that will support your business far into the future. Not only will you be able to spread the cost among all participating partners, but you will also be able to grow your business and expand the reach of your market. More importantly, you can position yourself in the community as a leader and not just another restaurant offering to feed people in exchange for a quick buck. Community involvement shows everyone that you have an interest in the community and want to stay there for the long term.

Social Media Advertising Channels

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing via social media is an excellent low-cost, high return on investment (ROI) option. You can easily set a budget for controlling your marketing expenses since once the predetermined limit is reached, your advertising stops. The fixed cost is determined by you, so you just have to decide which social networks you want to leverage for advertising.

All the major social media platforms offer PPC ads, so your options are only limited by your budget. Social media advertising lets you be fiscally responsible as you use the internet to attract local customers. Plus, it allows you to advertise without being pushy or having to pay for ads that do not produce results. So, your marketing budget is freed up for other endeavors that will cement your position as an integral member of the community.

Customer Referrals

Offering referral incentives to your current customers is a great way to bring in new business while keeping your current customer base happy. You can determine how much you want to spend on referrals. If customers do not respond accordingly, you can easily move on to another tactic to attract new business. There are many ways you can make a referral program work for your restaurant. However you choose to do it, make sure you encourage people in your community to bring in friends and family to enjoy your restaurant together.

Promotional Swag/Freebies

Giving away inexpensive promotional items like hats, refrigerator magnets, tee-shirts and other trinkets is a great way to keep your brand in the forefront of your customers’ minds at home, in their car and on their desk at work. Dedicate a small portion of your budget to producing these items. Then put them in takeout and delivery bags and give them to customers in the restaurant. You can even visit local businesses and pass these promotional items out along with your menu.

The giveaway items should include your website and mention special discounts for large orders when placed online. This small marketing investment may not pay off immediately, but in time it can be a huge boon to your business. It is also a fantastic way to make a first impression on your neighbors and potential business partners in the future.


Having fresh and original content on your website gets you noticed by search engines. Video content is the future of internet marketing and content. So, create a well-written blog that showcases everything you bring to your community and develop a series of videos that show off your kitchen staff, give people a visual taste of the food you serve at the restaurant and position yourself as the local expert on your cuisine.

Final Thoughts

These techniques will allow you to stop worrying about your marketing budget and focus on establishing yourself and your restaurant as a cornerstone of the community. Once you gain a positive reputation within the community, your marketing and reputation management will practically handle themselves.