Rev Ciancio is a Hospitality Marketing Executive with Branded Strategic Hospitality. “Essentially I help [restaurants] with digital marketing, social media, and the use of software to speed up how they acquire and retain customers.” Rev Ciancio is also a real Reverend, who takes his technology evangelism to greater heights and is in the know with the latest digital marketing tools.
On this episode of Restaurants Reinvented, host Jen Kern talks with Rev about the customer journey and how to attract and retain customers using digital and in-person marketing. He discusses the sales funnel and how consumers today discover restaurants, recommending that marketers own search and optimize their online menus.
🌶️ Reverse Engineer the Funnel:
Top of Funnel (TOFU) awareness marketing does not drive revenue, according to Rev. Restaurant marketers need to start at the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) to understand what’s converting customers. Instead of looking at how to reach the biggest audience, restaurants need to discover what brought a customer to choose their restaurant in the first place. What was their last action before converting?
“When somebody makes a purchase, what is the thing they did before that, that got them there? Or what is the piece of information that the guest needed to help them along that journey?”
🌶️ SEO & Search Optimization:
Brands need to own search with unbranded keywords relevant to their menus and products. “Two out of three online searches for restaurants are unbranded,” …which means they are searching for a certain type of cuisine or food items; and not the name of the restaurant. This is why it is important for the restaurant to keep updated menus on search engines.
🌶️ Single Menu Management
drives improved efficiencies for managing SEO and Search. As much as possible, marketers need to work towards consolidating menus through one system.
🌶️ Digital Table Touches
are key to retaining customers and getting feedback. Operators are overlooking this valuable step in the customer journey (esp w/delivery orders) and losing revenue if not asking for feedback from each and every guest.
Understanding the Customer Journey
Most restaurant operators, even the biggest chains, don’t necessarily think in terms of the sales funnel, says Rev. It’s really important for a restaurant brand to realize that their customers have a journey. Rev explains what the sales funnel is and what the customer’s journey entails.
“If you’re a restaurant and you’re not thinking about what happens in all of those moments [of the customer journey], and how your brand is represented in all of those moments, you could be sending the guests in the wrong direction.”
Using Digital “Table Touches”
“Table Touches” are ways the restaurant can connect individually with the customer. “There’s technology out there that automates this process with text messaging.” Operators need to do a better job of getting guest feedback on every order and communicating directly with guests in order to build brand trust and loyalty.
Awareness is Not a Goal. The Sales Funnel… Explained.
“People think awareness is a goal. Awareness is not a goal. Awareness is a great way to get to a goal. So, the first mistake marketers make is thinking from the top of the funnel. Instead, start at the bottom of the funnel, with the goal….if you know what the goal is, then you know how to move the needle.”
How Customers Discover Restaurants
An important piece of the puzzle is how customers discover restaurants. “So the question is how do customers discover restaurants? The answer is search. Make sure your restaurant is searchable on all the search channels. More importantly, 2 out of 3 searches are unbranded, so owning those key terms is critical for guests to find you.
“As a restauranteur, if you want to have an impact, own search.”
Dispelling Common Restaurant Marketing Myths
Myth: Organic social media is great for driving awareness and new customers.
Myth: Loyalty is about points and promotions. Rev suggests redefining loyalty by Frequency and surprising and delighting, not transactional things.