The Seattle Post Intelligence, one of the two still remaining daily newspapers in the Seattle area, just published the following (bad) news:
“After 146 years of delivering news, the Seattle P-I faces becoming what it has chronicled: history. The Hearst Corp., said Friday that it has put the paper up for sale, and it will stop publishing unless someone buys it in 60 days.”
This is not the first and won’t be the last newspaper to bite the dust. And what does this have to do with your restaurant you may ask?
Plenty, please bear with me and keep on reading.
This is the sign that more and more people are looking for their news online (actually the Seattle PI is thinking about having a Web only presence) and buying less and less newspapers and printed magazines.
PC Magazine was another casualty of the Web. They’ve stopped printing their magazine (to which I was a subscriber) in January 1st this year and they have an only Web presence now.
The reason why the printed media is becoming extinct is because their main source of revenue: advertising is dying.
Most newspapers and magazines can’t cover costs by selling them to their readers or subscribers. The revenue making piece is (or was) their advertising. Since more and more advertisers are taking their business online, the traditional media is getting less and less revenues from their printed versions.
Consider the damage that online classified ads such as Craigslist (free for everyone to post and read most of the ads) has done to newspapers where people used to pay quite a lot to run an ad. All the sudden people are not paying anymore for posting printed ads since they can reach an even larger audience and change the ads on the fly (or retract them once they sell the items). And the best part is that they can do all of this for free!
Now, going back to your restaurant. This should hint you several important trends for your businenss:
If you ares till spending money in printed ads (in newspapers, magazines and yellow pages, for example), you are probably wasting your money and reaching less and less of your potential customers.
- You must have an online marketing plan with as many as the following offerings as possible:
- A streamlined and excellent website
- An email list of your clients where you send them updated information about your restaurant
- Presence in Social Networks such as FaceBook or MySpace
- A Twitter account where you send updates, discounts and interesting news to your followers
- Online booking system
Your customers are online. They go online to look for news, for reviews and for recommendations about restaurant. You better be online as well to check what they are reading and commenting about your place.
There are things that you can do to improve your reviews and ratings but above all, you must always keep your clients happy and provide them with excellent food and service. Compensate them for any mistakes or issues and don’t even give them a reason to write a bad review about your place.
An online bad review will mean a loss of potential customers who will read the reviews and decide to take their business elsewhere.
Reviews are also a great direct feedback. Try to respond to it and take action so that you won’t repeat the same mistakes again in the future.
So there you have it.
Always be alert about the continously changing marketplace and try to be one step ahead of your competitors. You need to adverstise and market where your customers are.
Statistics tell us that most of them are online now so you should be there as well.