Methods of Communicating With and Luring In Cautious Customers

Our economy over the last several years has created a lot of fear and anxiety for both customers and businesses alike. That said, as a restaurant owner it’s important not to cut back on your marketing budget, but rather to simply shift the types of marketing messages you are putting out. Doing so will not only help your retain your customers when the economy shifts, but can actually go a long way toward branding yourself as a positive, responsible establishment which people truly enjoy patronizing.

Shift Your Marketing Message to Reflect the Minds of Your Customers

Even after the recession lifts, customers are unlikely to return to the willy-nilly spending habits of years gone past. That said, a reduced price on your menu items is far from the only (or even the best) way to catch your customers’ attention. In fact, you need to be careful about marketing based on discounted price points, or you may forever relegate your establishment to being associated with ‘cheap’.

A smarter way of marketing to your more cautious customer base happens when you not only acknowledge their mindset, but also give messages that resonate with them in a positive way. Rather than making your message just about price (which can inadvertently remind customers of how hard up they feel), it’s smarter to emphasize value.

For example, you could draw their attention to menu items which could serve as two meals allowing them the convenience of not having to deal with tomorrow’s meal prep. Or, you could emphasize the opportunity to spend more quality time with the family by eating out, rather than having to waste that time on shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

Emphasize Responsibility in Your Marketing Messages

Given our economic circumstances, the word ‘responsibility’ is particular resonate with the average consumer. Gone are the days of gaudy extravagances and in their place consumers want less excess and more discipline and sustainability from both themselves and the businesses they patronize.

When you consider a ‘marketplace of responsibility’, picture upscale styles and experiences delivered with moderation and class. Going ‘local’ is one way to demonstrate your commitment to responsible practices, and is something that many consumers consider when making their choices about where to eat and shop.

Get Creative with Your Marketing Appeal

There are numerous ways that you can creatively appeal to your newly cautious consumers. Aside from simply providing positive (don’t remind them of the bad times), responsible and value-based marketing messages, you can also appeal to your customers’ need to have some control in terms of both finances and food choices. Letting customers order the portion sizes they want, being flexible about what they can substitute, and showing them how to find better value in your menu all serve to give customers feelings of comfort and control and end up creating loyalty to your establishment.

The take home message here is that while today’s economic situation does dictate some changes in behavior, the opportunity to attract more cautious consumers still exists through the appeal of value, experience, and quality.

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