Taking your business into the online arena is a complex undertaking. Not only will you have to create and maintain a website, and potentially an on-site blog, but you also have to engage in SEO in order to ensure that consumers find your site, participate in social media in order to attract and communicate with prospective customers, and continue your own education so as to best take advantage of emerging platforms for interaction with the public at large. In short, there is something of a learning curve associated with functioning on behalf of your restaurant in cyberspace. And just when you think you’ve got it down, you must broach the topic of online promotions, which are another beast entirely. On the upside, you’re not reinventing the wheel. Plenty of other businesses have run promotions online and you can learn from their successes and failures. Here are just a few tips that should help you to get started on the right foot.

  1. Get creative. The first thing is to come up with a creative strategy for your promotion. If you’re going to create an ad campaign, consider what you can do to grab attention with clever, humorous, or shocking ads. You could also create contests, offer specials, or partner with other brands to create unique products or services that are only available to online followers, just for example. You’re limited only by your imagination when it comes to promoting your business online. So it pays to get in touch with your creative side.
  2. Focus testing. Any time you’re running promotions you want to make sure that you’re going to get the type of response you’re seeking. Some people believe that gaining the limelight by any means is a good thing. But you want to make sure that the money you spend on promotions results in a return on investment by way of sales. It’s not enough to catch public attention – you have to find ways to get the reaction (and action) from consumers that will make your business successful.
  3. Online presence. The trick with online promotions is spreading the word without spreading yourself too thin, so you need to pay close attention to your online presence where promotional efforts are concerned. If you already have a website and social media profiles in place, targeting your built-in consumer base is a must. But you should also consider other avenues of exploration, such as industry blogs and forums. You don’t want to get so wrapped up in your promotions that you neglect your business, but you definitely need to make sure you get sufficient coverage.
  4. Crossover. A comprehensive approach is the best strategy for online promotions, and this generally means tying your online promotions to real-world efforts. Of course, you might also consider cross-promotional opportunities with adjacent industries as a way to cut costs for both parties and expand your potential consumer appeal.
  5. Analytics. You might not need analytical tools to tell you if the supplies you’re ordering from the National Grocers Corporation are working for you and your customers. But when it comes to online promotions, you’re going to need that targeted feedback if you want to see where you’re succeeding and failing. This will help you to tailor future efforts for maximum impact.