Why is your restaurant or small storefront business empty Monday through Thursday? Do people stop eating or living? No. People go out less, but that doesn’t mean they are not in need of your business and what it offers. So use the down time to shake up some more business and get them in when its quieter. Here’s how using the web.
Storefront small businesses and restaurants don’t always use the web well to interact with their customers, however their customer are using the web to find them (or their competitors) so what follows are some tips on using the web to engage customers and keep your cash register ringing all week long.
When using the web to communicate, remember it doesn’t take a lot of customers to have a thriving business. An active list of 500 to 1000 regular customers can make a small business thrive. So building contacts through social media like Twitter and Facebook, email lists and even basic email. Here are some tips and tricks that should help.
1. Capture customer info and talk to them – Offer your customers a reason to receive email from you. A weekly draw or coupons or specials. Send seasonal events or products or services. Then offer a weekly or monthly newsletter. Use mailchimp.com or constantcontact.com. For small lists these services are free.
2.Use a fish bowl – Have a weekly draw from business cards that your customers put in a fishbowl. Put those customers on your mailing list and send them reasons to open the email. 10% off coupon, 2 for 1 deals, seasonal specials and the like. It doesn’t have to take long to do. A twice weekly send on Wednesdays and Sundays to promote for the weekdays and weekend is ideal.
3. Use social media: Build a Facebook page for your business and sign up for a Twitter account. Then start posting information about your specialty. If you are a sushi restaurant (for example) then educate your followers using social media about Japanese food and culture. Use Hootsuite to schedule regular blasts of information to Twitter daily. Here’s an example post: “Did you know that okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake that contains cabbage and a mix of ingredients. The word means: as you like it.” Add a link back to your business if possible. This is a good role for a young person on your staff. If you become a source of information about what you are good at people who are interested will follow and become customers.
4. Don’t over sell on the web: People don’t want to be sold to. They want to be served. Treat your restaurant and storefront communications like you treat them at the cash or at the table. Mention and offer. Don’t sell and pitch. That should be reflected in all your web interactions.
5. Be responsive – You would never ignore the phone at your business or let it ring a long time. So be sure to respond quickly in any web communications. Check email one or twice a day. And when you post your email address let people know what turnaround response time they can expect from email.
Do you have a web marketing tip? Enter it in he comments below.