When it comes to creating a buzz and spreading the word about your business during the holidays, there aren’t many ways you can go wrong. There are however, ways to specifically help bring new people in, create a larger overall check size, and help create a loyal customer base coming back year after year.
Some may firmly believe there is a such thing as starting too early when it comes to marketing your business for holiday parties, decorating, and launching holiday food and drink items — and therefore wait until now to begin. While, it’s not too late once December hits, it’s best to start brainstorming well before then, especially if you’re planning anything that will effect the inner workings/operations of your business.
If you haven’t gotten too involved with detailed holiday marketing strategies, or simply don’t think there is enough time left to have any effect on business this holiday season, here are some easy tips to get started today, with little planning and lots of success!
Social Media Is Your Best Friend
Let’s start with the fact that it’s free. If you don’t have a social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google) surrounding your business, you need to get started doing so… ASAP! It costs you nothing to set them up, and can be an invaluable tool for marketing, and getting found online.
You can utilize social media outlets to not only create an online personality surrounding your business, but to share enticing photos of your food, creative cocktails, and holiday decor. You can use it to promote and create calendar invites for events to share with your online following as well.
Creating a community online where guests can share their experiences, reviews, post photos and have fun conversations with others following you on social media, is another way to create a strong virtual network surrounding your business — without customers having to physically be there. This is a huge part of marketing. You not only stay on top of mind during a time of year, where dining out is commonplace, but it will help people ultimately make their decisions on where to go if something they see posted entices them to bring business your way!
Whether they are in the form of cards, gift certificates, or electronically purchased, gift cards are a perfect way to increase revenue and provide a solution for last minute gifters!
Another huge perk is their ability to not only encourage return business, but to bring new people through your door who maybe wouldn’t have thought to try you out, had they not received the gift card.
Running promotions surrounding the purchase of a gift card is another option. Perhaps discount the price of a $100 gift card, and sell it for $90, or provide a discount if the buyer purchases more than one. You can also offer a discount on future visits to the person buying the gift card as an incentive to bring them back in your door. So now, you not only have someone else/new coming in to bring you business, but you have your loyal, gift-giving customer enjoying perks of their purchase as well.
Keep Friends In Mind
Customer loyalty is everything. In fact, you’re likely to gain more business simply by marketing to your existing customers and encouraging them to return more often, than convincing someone who has never tried you, to walk through your door.
With that being said, pull out last year’s reservation book. See who booked holiday or new year’s parties with you the year before, check out who has visited you on Christmas eve bringing along their families or colleagues. Once you have this list, give them a call and check in. Let them know you noticed they enjoyed their holiday with you the year prior, and that you would like to extend an invite for them to return before you fill up your tables.
No hard feelings if they plan to switch it up – but letting them know you are thinking about them and appreciate their loyalty can go a long way. At very least you’re wishing them a happy holiday! They may not be up for a party or dining out this year, but they will certainly appreciate that you offered them a solution and potentially reduced a lot of stress on their end this time of year should they be late with making plans themselves!
Set The Mood
Decor and ambiance can do more than just keep your space relevant during a holiday — It can actually increase sales and check size.
If you set a comfortable and inviting ambiance, its more likely that your guests will want to stay for dessert after a meal, or enjoy another cocktail at their table or the bar – increasing the size of their check.
If you’re a quick serve restaurant, or one that lends itself to catering, simply decorating your space for customers to immerse themselves in, while coming in to place their order or pick up their food, will put a smile on their face. Simply surrounding your guests with decor celebrating the enjoyment of the holiday spirit, can leave a lasting impression causing them to refer you to others, and certainly keep you in mind for future holidays and events.
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