Susan Bolam, Managing Director of jellybean, an Award-winning food and drink specialist marketing agency

Keeping in contact with existing customers and reaching new ones is vitally important. You don’t want to bombard them with marketing materials, but at the same time you need to keep them updated. In this digital age, traditional marketing methods may still have a place, but it depends on your target market.

Generation Z and Millennials favour more digital and social channels, while older consumers may be more influenced by print media and door drops, so you’ll want to choose the right tool for the job. Most consumers will research online where they’re going to eat or for takeaway and delivery, so make sure you’ve got great reviews and your web site is up to scratch.

Marketing tools
If you are planning to send regular e-shots to your opted-in database, platforms like Mailchimp and Dotdigital are a great starting point. If you want to manage all your social media easily on one dashboard, platforms such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social are worth checking out, as is Canva to help you create engaging social content. Also, make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your website so you can see where your traffic is coming from and monitor how it’s performing as far as converting traffic to all important bookings – then focus on what works!

Emails & Newsletters
E-newsletters are a standard way of keeping in touch with customers, but it’s important to get it right. The first step is put yourself in your customers’ shoes; what would you like to read? Give emails an exciting and enticing subject line so customers will open the email to read on and use pictures that will tempt them to book. Within your email, offer exclusives to your database to make them feel special, such as a free glass of bubbles/cup of coffee for subscribers when booking between X & X date.

Keep emails short and sweet with a clear call to action. Invite customers to let you know what they love and what you could do better or to post a review. A monthly newsletter is about right but do encourage them to follow you on social media for more regular updates.To make sure you stay on the right side of GDPR legislation, have a clear ‘opt in’ tick box for each of the following: email, post and text. Only keep customer data and contact
them if they opt in and only on the channels they have ticked, ensuring you also have a link to your privacy policy on your website.

Other effective ways of reaching your customers include:

Google Ads – sometimes referred to as PPC (pay per click) to target potential customers when they are searching online.

A well-maintained Google Business Profile – this will help consumers find you online.

Search sites – make sure you are listed with sites like Yelp.

Maps – make sure you are listed with Apple Maps and Google Maps so you are marked when people view the area.

Third party delivery apps – Uber Eats and Deliveroo can offer a platform to introduce your brand to new consumers as can platforms like Design my Night & Book a Table etc.

Awards – these can help raise your profile and drive your reputation.