One of the most effective and targeted forms of digital marketing for restaurants is proximity marketing.
It empowers restaurants to advertise and market to people in specific locations and create digital messages that speak to and attract specific audiences. This allows for a highly targeted online digital marketing strategy. They can market to people on their smartphone who are in the area of the restaurant.
Here are some unique ideas for how to do digital marketing for restaurants using proximity marketing. (Scroll down for video!)
1. Proximity Marketing for a Restaurant’s Special Promotions
Restaurants almost always have special or limited-time menu items. Proximity marketing allows restaurants to promote these items for a limited time.
Maybe it’s a Friday-night fish fry or a Sunday brunch with $1 mimosas.
A BBQ restaurant/brewery in my town has a chicken-fried brisket with burnt-end cream gravy and mashed potatoes only on Tuesday nights. (Yes, for real.)
A winery could market a “Teacher Tuesday” with half-price bottles after 3:00 p.m. to local teachers. Proximity marketing even allows you to digitally market to a campus with elementary, middle and high schools within a geographic area.
Hold a contest with some well-known people in the community, such as a pancake-eating contest or a cake-decorating contest. This could include the mayor, high school coaches, police officers, firemen, etc.
The Big Idea: Target a specific day or time.
2. Restaurant Marketing to the Local Community
Is your restaurant near a college or high school campus? Offer a special deal for students who stop in before 5:00 p.m. for a 50 percent discount or a free drink. With restaurant proximity marketing, you can even create a landing page speaking specifically to students.
Is your town known for its high school sports teams? Create a proximity marketing strategy so your restaurant or café congratulates the team’s success.
It’s not always about promoting yourself. Building your brand as part of the community is also a strong, long-term strategy that can set your business apart and create something citizens can take pride in.
Do you want your restaurant to be known as a place that caters to police officers or firemen? Proximity marketing can allow you to target police stations, city hall, and other civic locations that might have a high concentration of first-responders.
Does your town have community events or seasonal celebrations? Promote your restaurant with proximity marketing by leveraging these events.
If the events attract a lot of people, hand out food samples, set up a booth, hand out coupons, etc. Create promotions that match the event, such as red, white and blue pancakes for the 4th of July celebration.
Encourage people who work from home to come in for a happy hour from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Even though it’s available to everyone, you can still market to specific target audiences.
The Big Idea: Involving the community builds long-term brand.
3. Use Proximity Marketing to Partner with Other Restaurants and Businesses
This is something that restaurants and businesses in downtown areas do well, especially if the location is in a concentrated downtown square.
A restaurant in a historic downtown square could partner with another downtown restaurant for a combo deal.
A coffee shop could partner with the dessert shop. The BBQ place could partner with the bar or brewery. A winery could carry chocolates from the dessert shop.
A Mexican-food restaurant could partner with an ice cream parlor for “Ice Cream Taco Tuesdays” (see the OMG Creamery image above). The pizza restaurant and wing place with TVs could deliver to each other’s locations during a sporting event.
Create a theme, and use proximity marketing to create a specific digital ad and a targeted landing page for that partnership and theme.
The Big Idea: Refer customers to each other and partner with complementary businesses.
4. Market to a New Neighborhood or Apartment Complex
If there is a new neighborhood development or apartment complex close to your restaurant, you can use online proximity marketing to market directly to those people.
These new residents can stop in for a free item or a special discount. One of the main goals of a restaurant is to win repeat customers. Get them in, make sure they have a terrific experience so that they want to come back and refer others to you.
If a new resident visits for the first time, make sure they leave with a coupon, free item, or something that reminds them of their experience.
The Big Idea: Think about how you want your first-time customers to FEEL.
5. Use Proximity Marketing to Promote Restaurant Rewards Program
Does your restaurant have a loyalty or rewards program, or maybe an exclusive member club?
Promote that program with a specific proximity marketing message that can offer exclusive deals, discounts or events for members.
You might offer a monthly event that gives free tastings or food samples to members. Do you have a new menu item? Offer it to your members to try for free before you make it available to other customers.
The Big Idea: Speak to a specific target audience and make them feel special.
6. Market a Restaurant or Food Truck at Different Locations
Maybe you have a food truck that regularly moves around to different locations. Or, maybe you send representatives to locations, events or festivals.
Restaurant proximity marketing allows you to target the specific location where your representatives or food truck will be. You can advertise to these locations before the events.
These can be great for samplings, wine tastings, special deals or mobile menus. It also helps broaden your customer base, especially for catering and event opportunities.
The Big Idea: Use proximity marketing to advertise to any location you choose.