It’s a classic story: generally responsible types making smart decisions all year, only to get a little too carried away when St. Patrick’s Day, or any other sales boosting holiday, rolls around. And as much as they’re warned, they impulsively repeat the same mistakes year after year.
This March 17, that’s exactly what many restaurants, bars, and other establishments will do—falling into the familiar pattern of short-sighted sales and marketing strategies. By focusing only on selling food and drinks for one night, they will miss out on opportunities to build customer relationships and restaurant regulars that can keep their businesses thriving all year round.
The numbers show exactly why it’s a mistake to place too much emphasis on one-time sales rather than engaging customers and building relations with restaurant regulars. Consider this data points:
- On average, a repeat customer spends 67% more than a first-time customer.¹
- Acquiring a new customer is estimated to cost between 5 and 25 times as much as keeping an existing customer.²
- Each time the average business loses a customer, it costs them an average of $243.³
If you want restaurant regulars to keep bringing you repeat business for months and years to come, it’s important to have a comprehensive data-driven marketing plan. This marketing plan involves carefully considering how you want your customers to think of you, as well as the ways you will learn about them.
Create A First Impression That Keeps Restaurant Regulars Coming Back
When a customer enters your establishment for the first time, the sky is the limit. They could wind up joining your loyalty program, downloading your mobile app, and/or becoming a restaurant regular, coming back time after time for many years.
But before you can build a customer relationship, the customer must be willing to keep in touch, give you some personal information, and continue buying your food and drinks. To make that happen on St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll need to make sure their first experience is a positive one.
With that goal in mind, it’s a good idea to ask yourself questions like:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What will they look for in St. Patrick’s Day specials?
- Will your establishment’s festive vibe appeal to them?
- Will you have enough staff on hand to offer excellent customer service?
- How will you show them your establishment is a great place to be all year round?
Start Building Scalable Customer Relationships and Nurture Restaurant Regulars
When giving your first-time visitors a warm welcome, you have a golden opportunity to start building relationships with them. The goal is to really make them feel like you know them.
Of course, you don’t need to get to know all your new customers personally. Instead, you can start personalizing the customer experience in a scalable way by using a marketing automation solution to gather information from them, analyze it, and utilize it.
To gather information on a new customer, your first step is to create a profile for them. You can easily do this by inviting them to join your loyalty club or download your mobile app, and requiring them to fill out a digital registration form as part of the process. Then, you can track their purchases and other activities over time—giving you a better sense of how much they tend to spend, which types of foods and drinks are their favorites, and other aspects of their dining habits.
How does that information help your business gain restaurant regulars? With the right automated solution, like Como Sense, and the right details, it’s easy to send your customers personalized text messages, push notifications, and other types of messages. Through omnichannel engagement, you can generate more repeat business by sending the most relevant offers to many of your patrons—while also creating a more enjoyable and personalized customer experience.
This St. Patrick’s Day, your establishment could be just another business using one-time specials to bring in new customers. But if you want the holiday to have a long-term impact on your sales, it’s important to plan ahead, create an excellent customer experience, and lay the groundwork for lasting customer relationships.
Make that happen, and you can really make this a holiday to remember.