Free Marketing Idea: Loyalty through Your Restaurant’s Recipes Part 2

Last week, I emphasized that recipes should be part of nearly every fine dining restaurants’ marketing strategy. I discussed how the sharing of recipes build a deeper relationship with customers, especially customers passionate about food. Today, we will discuss the various ways to send recipes and the different benefits of each. How you broadcast the recipes affect more than anything what type of results you receive. One is not necessarily better than another but one may be more consistent with your marketing goals. Let’s review our options:

Email Newsletter

If you have a large email list, an email newsletter is the perfect place to slot in recipes. In the subject line, along with announcing promotions, you should tell your customers that recipes are included. This will make many customers reluctant to read your newsletter to open it and give it a look. This fits a general internet maxim: that sales (promotions) succeeds besides valuable information (like recipes).

With an email newsletter, you are under no obligation to make sending recipes routine. It is also hard to track the effectiveness unless the newsletter is centered around the recipe (if so, you can see how many customers open the email) or you have a link to a site in order to finish reading the recipe (something else trackable). Of course, you could make a game out of it. You could give customers a picture of how the dish is supposed to look and give an award to whoever takes a picture of their creation (by using the recipe) that is most similar to the original. Many sites like Foodspotting offer customers the capability to post pictures of food.

If you do plan on sending out numerous recipes, be sure to tell customers about that. Tease them with the next recipe before you release it, whether encouraging them to join your email list or pay attention to it.

Blog Post

You can definitely team up an email newsletter with a blog post. You may even leave a partial recipe and a link to draw customers onto your blog. But putting recipes on blogs have another capability that act independently of email newsletters.

Publishing one recipe here or there on your blog doesn’t do much unless you actively draw attention to them and you can rarely actively publicize them with people besides your customers. A consistent stream of recipes, say like 1 per month, can do something entirely different. If your recipes are well-received, you can enjoy a substantial bump in website traffic. Understandably, many if not most who come looking for recipes may not live around your restaurant. Still, being an authority has its perks. From recipes, you could build a video online cooking show, all things that might attract the attention of traditional media.

Even though many of the visitors to your blog may not be near enough to visit it, the increased traffic and sharing of links can give you a substantial boost in search engines. In the same way that you become an authority in the minds of customers when you share recipes, when you share them openly over a blog, search engines see you as more of an authority. Inevitably more customers find your website and you gain an advantage over your competition online.

Facebook, Twitter, Website etc.

I believe the best forums are email newsletters or blogs, but there are exceptions. Facebook may the perfect site if you are particularly popular there. Some websites can accommodate recipes. If you don’t use Facebook, Twitter or your Website for posting the recipe, use them to promote it. You want these recipes to have as big an impact as possible.

In my opinion, the two big options is either routing recipes through the email newsletter or the blog. The email newsletter will get more direct results and doesn’t need as much investment. Nonetheless, good use of a blog could in time bring your brand to the next level. Whatever you do, don’t sit on your recipes and as they are recipes to better relationships with customers.

Along with checking out the first blog post, look at the list of principles to consider when publishing recipes.

Recipe Principles

  1. Available ingredients and equipment for customers
  2. Write simplified versions without an overwhelming number of steps or complexity
  3. Seasonally relevant (Turkey before Thanksgiving)
  4. Favor dishes that people serve for others
  5. Give out a watered down version of some of your Signature Dishes
  6. The more surprising the better
  7. The more unique the better
  8. Build a database of popular dishes (putting your touch on it)
  9. Keep with your brand (lounges might publish cocktails)
  10. Reasonably inexpensive, but not too inexpensive
  11. Keep it on the safe side (don’t encourage undercooked meat, etc.)