Your restaurant (or café, we’re open-minded) depends on a steady stream of customers popping in to sample your menu. Unfortunately for any of us in the business, it’s not quite as simple as setting up a venue and waiting for people to wander in, though we wish it were.
Your website is one of the most vital tools you have available to start capturing more leads and draw in business to your café/restaurant. But, just like your actual restaurant, you can’t just bring your site online and hope that people discover you.
Today we’re going to be talking about one service that, when used correctly, can help you do just that: UpViral. Here’s how to get the most out of it and what you can do to supercharge your leads.
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First, what is UpViral anyway? Basically, UpViral allows customers to create marketing campaigns to help customers get excited about what you offer. Successful restaurants and cafes already understand the power of a killer coupon promotion. So what you can do is use UpViral to help set one up.
According to Wilco de Kreij, creator of UpViral:
Countless other brands, including “sharing economy” giants Airbnb and Uber, are cashing in with large-scale referral campaigns too…
So while it’s clear that a well-executed viral marketing strategy can take any business, product or service into the stratosphere, here is the problem…
Despite the apparent “simplicity” of viral marketing, it’s still quite difficult for the average small business owner to successfully pull off.
UpViral changes all that…
UpViral is a complete, dynamic web-based solution that handles every aspect of viral marketing.
Through UpViral, you can create two-page giveaway sites and implement marketing campaigns into your own existing sites and apps- making giveaways and promotions easier to manage and oversee.
Your promotion might be a product giveaway or a special contest. The key is figuring out what to give away.
Run Viral Giveaway Campaigns
Run Viral Contests & Sweepstakes
Run Viral Product Launches
hat tip: Just love the animated illustrations UpViral creates.
Determining Your Giveaway
The key is determining what to give away and when.
The nice thing about giveaways is that they can drive business no matter the season. They’re especially effective when you’re releasing a new product. Have a new coffee? A new pasta dish? Giveaway a free product to the 100th customer who books a reservation. Let your imagination run wild.
What you need to consider is how feasible and appropriate the giveaway is. There’s nothing wrong with, say, offering a free vacation to a random customer. But there are limitations. Can you afford to give the product away without cutting into your bottom line?
And does it make sense? For instance, giving away gift cards to Victoria’s Secret may not make sense (though it may attract a certain type of customer) if you’re a family joint with a more family reputation. Consider who your target audience is and who tends to appreciate your company. What would they love to receive?
Your own products tend to make the most sense as giveaways, since giving them away serves two functions- customers love free stuff and it helps people get a taste for what you’re all about, though that doesn’t mean especially creative, outlandish giveaways don’t have a place. Just make sure that you are capable of providing whatever you plan on giving away.
Who Is Behind UpViral
The person behind UpViral is Wilco de Kreij. Based in the Netherlands, Wilco describes himself as a serial Entrepreneur, SaaS-fanatic, Marketer-Nerd, Automation-Geek and Founder of UpViral & Connectio.
I love his enthusiasm and tools he provides. I’ve been known to buy products solely on his recommendation.
Wilco is considered an expert in the areas of SEO, marketing, conversion optimisation and sales page analytics.
But if you’re still not sure what would make a good giveaway, here are some ideas.
A Sign-Up Bonus
Word of mouth advertising is, by far, one of the most effective and organic ways to attract customers. And it’s all just by having people spread the word about what you’re all about. But it’s hard to replicate the magic of word of mouth advertising on the outside.
This is what sign-up bonuses allow you to do. You get to engineer word of mouth advertising simply by asking customers to share your restaurant/café with their friends.
For instance, you might compel customers to share your restaurant’s referral link with up to five friends. If they can get five friends to click and sign up for your restaurant’s mailing list, you’ll enter them in a raffle for a free breakfast (or meal of choice- it is your restaurant after all). And because UpViral allows you to create a unique referral link and tracks it as people share it over social media, you can ensure that customers are doing just that.
When you share on social media more than just direct friends get access. Anyone who follows your customer on social media can click the special ‘share’ link and also sign up themselves.
You can see how effective this can potentially be. Guests like to feel involved. And when they feel like they have a chance to be rewarded for their efforts as customers, that inspires loyalty in your brand.
This can be one of the most popular, and powerful, ways to attract customers to your restaurant. Birthdays only come one time a year. And for customers, no matter how old they’re turning, they want to feel special and recognised (even if they say they don’t) on their big day.
You can invite customers to sign up for a special rewards programme or simply make a big deal out of their big day when they come in. Offer free drinks or desserts. It may soon become your customer’s favourite birthday tradition.
Personally, getting a free coffee and a slice of cake or cupcake on my birthday would make me a little chuffed. I’d be sharing my good fortune all over Facebook. I’ll be ‘that guy’ taking a photo of his food. I’m not even a millennial, and I love to share great experiences. TIP: Get your staff to offer to use the customer’s phone to take a picture and encourage sharing on social media.
How much is it really costing you? It’s not so much the lost sale of the cake and coffee, but the lifetime value of the customer and the social kudos your business gets for making this experience possible. I’m also likely to be celebrating my birthday with friends. So for you, these are extra sales you may not have had. Time to make a lasting impression. TIP: Make sure your staff know who all the VIPs are and whether it is their birthday. A little recognition goes a long way!
Conversations will ensue on how awesome the restaurant is and that I’m a member of your VIP Club. My friends will ask how to join, and you can see how it begins. Be sure the access to the VIP Club easy to locate on your social accounts and website.
It is on this page that you have your UpViral integration.
Everyone wants to feel important. And that’s where VIP programmes come into play.
The structure of your VIP program may vary based on your individual restaurant/café but, for the most part, it’s all fairly straightforward. Reward your most loyal customers.
You could get fancy and use UpViral to create a separate campaign for VIPs. Get your raving fans to attract other like-minded people to your restaurant/cafe. It’s a win/win/win.
You get more leads.
The customer looks good for having their own special invitation.
Their friends win by becoming new VIPs.
As a side note, make sure to share things like VIP nights over social media. Not only does this raise awareness of the fact that you do VIP nights but it demonstrates to customers that you care about them and want to recognise them for patronising your business- all things that can help inspire a loyal fan base.
TIP: Take loads of photos at VIP events. Offer to take photos of your customers. Create a special hashtag for your event.
Special Event Rewards
As you grow as a company, you may even choose to throw special events such as Make-Your-Own-Pizza and Design-A-Drink contests. What you choose to do is up to you. Special events excite and engage.
TIP: Add social photos of previous VIP events on your sign up page. This shows social proof. Also follow up with your guests after the event to provide feedback, give testimonials and reviews.
Link Rewards to Check-ins
It’s one thing to get leads to your mailing list, but your target market preferably are those that are going to visit your restaurant/cafe.
Then create further incentives in your follow-up emails that are sent to new leads to come to your place of business and get them to “check-in”. You know that pesky app called Facebook. Encourage customers to check-in on arrival via Facebook.
Better yet if you have WIFI and using a service like PoweredLocal – have them check-in using Facebook. Now all their friends know where they are and Facebook has captured some more information about them for you – for your mailing list. See how cool this thing can become!
Stuck For Ideas
Ryan Gromfin (The Restaurant Boss) wrote a great article on Toast: 7 Effective Restaurant Contest Ideas Your Guests Will Love.
Use UpViral to drive traffic to your contest ideas.
How you choose to use UpViral and reach out to your customers all depends on you. By making sure that you’re creating events and giveaways that excite customers, you’ll be on your way to capturing more leads and driving engagement.