As a restaurant owner or manager, you want to drive new customers into your restaurant. You may also want to increase the loyalty and retention rate of your current customers.
One option that hits both of those marketing goals is the restaurant coupon.
By offering current customers a “come-back” type of coupon, you help strengthen their loyalty. By offering new customers an enticing coupon, you encourage them to come try your restaurant. (tweet this)
But you may be wondering, “Do coupons really help drive dining traffic?”
The short answer is, “Yes, they work if they generate a profit.” Let’s look at how you can use restaurant coupons to your benefit.
Coupons Encourage New Customers
For people in your community who haven’t heard of you, or for those who have but need an added incentive to visit, coupons work.
You can offer these coupons on your website, through your email marketing, through your SMS marketing, and on your social media platforms.
Coupons are especially helpful when you want to reach a broader audience. Your coupon may be the first time a potential diner has heard of you. It might just be the catalyst they need to visit.
Coupons Grab Internet Searchers
People all over the country search Google for one of the most popular search terms, “restaurants near me.”
Now, imagine that when you pop up on the first page, it mentions you are offering a coupon. Or, when they click your listing on the search engine results page, they go check out your website, and there’s your coupon.
These same people are probably checking out several other restaurants in town. Your coupon offer just might be what wins you the business over the competition.
Coupons Grab the Coupon-Savvy Customer
There are some people who simply won’t buy anything without a coupon.
By offering various coupons, you can grab the attention of the coupon shoppers.
One study says that value-minded customers want quality as well as a variety of options with their coupons. They aren’t just driven by affordability – they want quality and variety, too.
The same study shows that coupon users visit restaurants just like yours seven times per month on average. This is compared to four point eight times per month for non-coupon users.
It can be said that your coupon keeps your restaurant top of mind.
What’s more, the same study says nearly 80% of diners say they use coupons at restaurants.
Another statistic from this study shows when customers are deciding between several restaurants they like, more than 60% will choose the one with the coupon.
You can see that today’s diners crave the coupons you offer as much as your food.
Now let’s look at some ways you can offer coupons to drive dining traffic to your restaurant.
Email Your Coupons
It doesn’t cost much to send coupons out through your email marketing system. You simply pay for the cost of your email service provider (MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.).
Once you have your coupon strategy in place, you can schedule weekly emails to send out. Here are several options:
- Email coupons to your current customers.
- Send coupons out with your welcome email. For example, someone signs up for your email list on your website. You have an automated email trigger that sends your new subscriber a coupon.
Post Coupons on Social Media
This is a great way to reach potential diners all across your city.
First, you can offer them in your social media posts. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are great places to do this. Don’t forget your Google Business page posts, too.
Using a platform like Facebook also allows you to run ads. You can target people in specific areas or demographic groups in your area. By offering your coupon through an ad, you can track it.
Another idea is to post a link on your social media platform sending users to a landing page on your website. They must sign up for your email list before you send them a coupon.
Use Mobile Coupons
If you have SMS messaging as part of your marketing plan, you probably have both current and potential customers on your list.
Instead of using paper or online coupons, you can push out coupons in your text message marketing.
These coupons will go to anyone who has subscribed to your text message marketing list.
You can even use coupons to drive membership on your list. For example, create a post on your social media telling your followers how to sign up for text messaging with your restaurant. Let them know when they sign up, you’ll immediately text them a coupon.
Create the Right Offer
For your coupon strategy to work and drive dining traffic, you have to make sure your message is appropriate and enticing.
Make sure that your coupons are targeted for the right audience. They also need to have enough of a benefit to draw diners in. On the flip side, you also want to make sure you still have a profit margin.
With more than 90% of Americans using coupon codes, you can see the potential for growth when you use them.
In addition, your current customers are more likely to return to your restaurant more often if they have an incentive to do so. This is where the coupon comes in.
Plus, you can attract new diners and drive restaurant traffic with coupons. When they have multiple choices of restaurants to choose from, your coupon offer may be the tipping point.
In today’s economy, consumers are more concerned than ever with saving money.
Consider offering special limited time coupons, buy one get one free offer, and even comeback coupons for return visits. You can even ask them to refer a friend to earn the coupon.