Is your marketing budget tiny – or non-existent?
It's a common problem with local businesses who put everything they make into inventory and payroll. If you don’t have much to spend on marketing, you might wonder how you can ever grow your business.
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to attract new customers without spending a dime.
I’ve compiled 5 of my favorite free marketing ideas for you to try:
There’s a lot to love about marketing your restaurant in February. Valentine’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday are always two important days for restaurants, but February is also Cherry Month, Heart Month and Hot Breakfast Month. And it doesn’t end there.
For beverage marketing, pour up something special on Cafe Au Lait Day, Kahlua Day, Margarita Day and Open That Bottle Night. Beyond beverages, Cafe Au Lait Day and Kahlua Day also offer yummy recipe opportunities such as Cafe Au Lait Cheesecake and Kahlua Pancakes.
In addition to Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, February serves up some exciting menu marketing opportunities with Almonds, Bagels & Lox, Baked Alaska, Banana Bread, Carrot Cake, Cherry Pie, Chili, Chocolate Covered Peanuts, Chocolate Fondue, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Souffle, Clam Chowder, Crab-Stuffed Flounder, Cream Cheese Brownies, Crepes, Fettuccine Alfredo, Frozen Yogurt, Gumdrops, Homemade Soup, Molasses Bars, Peppermint Patties, Pistachios, Pizza Pie, Plum Pudding, Sticky Buns, Strawberries, Tortellini and Tortilla Chips.
Fun marketing days include Groundhog Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Boy Scout Day, Make a Friend Day, Get Out Your Guitar Day, Do a Grouch a Favor Day, Random Acts of Kindness Day and Tell a Fairy Tale Day.
Here’s your restaurant marketing calendar for February:
Hot Breakfast Month
National Cherry Month
National Chocolate Lovers Month
National Grapefruit Month
National Potato Lovers Month
American Heart Month
Library Lovers Month
1 – National Baked Alaska Day
1 – Decorating With Candy Day
1 – National Dark Chocolate Day
1 – Ice Cream For Breakfast Day
2 – National Tater Tot Day
2 – National Crepe Day
2 – Groundhog Day
2 – Super Bowl Sunday
3 – National Carrot Cake Day
4 – National Homemade Soup Day
4 – National Stuffed Mushroom Day
4 – Thank A Mailman Day
5 – National Chocolate Fondue Day
5 – World Nutella Day
5 – National Weatherperson’s Day
6 – National Frozen Yogurt Day
7 – National Fettuccine Alfredo Day
7 – Send A Card To A Friend Day
7 – National Wear Red Day
7 – Opera Day
8 – National Potato Lover’s Day
8 – National Molasses Bar Day
8 – Kite Flying Day
9 – National Pizza Day
9 – National Bagels & Lox Day
10 – National Cream Cheese Brownie Day
10 – National Have a Brownie Day
10 – Umbrella Day
11 – National Peppermint Patty Day
11 – Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day
11 – Get Out Your Guitar Day
11 – Make a Friend Day
11 – Satisfied Staying Single Day
12 – National Plum Pudding Day
13 – National Tortellini Day
13 – National Italian Food Day
13 – Madly In Love With Me Day
14 – Valentine’s Day
14 – National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day
14 – International Book Giving Day
15 – National Gumdrop Day
15 – Singles Awareness Day
15 – Hippo Day
16 – National Almond Day
16 – Do A Grouch A Favor Day
16 – World Whale Day
17 – National Cafe Au Lait Day
17 – My Way Day
17 – World Human Spirit Day
17 – Random Acts of Kindness Day
17 – Presidents Day
18 – National Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day
18 – National Drink Wine Day
19 – National Chocolate Mint Day
20 – National Cherry Pie Day
20 – Love Your Pet Day
21 – National Sticky Bun Day
22 – National Cook A Sweet Potato Day
22 – National Margarita Day
22 – Be Humble Day
23 – National Banana Bread Day
23 – Play Tennis Day
24 – National Tortilla Chip Day
25 – National Clam Chowder Day
25 – National Chocolate Covered Peanuts Day
26 – National Pistachio Day
26 – Tell A Fairy Tale Day
27 – National Chili Day
27 – National Kahlua Day
27 – National Strawberry Day
27 – No Brainer Day
27 – Polar Bear Day
28 – National Chocolate Souffle Day
29 – Open That Bottle Night
29 – Leap Year Day
29 – Bachelor’s Day
BY ED SILHAN
So why do restaurants see so much value in drive-to-store advertising? The level at which brands can measure results with the method is a critical motivation to invest in it.
The quick-service restaurant industry has gone through upheaval over recent years as the ways customers engage with brands and how they make purchases have evolved dramatically. Brands have been forced to totally rethink customer experience. Providing in-store tablets and touch-screens to allow for self-serve ordering and implementing digital signage and opening online click-and-collect services are all now quickly becoming de rigueur. Heavyweights like Burger King and McDonalds are leveraging digital-first touchpoints to entice eaters, using branded apps that provide discounted prices, pre-pay, and even mobile check-out.
While the tactics and media plans may be evolving to fit changing consumer behavior and technological advances, the overarching objective remains the same—get customers to the physical stores. Drive-to-Store (DTS) advertising is any form of advertising with the direct intention of increasing foot traffic to physical locations. Sure, brands are indeed intent on leveraging app downloads and third-party online delivery services so that consumers can get their meals at home with just a few clicks, but the bulk of their marketing is still focused on getting people to visit.
As a dominant vertical market with $256 billion in sales in 2018 (according to Statista), there is a lot at stake for quick-service restaurant players to get it right. As reported by IHS Markit this year, nearly $6 billion in advertising by quick-serve marketers invested in 2018 was to attract diners through their doors.
Why drive-to-store advertising is so appetizing for quick-service restaurants
A recent study from IHS Markit found that in 2018, 67 percent of the total amount that U.S. quick-serves invested in advertising was allocated to DTS advertising. On a global scale, the U.S. is one of two countries, along with France, that registered above the industry average for restaurant investments in drive-to-store, with the investment level predicted to rise to 77 percent by 2023.
So why do restaurants see so much value in drive-to-store advertising? The level at which brands can measure results with the method is a critical motivation to invest in it. U.S. retailers value the impact on both visits and sales that DTS can drive for their brands and cite that as a key reason for investing. Furthermore, several marketers have focused on the importance of not only looking at total visits but specifically measuring incremental visits to understand a more precise impact of their advertising. These visits are those that can be directly attributed to their campaigns. If they are unable to isolate their incremental visits, they might be measuring and paying for footfall caused by organic or other channels of advertising.
The most effective way to drive incremental visits
In the U.S., marketers expressed a clear preference for digital channels over traditional ones such as print and OOH for their DTS campaigns. This is due to the capability that digital has to measure overall visits and incremental visits. Mobile performs strongly with 60 percent of marketers considering it the most effective channel for DTS. Mobile will maintain its lead of the U.S. DTS market, with social closely following, growing its share as the key method from 22 percent in 2018 to 28 percent by 2023, according to IHS Markit.
Leveraging mobile for drive-to-store campaigns is an increasingly key strategy for driving incremental in-store visit. An international sandwich franchise launched a mobile-to-store campaign in order to increase footfall uplift to their locations in France recently. The innovative campaign drove measurable results on behalf of the brand including uplift in visits and sales.
In addition, the increased reach and improvements in the quality of customer data and insights that DTS provides are important motivators. Marketers have started to move away from vanity metrics like frequency, impressions, and click-through rates to measurable KPIs that help to meet their business objectives such as increased revenue. So, while quick-service restaurant brands may be ramping up on the growing array of digital branding and performance tactics, their priority remains driving consumers into their restaurants.
As Chief Revenue Officer, North America at S4M, Ed Silhan is responsible for leading the strategic increase in revenue and sales for the entire region. With nearly 20 years of experience in the digital and advertising space, Ed is an executive leader with a history of driving growth in mobile advertising, data monetization and cross channel digital media. Prior to S4M, Ed held sales leadership positions at PayPal, eBay, Meredith, and Remedy Health Media. Most recently, he served as EVP, Head of Sales at SITO Mobile where he led their substantial increase in revenue as well as the development of their presence in the marketing technology industry.
Catch up on my current posts along with industry articles