Local restaurants face unique advertising challenges. The category is highly competitive, they’re still dealing with labor concerns, and some consumers are pulling back on dining out. However, according to BIA Advisory’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2023, the segment is expected to grow by 8.7%. Restaurant advertisers will be spending, but what’s the right message to attract and retain customers? A key part of ad content should focus on their loyalty programs.

Why Loyalty Programs Sweeten the Promotion

Loyalty programs have long been a standard customer perk for restaurants. In fact, 57% of restaurants now have one, and consumers are driving the trend, with 86% saying they are interested in joining one. So, why do customers love loyalty programs? The obvious reason is the reward, but they appreciate many features, including:

  • Personalized offers
  • Exclusive discounts
  • Point earning options
  • Recommendations

When consumers have these benefits, they’ll be more likely to be repeat purchasers and spend more per visit. Data supports that 40% of diners increase their checks with loyalty programs. What’s also great about a loyalty program is that it applies to any venue, from quick serve to fine dining. It also gives local restaurants something to level the playing ground with national competitors that have more brand recognition and bigger ad budgets.

As a result, you have an opportunity to propose campaigns to grow their loyalty programs, which can drive revenue for you and your clients.

So, what kind of ad content makes sense for these restaurant advertisers?

Loyalty Program Campaign Ideas for Local Restaurant Advertisers

First, you’ll need to understand their program and its features. Are there differentiators? What are the rewards? What are the restrictions?

After this assessment and a review of the advertiser’s needs, you can share these ideas:

Create Urgency with Time-Limited Offers

Creating urgency is one of the best ways to get consumers to sign up for something. You can suggest that new loyalty members could receive bonus points after their first purchase within a specific window of time. Such promotions should run in channels where quick action is possible, including OTT, digital display and social media. The person can become a loyalty member with one click and start earning points. With all these tactics, you can target based on geography and demographics.

Another option is to add geofencing to the digital display for competitor restaurants, as the deal may prompt the consumer to try something new.

Reengage Dormant Users

In addition to adding new members, restaurants should reengage those who haven’t been active. Loyalty members who haven’t visited in a while could use a reminder with an offer of double points on their next order. Deliver the message through email marketing and/or mobile messaging. These tactics are great for personalization and could include specific offers based on the person’s past purchases.

Hit the Airways at the Right Time

In addition to digital advertising, restaurants should consider radio and TV spots to talk up their loyalty programs. With these OTA (over-the-air) spots, your advertisers will have massive reach that can drive recall and brand awareness. The key is placing ads in critical times for the best results. For example, a radio spot on the morning drive can focus on lunchtime orders with loyalty programs. Another option would be ads that run in the early evening on TV to prompt a dinner order.

Recommend Niche Platforms

Running ads on niche platforms could be a great opportunity for advertisers to hit new demographics. For example, Gen Z favors TikTok and Snapchat, so these are great social media sites to try out in the campaign. If advertisers are focusing on families and those decision makers, Pinterest may be a good option. With a third-party digital platform that enables advertising on these niche platforms, you have lots of inventory to provide for advertisers.

Loyalty Has Its Privileges. Use the Hook for Restaurant Advertising

Every consumer wants rewards and incentives for being loyal. It’s an expectation, and local restaurants can do this well. With these ideas and access to digital and traditional media, you can build a campaign that drives engagement and sales.

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