Providing WiFi to your restaurant customers may seem like a big expense for not much reward. And the costs can add up if you have a large space that will need signal boosters. But using WiFi marketing can increase your restaurant revenue.
Today’s WiFi services provide so much more than an internet connection. They can be a massively valuable tool for your restaurant, helping you learn more about your customers than you ever thought possible.
I’ve put together seven tips that you can use to get the most out of WiFi marketing. Read on to learn all about it!
1. Provide a welcoming environment
The nature of work in America is changing by the day.
36% of the American workforce is part of the “gig economy” either full- or part-time. That’s 57 million people working in non-traditional jobs.
And most of that work doesn’t come with an office. Co-working spaces like WeWork are great, but they’re a luxury that most freelancers or consultants can’t afford.
So when people need to get out of the house, they look to local coffee shops and restaurants for a comfy seat and fast WiFi.
Welcome workers into your restaurant. Put a sign out front that promotes your WiFi, so they feel encouraged to come in and use it.
Also, put the WiFi password in plain sight.
It’s more convenient for your customers. And it’s easier on your staff if they don’t have to spell out the password several times per day.
You can put it in a small frame at the host stand where it’s easy to see, or post it prominently behind the bar. Some places even include it on their menus, which is a great option for cafes and diners.
If you’re worried about campers who will take up a table for hours and only order one cup of coffee, that’s understandable.
But the fact is that an estimated 50% of customers spend more money if WiFi is offered. They may have come in for a coffee, but after a couple of hours, they’ll get hungry too!
2. Collect contact information
You are providing free WiFi, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get anything in return. In order to use the service, you can require that your guests provide their names, email addresses, and/or phone numbers.
You can also let people access the WiFi by “signing in” with Facebook or other social media accounts. Compared to comment cards or newsletter signups, this is one of the fastest ways to grow your contact lists.
You probably know that it costs a lot more to earn a new customer than to retain a current one — 5x more, in fact.
Your existing customers are easier to sell to, and spend 31% more than new customers. So you can use this contact information to market to the people that you know are already coming through your doors!
3. Nurture your email list
Once you collect all those emails, what are you going to do with them? Contrary to some naysayers, email marketing is alive and well.
Plus, email marketing is affordable.
Services like Mailchimp let you send out 5,000 emails for only $150. If just five of those people come in and spend $30, it’s paid for itself.
To get even better results from email marketing, you’ll want to use segmentation. Segmenting your list lets you personalize your emails to specific groups.
Segmented emails get 14% more opens and almost 65% more click-throughs than general emails!
Using the data you’ll collect from WiFi sign-ins, you’ll be able to learn about the demographics of your customers. And you’ll know how often they’re coming into your restaurant.
So you can send an email to people who haven’t been to the restaurant in awhile, welcoming them back. Or send an email to your most loyal customers, inviting them to a special VIP event.
Keep in mind that the number one reason for unsubscribes is “too many emails”. So don’t overdo it!
4. Nurture your SMS list
Email is great, but SMS can be even better. Use your WiFi as an opportunity to get opt-ins for SMS messaging!
Text message marketing has a massive open rate of 98%. And the click-through rate is high as well—as much as 45%.
Once your guests have provided their email address or social media credentials to access your WiFi, redirect them to a landing page. This is where you’ll give them the opportunity to opt-in to receive your text messages.
These are customers who have already come to your restaurant, so they’ll be more interested in hearing from you!
Once you have your SMS list, you can start segmenting this group as well.
One great way to do this is with geofencing. Set up a virtual border around your restaurant, and send offers or updates to customers who are within that area.
You can let people within the geofence know if happy hour is about to start, or tell them about a dinner special that you’re serving tonight.
The benefit of SMS is the immediacy—you can provide updates about what’s going on right now. And since people always have their phones with them, the messages are unlikely to be missed.
5. Retarget with Google Tag Manager and Facebook Pixel
Facebook Pixel is a great tool that you can integrate with your restaurant website. It tracks actions that visitors take based on parameters that you set.
You could track views of your menu or of upcoming promotions on your event calendar. You could also track clicks through to your reservation software.
So what is the point of this? You can then use the tracked data to retarget these visitors in the future with advertisements.
For example, if a user looked at your event calendar, you could retarget them with an ad promoting the event that they were reading about. You can also see what they do in the future, when they return to your website.
So what does this have to do with WiFi marketing? Well, you can also embed the Facebook Pixel in your WiFi prompt page, tracking users when they log on to your WiFi.
Now, you’ll be able to gain insights into these visitors to your restaurant and send them retargeting ads to encourage them to come back. And you’ll also get alerted when they return, letting you track the effectiveness of your ad!
In order to use Facebook Pixel, you’ll need to set up the Google Tag Manager. This free tool integrates with various marketing tags like the Pixel, allowing you to use them without modifying the site code.
Although Google Tag Manager doesn’t require that you know how to code, it can be a bit complicated. I recommend that you ask a web developer to get it set up for you.
6. Use customer data to build lookalike audiences
All this information you’re gathering won’t only help for bringing your existing customers back. It will also help to get new customers in the door.
As you collect demographic and behavioral information on your WiFi users, you’ll be able to drill down into what your average customer looks like. Then, you can build “lookalike” audiences for future advertising.
You can have different audiences from your website analytics, Facebook traffic, and WiFi users.
Creating lookalike audiences will let you focus your advertising dollars where they’ll do the most good! For example, if you find that 50% of your customers are women between 34 and 45, you’ll know to target that demographic in your next marketing campaign.
Facebook has a simple guide to help walk you through the process of creating a lookalike audience.
7. Use Zenreach’s Walk-Through Rate™ to track success
It’s not enough to just gather information and get clicks. The purpose of any restaurant promotion is to get paying customers in the door.
So how do you know if it’s working?
Services like Zenreach don’t only track customers’ information. They also calculate your Walk-Through Rate (WTR)—the number of customers that your online efforts are getting in the door.
How do they do it?
Well, once your customers have connected to your WiFi with a phone or tablet, they will be reconnected every time they bring that device back to the restaurant. Zenreach stores those WiFi connections in their user profile.
Using that profile, they’ll be able to track when users return to the restaurant after exposure to your marketing messages.
Unlike e-commerce sites that can easily track their web traffic and sales, brick-and-mortar shops have a harder time assessing what works and what doesn’t. This WTR closes the last loop!
This may sound like a lot to take in and a lot to manage.
But remember that you don’t have to do it all at once! Start with #1 and work your way through the steps.
You need people to come in the door to actually use your WiFi before anything else. So make them feel welcome!
Then you can start collecting email addresses and phone numbers, building out your lists. While those lists grow, you can come up with a few marketing ideas for emails and SMS messaging.
Do you think this is something you can tackle?
Just take it one step at a time. But the most important thing is to start.