Set Up Restaurant Marketing Automation in 4 Easy Steps

By Raubi Perilli

      Jun 16, 2020     Solutions    

There’s an easier way to do marketing for restaurants. It’s through an automated process that consistently and constantly attracts, nurtures, and converts customers. It’s through restaurant marketing automation. 

What Is Restaurant Marketing Automation? 

Restaurant marketing automation is the process of setting up technology and software to automate marketing tasks across multiple channels. It maximizes efforts and uses data to make more informed marketing decisions that lead to better results.   

With marketing automation, restaurants don’t have to constantly set up new campaigns. They can automate sales funnels that support customer lifecycle marketing and consistently work for the company 24/7 -- and it’s not as difficult as it sounds. 

Set Up Restaurant Marketing Automation in 4 Steps

Let’s look at how you can set up a restaurant marketing automation process in just four steps.

#1) Set up a system for managing customer data.

The key to marketing automation is data.  

You need to have a system that collects and analyzes data about your customers. The consumer data should include customer's contact information (either a phone number or an email address) and location so you can reach them.   

It should also include details about customer habits and past purchases such as:

  • Date of last visit 
  • Frequency of visits
  • Location of visits 
  • Items purchased
  • Cost of average ticket
  • Online order history
  • Coupon redemption 
  • Items abandoned in the online cart

To collect this data, set up a customer relationship management (CRM) or marketing automation software that can store customer data and track customer behavior. 

#2) Collect customer data to build your database.

A system for customer data is only as good as the data inside of it, so you need to have a process for getting customers to sign up.   

Build out your database by setting up systems that encourage customers to sign up. Give customers something in exchange for signing up or sharing their customer contact information. You can:  

  • Create customer loyalty programs 
  • Hold contests 
  • Host on-site events
  • Give away coupons
  • Promote online ordering

To find the best method for attracting customer sign-ups, think of something that customers would find valuable and then require that they provide their email address or phone number to receive it. 

Another way to collect data is to encourage customers to order online. When you drive more online restaurant orders, you drive customers to create an online profile with valuable data tied to their accounts. 

Related: Why It's Important to Own Your Business Data and How to Start Collecting It

#3) Run strategic paid digital ads to attract new audiences. 

Don't rely on customers finding your restaurant all on their own. Invest in paid advertising to increase brand awareness and drive new audiences to your business.   

There are many types of paid digital advertising. As you build your restaurant marketing automation strategy, focus on the types of strategic ads that will be most likely to fill your sales funnel.   

Launch a promotion for your restaurant and use ads to drive attention to it.  

  • Set up Google search ads that put your brand in front of customers when they search for a restaurant like yours. 
  • Use geotargeting to show ads only to people who live near your restaurant and are most likely to visit. 
  • Use geofencing for restaurants to show ads to people when they enter a physical area located near your business to drive in foot-traffic.
  • Launch Facebook ads using highly targeted persona details that target the people most likely to be interested in your restaurant. 
  • Show retargeting ads to warm audiences who have already engaged with your brand by visiting your website or clicking on other ads. 

While the goal of marketing automation is to set it and forget it, you can’t completely check out after setting up paid ad campaigns. Continue to check in on the results of your campaigns and make adjustments to ensure that you are getting the most out of every dollar of ad spend.   

Turn off campaigns that aren’t producing results. Invest more in ad campaigns that are working. Identify the audiences who respond well to ads, and create lookalike audiences to reach more like-minded people. Test different promotions to see which works best.

Look at the analytics data and make adjustments that make your ads even more powerful at attracting new audiences and growing your list.   

Related: 9 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Restaurant's Website

#4) Send personalized deals and promotions to existing customers.

Once you have systems for attracting new customers and getting them in your database where you can learn about and communicate with them, you are ready for the next phase of marketing automation. You are ready to market to the consumers in your database.  

When you have contact information and behavior data, you can launch extremely effective marketing campaigns by giving customers exactly what they want.   

You can send remarketing campaigns such as:  

  • Personalized emails that call out customers by name.
  • Emails and text messages with targeted deals based on past customer history. Offer coupons or discounts on items they’ve recently purchased or items that are related to past purchases.
  • Messages with coupons or promotions to customers when they haven’t visited in a few weeks. 
  • Geofencing ads to customers when they are near your business or your competitors.
  • Messages to customers who didn't complete a purchase for an online order. 
  • Follow-up messages to customers based on the emails and text messages they open and interact with. 

Just as you can’t completely set it and forget it with paid ads, you can’t completely set up these promotions and ignore them. Continue to check-in and monitor the success of them. Use your analytics and data to identify trends that can help you make tweaks to make your campaigns more powerful.   

Related: Need Help Making Sense of Your Business Data and Analytics? 

Launch Marketing Automation for Your Restaurant

Why work harder when you can work smarter? Setting up a restaurant marketing automation process allows you to get the most out of all of your promotional efforts. You can effectively attract new customers and put them in a lifecycle marketing program that keeps them coming back for more. 

If you need help with setting up restaurant marketing automation, MyArea Network is here to help.

We specialize in setting up data programs that kick-start marketing automation and using data analytics to create the most effective marketing initiatives for your unique business and customers. See how we can help. Schedule your free consultation today.