There's no denying that the right Christmas marketing campaign can make a huge impact on any businesses' profits and popularity.
For many people in the UK, the run up to Christmas starts when the new John Lewis advert hits our screens. This year's ‘Monty the Penguin’ advert looks set to emulate the stunning effect that last year's ‘Hare and the Bear’ had on the chain's prosperity when it recorded takings of over £101 million solely in the week after the £7 million advert was first aired.
However, knowing when to start advertising your restaurant's Christmas menu is just as important as deciding how to do it – here are some tips from our experts at FOODit to help.
The word ‘Christmas’ has been the most popular search term on the John Lewis website since the start of September this year so if you haven't started advertising your Christmas menu yet it's time to get a move on!
For many restaurants catering for office and group Christmas parties makes up a huge amount of their trade over the festive period. More and more people start to plan and book venues for their event as soon as the summer is over so the sooner your menu is ready to be advertised the better chance you'll have of attracting their custom.
Christmas is traditionally a great excuse for people to try somewhere different so it's a perfect opportunity to make a good impression and gain new regular customers for the coming year.
Uploading your Christmas menu to your website is an obvious place to start for your online promotional campaign. With the FOODit RMS interface (Restaurant Management System) this can be done in minutes; additional content and pictures can also be published thanks to the custom page feature which we recently integrated.
However if you stop there you're limiting your restaurant to those who already know about you and have chosen to visit your site.
Social media has become so important over the last few years and should be thought of as an online word of mouth. Promoting your Christmas menu and any special festive activities on sites such as Facebook and Twitter is a powerful and cost-effective way to let people know what you can offer them.
Integrating social media sites to your own website will help to improve your online presence and stop your restaurant from getting lost in someone's Google search results.
Local and national online listing sites are easy to access and great reference points for diners over the Christmas period. Make sure that you don't miss out on this free piece of promotion by researching which sites best suit your restaurant or takeaway and upload or email your Christmas menu to them as soon as possible to make sure that you're included.
In this day, and age of technology it's easy to forget one very basic thing that people love – the personal touch. Sending out an email once a month or at key periods in the year is a great way to keep your customers up to date with your menu changes and also to build a rapport with them, which is essential if you want them to become regular diners.
Garnering customers email addresses needn't be difficult or time consuming, the simple addition of a small feedback form with their receipt encouraging them to include their details provides an easy and unobtrusive way to connect with them on an ongoing basis.
With more and more shoppers turning to online retailers and click and collect services, window shopping online before choosing for their Christmas gifts and provisions, it should be no surprise that potential diners do exactly the same.
Offering a prepaid set Christmas menu online is a great way to gain advance bookings for large groups and for smaller gatherings. Having different menus available online than actually in your restaurant may seem tempting however from a diner’s point of view it can potentially be off-putting – especially if they see someone else enjoying a dish that they weren't offered themselves.
Providing customers with an online discount or a complimentary glass of wine or after dinner chocolates instead is a really good way to not only promote your online campaign but also to make those customers with special requirements feel valued.