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How restaurants can survive the decline in digital ad effectiveness

Restaurants relying on digital advertising are discovering it’s become far harder to find hungry customers online. What was a clutter problem just a few months ago—too many ads—has become a return on investment problem. That’s because new privacy enhancements can make it more challenging and potentially more expensive to reach customers.

In this new environment, restaurant brands may have to find other ways to collect the essential first-person data they rely on.

“These market developments suggest it will be far harder to accurately and cost-effectively track and target restaurant consumers going forward,” says Russ Dearborn, Regional Account Manager for FedEx Office. Yet while the marketing world is pondering how to get along without consumer-tracking data, most of a restaurant’s customer base is still living within a three-mile ring surrounding their location, just like they always have. The forgotten mailbox is an uncluttered advertising venue that can help restaurants counter the declining effectiveness of digital advertising.”

Read on to find out how a tried-and-true marketing tactic might be just the one that gets your cash register ringing.

Creative messaging can earn attention

A variety of messaging approaches can help your direct mail piece get noticed and, ideally, drive action. There are multiple types of newsworthy items you can communicate to help keep your messaging fresh and attuned to your restaurant’s specific needs at any moment. Here are some examples:

  • Drive traffic to your website: Incentivize potential customers to visit your website to access special offers. Once there, invite them to receive an email or text message with a QR code they can use to redeem a promotional offer when they visit the restaurant. In the process you’ll capture first-party data, including names, phone numbers and physical and email addresses.
  • Promote your delivery service: By targeting customers directly, you may be able to lessen your reliance on third-party apps or search engines to deliver your name to hungry consumers.
  • Announce a grand opening: As the new kid on the block, alerting neighbors to your presence can help encourage trial and discovery.
  • Reveal a new brand: Many restaurants are opening ghost kitchens under a fresh concept to make it easier for the community to enjoy a variety of cuisine in the comfort of their homes.
  • Introduce a seasonal menu: Many consumers seek reimagined dishes or new tastes with the changing months, and a summary of current offerings could pique their interest.
  • Host a promotional event: Whether you’re raising money for a local school group or welcoming in families for seasonal fun, you can help create excitement by notifying the neighbors.
  • Announce staff openings: Many restaurants are recruiting these days, and direct mail might be an avenue to attract an updated pool of candidates, from stay-at-home parents who want to get out a few days a week to college kids home for a break.

Save money while making a good impression

Some restaurant operators overlook direct mail because of the costs of printing and postage. Fortunately, there are ways restaurants can save on the project to help preserve margins.

First, determine which medium will be most effective, such as a postcard for a shorter communication, a custom-folded flyer or menu to create drama, or flats, which offer a larger canvas to share your message.

An ongoing dialogue with a print provider like FedEx Office can help you explore strategies to find the marketing strategies that will provide the best results. “When it comes to a solution like direct mail, we can apply our expertise to help suggest the correct weight of paper, layout and types of inks and colors that would be best suited to your project,” says Dearborn.

FedEx Office can also personalize your communication which can often lead to greater success. “Personalized direct-mail marketing offers a cookie-less means to reach up to 80% of a restaurant’s customer base,” Dearborn says.

Finally, consider how you can save on postage. The most important part of any direct-mail campaign is the list, notes Dearborn. “Without an accurate database, you may be wasting money by printing and mailing to phantom customers,” he says, adding that FedEx Office’s clean lists can help make the most of your postage investment. The company also offers advanced sorting services, which could qualify you for a lower postage rate.

As restaurant operators grapple with their customers’ changing habits, coupled with an evolving marketing landscape, they will seek solutions that help bring hungry customers to their door. Wondering if direct mail can help your restaurant continue to thrive as we look ahead to 2022? Contact FedEx Office to learn more.