Professional Comment

Marketing- Effective Ways to Promote Your Business

By Catherine Storey, Founder and Director of Freshbat Marketing (

There are more options than ever when it comes to marketing your hospitality business; but it can feel so overwhelming that it’s difficult to know where to start. Ideally, your marketing should include a combination of both digital and traditional marketing and in this article, we’ll discuss the most effective ways to promote your business to new and existing customers.

Online content means that customers are more tuned in than ever to hospitality brands and if you’re not present on at least a few marketing channels, you risk falling behind your competition.

At the core of great marketing is great communication and building relationships with your customers to make them rave about their experience with you to their friends, family and colleagues. Word of mouth marketing is by far the most powerful way to market your business. Reward programmes and offers are a reliable way to keep customers coming back and expand your customer base because people love to get something back! Think about brands like Nando’s and McDonald’s which reward loyalty by enabling customers to redeem points collected each time they spend. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as that; something as simple as a printed loyalty card you stamp every time and give out a free drink on the 10th visit can entice customers back and turn them into loyal fans.

Online reviews are the lifeblood of hospitality marketing. People will often check online before deciding where to eat or drink, so making sure profiles on TripAdvisor and other review sites are up to date is essential. You can encourage reviews by making sure your customers know how to leave a review; for example, using QR codes on loyalty cards that you send out with deliveries or that you place on tables and of course, making sure that you encourage reviews from regular customers every time they engage with you.

To help keep lines of communication open with your customers and make them aware of your latest offers, ensure you have some basic email marketing in place, such as confirmation emails when someone books online, a reminder email 24 hours before the booking and a follow up email afterwards to ask them how their visit was and request a review. It’s also worth sending one-off emails for special occasions such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas and whenever you have news to share, such as a menu update. Ensure you give people enough notice for bigger occasions (send emails at least 3-4 weeks before).

When it comes to social media, things are more fast-paced. Statistics say that you have about three seconds to grab a user’s attention on TikTok and on other platforms, without video content, attention spans can be even shorter.

Social media is a great way to promote your business for very little investment. Short-form video content is particularly useful for cutting through the noise, especially on visual platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. Close ups of food and drink are really engaging and you can use a phone to do close ups, for example cutting into some food and steam emerging, or cutting an egg showing the yolk spilling out. Behind-the-scenes content is another cost-effective way to create authentic and engaging posts. Audiences love to see how their food is made or how their cocktail is put together behind the bar. When it comes to photography, make sure your phone camera is clean, remove clutter from the background and use portrait mode to get a more professional-looking photo.

To build an engaged community, make use of features such as polls on Instagram stories to get customers excited about upcoming events and offers, and to get feedback so you can keep improving the experience for your customers. Think about easy two-choice polls, for example, which drink are you ordering tonight? Are you eating in or taking away? Keep questions simple to maximise engagement.

While it might seem overwhelming, once you’ve chosen your key channels there are lots of opportunities to get creative with your marketing. Think about where your customers are most likely to be spending time, choose the marketing activities you want to do and have fun!