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Marketing funnel
Today's Restaurant Internet Exclusive
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 21:37

Kennedy HPBy Steve Kennedy
President | A Step Ahead Media

There is no denying that technology has changed the way that restaurants operate. Twenty years ago, the best technology that restaurants had to offer was allowing customers to make reservations over the telephone, handwriting order checks, and using manual cash registers. Now, there is software for computers, mobile devices and tablets that can be integrated right into a restaurant's POS system. Customers that want to make reservations in advance can go to a restaurant's website and quickly and easily fill out an online reservation form. When they arrive at the restaurant, they can create their order, settle their check, tip their server, and even get a receipt using an iPad. By simplifying the entire process, tables can be turned over faster which is great for the customer and creates more revenue for the restaurant.

Technology has also allowed restaurant owners to implement more effective marketing tactics that just weren't possible a few years ago. Coupon websites like Groupon and Living Social allow potential customers to find new restaurants to try that they may not have even heard of before. These coupon websites also have mobile applications to make it easy for the customer and restaurant management to redeem them. Using coupon websites gives restaurant owners an opportunity to make a great first impression and start a process to retain those customers for the long-term. It's very important to make sure that your retention strategy is in place before using this type of coupon website. You need to plan in advance how you will market to those new customers that you want to keep coming back. You can have them join your loyalty program or even just get their email address to send them special offers. In other words, make sure that you get them into your marketing funnel and give them a reason to become a repeat customer!

Wait a you have a marketing funnel set up? Well, technology can help you out there too! There are great email autoresponder programs like aWeber or Constant Contact that will automate the whole process of communicating with your customer base. You can set it all up in advance, and then all you will need to do is enter the new customer's information into your funnel. You can do that manually, or you can have a page on your website that can be used to capture the information. This type of software starts at around $20 per month, and it can significantly help you create and retain loyal customers for your restaurant. If you need help setting up your marketing funnel to stay a step ahead of your competition, I'd be happy to help!

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