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  • Writer's pictureJamie Evans

Step-by-Step Guide: Our Agency's 5 Key Steps to Attract More Customers to Your Venue!

Updated: Jul 2



Group of friends dining at Flying Duck Hotel in Melbourne
Flying Duck Hotel Guests Winter Dining

Introduction:

Get ready to work through the internal internal procedures and strategies that we as a hospitality focused agency use to attract new customers to venues such as your own! This 5 step interactive process will guide you through all the required elements that you need to successfully start attracting new customers to your venue. We will begin with ensuring that you fully understand who your brand is and how it should be perceived by your potential customers, then we will move through content production, account optimisation and then paid advertising tactics to ensure you are equipped with the knowledge and skills to arm your venue with new customers! 


At the end there will also be a little bonus where we share our favourite tools that we use to maximise our efforts. We hope you enjoy the process, have fun and most importantly find great success for your venue to give you the ability to grow your business. Now it's time to get reading…


Step 1: Knowing Your Brand Identity

Why Brand Identity is the First Step to Success

You might be surprised, but a lot of venues we start working with think that slapping together a logo and a few colours ticks off their branding. But hey, that's just a slice of the brand identity pie! Brand identity is all about how folks perceive and interact with your venue—from the way you spruce up your social media, to how your staff talk with customers, right down to how you respond to reviews.


Focusing on this first is crucial because of one major thing: consistency. We aim to make sure that every touchpoint—whether it’s in-store, on your website, or across social media—is consistent. This approach not only strengthens your brand, making your venue more recognisable and memorable, but also sets the expectation for customers. They'll start to resonate with your brand, trust me, and that’s how you’ll stand out!


Understanding "Brand Identity": Its Significance in the Hospitality Industry

Alright, let’s get this straight. Here are the crucial reasons why your brand identity is absolutely essential:

  • Brand Essence: More than just your logo, brand identity represents everything your business stands for, shaping how customers perceive and interact with your venue.

  • Logo as the Face: Your logo sets the initial tone and is crucial for brand recognition, but it’s just the beginning of building a strong identity.

  • Credibility and Trust: Consistent branding builds trust and authority, making your venue a reliable choice for customers.

  • Advertising Cohesion: A unified brand identity enhances all marketing efforts, ensuring your advertising speaks with one voice.

  • Mission and Values: Your brand identity embodies your venue’s mission, attracting customers who resonate with what you stand for.

  • Customer Loyalty: A strong identity not only attracts new customers but also turns them into advocates, fostering a sense of belonging and loyalty.


Brand Identity and the Language You Use to Connect with Customers

Crafting a brand identity isn't just about visuals; as discussed before it's also about the language you use to connect with your audience. Whether your tone is upscale and polished or relaxed and friendly, the words you choose are a direct extension of your brand personality. This consistent voice should permeate every aspect of your communications, from engaging social media posts to customer interactions and advertising. It’s all about weaving your unique story into every message, establishing an emotional bond with customers that not only attracts but also retains their loyalty and trust.


Key Questions to Define Your Venue's Unique Character

These are the exact questions we pose to our clients during our brand identity meetings as they come on board with us. This thorough approach helps us gather all the necessary details to craft their bespoke brand identity document. We use this document as the ‘bible’ for their brand, ensuring that every piece of content we create for the venue is consistent and clear.

  1. What three words best describe the vibe of our venue?

  2. Who is our ideal guest and what are their expectations?

  3. What unique experiences do we offer that competitors don’t?

  4. How do our decor and aesthetics reflect our brand’s personality?

  5. What are the core values that our venue embodies?

  6. How do we want our guests to feel when they visit our venue?

  7. What feedback do we frequently receive from customers?

  8. How do our staff interactions enhance our brand identity?

  9. What is the story behind our venue that engages customers?

  10. How can we visually and verbally communicate our unique traits through marketing and on-site experiences?


Step 2: Video Content

Now that you've clearly defined your brand and its desired perception by customers and the public, it's time to start creating content that truly reflects and strengthens your brand. This is the exciting part of the process where you get to showcase the true character of your business and engage with potential customers to sway their decision to visit your establishment.


The Importance of storytelling & engaging video content

It's no secret that video content is among the most engaging and influential tools for building your brand, yet many businesses fail to utilise it effectively. Video excels because it easily conveys stories through motion pictures, and with today's technology—like smartphones—we can create emotionally charged stories right from our pockets! However, it's crucial that the videos align with our brand message. Trending video styles shouldn't dictate your content; instead, adapt their influence to fit your brand. For instance, a lively bar might draw on trending TikTok videos to capture their energy, while a fine dining restaurant might opt for a more polished, aesthetic approach, possibly hiring professional videographers. These strategies ensure your video content resonates with the target audience you aim to attract to your venue.


Content You Can Shoot

As mentioned, the power to create engaging content for our brand is right in our hands thanks to smartphones. These devices allow you to shoot raw, simple, yet appealing videos that can reveal much about your brand. With numerous apps offering templates and easy editing features, you can produce high-quality content at minimal cost—mostly just your time. Below, we’ll explore four types of videos that you can easily shoot today with your phone right in your venue.


General overview of service & venue

Capture the essence of your venue in short, aesthetic clips. Position the camera to frame everyday moments beautifully—chefs plating, guests dining, wine pouring, and the sunlight casting shadows. These snippets let the action speak and invite viewers to notice the little, captivating details of your venue.


Behind the scenes

Take your audience into the heart of the venue, like the kitchen or behind the bar. Show the daily operations, from meal preparations to menu planning. This peek behind the curtain not only intrigues but also connects your guests to their favourite dishes and drinks.


Dining POV

Document a complete dining experience from a guest’s perspective. Whether it’s you or a staff member, capture everything from entering the venue, noticing the little nuances and the detailed service provided at the table. This type of content lets potential customers envision their visit, enhancing their anticipation and desire to experience it themselves.


Highlight menu offerings

Focus on your menu’s highlights with well-lit, stable shots featuring interaction with the food or drink. Whether it’s mixing a cocktail or twirling a plate of pasta, keep these videos engaging and imaginative. Such content needs to stand out in the sea of similar videos to capture and retain viewer interest.


Tips for shooting with your phone

When shooting video with your phone you need to understand some basics to ensure you capture quality video content. These few tips will ensure your footage is smooth, high quality and engaging for people to watch.


  1. Set to High Quality: Change your phone's video settings to 4K and 25 fps for the sharpest resolution and natural-looking movement. Avoid higher frame rates unless you're planning to slow down the footage.

  2. Clean the Lens: Always start with a clean camera lens to prevent blurry, low-quality videos.

  3. Turn on your phone’s grid feature and shoot vertically. This format suits most social media platforms, particularly in the hospitality industry. Use the grid to help frame your shots, placing your subject centrally or at grid intersections.

  4. Stabilise Your Camera: Limit camera movement to intentional, simple motions like pushing in or panning. For most shots, keep the camera steady and let the movement within the frame tell the story.

  5. Optimise Lighting: Utilise natural light by positioning your subject next to a large window. Avoid harsh internal lighting unless it suits the aesthetic you're aiming for.

  6. Adjust Exposure: Manually adjust your exposure to avoid overly bright highlights, setting it slightly lower to enhance the quality of your footage.


EGC Videos

Employee-generated videos (EGC) are a fantastic way to involve your team in content production. Not only does this approach engage your staff, but it also builds trust with your audience by showcasing how your team embodies your brand. These videos give a real sense of what it's like to be at your venue. Below are some examples of the types of content you can create with this method.


Owner overview & mission

Create videos where the owner or owners personally discuss their motivations for starting the venue, its offerings, specials, and their mission. This direct engagement from the leadership fosters trust and connects with potential customers, especially if their values resonate with what the venue stands for.


Chefs speaking to camera about food

Who doesn't love hearing directly from the chef about the meal they're about to enjoy? Let your chefs take the spotlight and explain the inspiration behind their dishes, the flavours to anticipate, and their recommended drink pairings. This not only enriches the dining experience but also acts as a pre-visit upsell, enticing guests with a taste of what’s to come before they even step into the venue.


Q&A with team members to get to know them

Showcase your team and give your guests—or potential guests—a chance to meet the people they'll interact with. This type of content humanises your brand by demonstrating that your staff are integral to your business. It fosters connections between your team and your guests because, after all, people connect with people. Why not have your team members share what they love about hospitality, their favourite local dining spots, or what they enjoy most about working at your venue? Getting them in front of the camera can make all the difference!


Humour & trends 

This type of content might not suit every brand, but who doesn't enjoy a good laugh or a captivating trend? It's one of the simplest ways to engage your audience when done right. Consider which current trends align with your venue's style if you choose to explore this route. For humour, tap into the natural wit of a team member who can spin funny aspects of your business into gold. Their natural flair can make your content not only relatable but also incredibly engaging.


UGC Creators

These days, there are countless skilled content creators adept at producing user-generated style content for venues like yours. While many think of influencers when hearing 'UGC' or 'content creators,' our focus is on POV-style videos that can significantly boost your marketing efforts. When selecting creators, ensure their video style aligns with your venue's brand. For a premium, aesthetic venue, opt for creators who specialise in lifestyle content, while lively bars might benefit from creators who produce dynamic, engaging videos. Remember to discuss compensation and clarify that the content will be used in paid advertising and other marketing initiatives.


High Quality

High-quality video production doesn’t always resonate best on organic or paid social media, often because it can come across as staged or insincere. Consumers, weary of polished marketing tactics, often prefer raw content that portrays the product authentically. However, this doesn’t mean high-quality content isn’t right for your venue. It all depends on the brand identity we established earlier. If your venue is premium, then your content should reflect that quality. In such cases, it’s worthwhile to hire a professional videographer to produce content that aligns with your high standards.


Step 3: Photography


Why photography is still so important even if it is not as engaging as video


A set of great, high-quality images can be just as evocative and capable of storytelling as video when done correctly. Rather than settling for standard pictures of dishes or cocktails, which are overly common and often fail to convey your brand's story, we recommend a series of engaging, narrative-driven photographs. The primary reason for needing high-quality imagery is simple: first impressions matter. When someone visits your social media page or website, they get an immediate sense of your venue's atmosphere before they even view any videos. It's crucial that your brand's identity is vividly conveyed through your images to make the best first impression possible.


Creating a photography brief

Crafting a detailed photography brief is crucial for successful imagery. It steers the direction of your content to align with your brand's goals. Start by defining the purpose of the images—whether for ads, design work, social media, print, or all of these. Next, consider the narrative: what story are the images meant to tell? This is crucial, as conveying a story through still images is more challenging than in video. Then, create a shot list of essential items or areas to ensure nothing is missed. Finally, assemble a mood board with a collection of images that inspire the desired style and theme. This helps give your photographer clear direction on the look and feel you’re aiming for, including details like colour schemes and lighting. The more comprehensive your brief, the better your end results, so invest time in preparation!


How you can shoot content

While we generally don’t recommend shooting images yourself, if you are proficient with a camera or smartphone, you can still produce excellent results. Consistency with your brand is key. Here are a few tips: Keep your images simple and clean. Opt for natural frames around your venue that capture either morning or afternoon light. Always illuminate food images with side window light. For closer shots, zoom in to about 2x or 3x on your phone, and use your grid feature to maintain tight composition.


Hiring a professional photographer

Nothing represents your venue better than a professional hospitality photographer whose portfolio matches your brand identity. We always recommend this approach, as professionally captured images typically look, feel, and perform better than DIY efforts. Be sure to prepare a detailed brief as previously outlined and collaborate closely with the photographer. This way, you can create a comprehensive image bank to use throughout the various steps of your marketing strategy.


Step 4: Optimising Your Accounts & Organic Social


Instagram Account

Your Instagram bio has a crucial role that's often misunderstood. It needs to swiftly inform and guide potential customers without being overly elaborate, due to the limited word count. Here’s the framework we use at Tableside:


  • Name: Include your location and type (e.g., bar, restaurant, cafe).

  • First Line: Highlight your Unique Selling Point (USP).

  • Second Line: Explain why they should follow you.

  • Third Line: Always mention your location.

  • Link: Use a Link-in-Bio tool or direct it to your bookings or homepage.

  • Display Picture: Use a high-quality version of your logo.

  • Story Highlights: Tidy them up with creative, on-brand icons and headings that showcase your venue's unique selling points.


Facebook Account

Every business set up a Facebook account and then left it, never looked at it again and rarely updated its information. But for many people this is still a massive information source for them about your venue and should be treated with the same respect as everything else. So it's time to dust off the facebook account, try and figure out your password again and clean it up! Again, here is the framework we use at Tableside to make this happen:


  • Cover Image: Update with new imagery from the content shoot

  • Display Picture: Update to match the Instagram display picture

  • Bio: Short and sweet that describes your USP’s

  • Contact Information: Make sure this is all still relevant and up to date

  • Booking Info: Make sure this goes to your website to ensure you can track their data

  • Opening Hours: Make sure they are up to date


GMB Account

Like Facebook accounts, Google My Business profiles are often set up and then neglected. However, with most people using Google and its reviews to choose restaurants, it's crucial to optimise your account. Here’s how we ensure it’s up-to-date:


  • Verification: Confirm your business is verified.

  • Name: Include 'Restaurant', 'Bar', or 'Cafe' to improve SEO.

  • Business Category: Select a primary category that fits your business and add all relevant USPs or services.

  • Bio: Craft a concise, engaging description of who you are and what you offer.

  • Contact Information: Ensure all details are current and correct.

  • Booking Link: Direct this to your own website to avoid third-party plugins and capture client data effectively.

  • Images: Regularly update with your own high-quality images to maintain control over your profile’s visuals.

  • Reviews: Respond personally to every review, whether positive or negative. This shows commitment to customer care and enhances your reputation.


Fix your organic social approach

Now that we've nailed your brand identity and produced content that aligns with it, it's time to revamp your organic social media presence. Once you've optimised your accounts, start posting your new content about 5-6 times a week to phase out the old and freshen up your pages with a look that's spot on for your brand! Remember to use the unique language style we discussed? Keep that tone consistent and lively in your captions. Avoid outsourcing your caption writing to generic tools like ChatGPT; it might save time but can dilute your brand's unique voice. This strategic refresh will make a stellar first impression on all new potential customers checking out your accounts.


Step 5: Paid Advertising


Setting up your accounts

Having all the backend set up correctly is super crucial when it comes to advertising on any platform, as you don’t want to miss key data points or end up with high ad costs and no results. Here’s a brief overview of each step we use for setting up, particularly focusing on Meta for its relevance to the Hospitality industry. If you've already completed some steps, feel free to skip ahead.


  1. Business Account Setup: Start by creating a new Meta Business Suite account to manage all your assets under one umbrella. Meta Business Suite Setup Info

  2. Claiming Your Facebook Page: Ensure you claim ownership of your Facebook page, which is different from being just a manager. This secures higher level ownership over your page. Claim Your Facebook Page Info

  3. Domain Verification: Verify your domain to optimise your pixel and track website interactions by adding a code snippet to your site's header. Domain Verification Info

  4. Install Pixel: Install the Meta pixel to track interactions from Meta to your website. This is crucial for enhancing ad performance and is simplified through partnerships with most CMS platforms. Pixel Installation Info

  5. Ad Account Setup: Set up your ad account via your business manager, add a payment method, and link your ad account to your pixel for retargeting and tracking campaign performance. Ad Account Setup Info


Understanding Your Audiences and How to Effectively Utilise Them


Creating targeted audiences is crucial for two primary reasons. Firstly, it allows you to experiment with different demographics, interests, and behaviours similar to those of your current followers. Secondly, it enables the formation of specific groups for retargeting purposes. We recommend setting up the following types of audiences:


  • Location-Based Audiences:

  • Detailed Geographic (DETAILED GEO): Target within a 5-mile radius of your venue.

  • Broad Geographic (BROAD GEO): Target within a 40-mile radius of your venue.

  • Interest-Based Audiences:

  • Interest Plus (INT PLUS): Identify 5-6 interests that align with your venue. For instance, if you operate a Japanese restaurant, you might choose interests like dining out, restaurants, Japanese cuisine, dumplings, sushi, sake, ramen, and Japan travel.

  • Look-Alike Audiences:

  • 10% Look-Alike Social (LAL SOCIAL): Based on your social media followers.

  • 10% Look-Alike Web (LAL WEB): Based on your website visitors (Note: A tracking pixel should be installed for at least three months to gather sufficient data).

  • 10% Look-Alike Email (LAL EMAIL): Based on your email database, where you can upload your contact list to create a similar audience.

  • Retargeting Audiences:

  • Instagram Engagement 365 (INSTA ENG 365): Targets people who have engaged with your Instagram account in the past 365 days.

  • Facebook Engagement 365 (FACEBOOK ENG 365): Targets people who have engaged with your Facebook account in the past 365 days.

  • Web Engagement 180 (WEB ENG 180): Targets people who have engaged with your website in the past 180 days.

  • Top of Funnel Video Views 30 (TOF 50% VID VIEWS 30): Targets people who have viewed at least 50% of your top-of-funnel video content in the past 30 days. (Note: Ensure that your top-of-funnel ads have been active for at least a week).


These baseline audiences form the foundation of our strategy, but you can become even more specific with aggressive retargeting for specialised campaigns. For detailed guidance on how to create an audience, please refer to the provided link.


Framework for Hospitality Venues' Paid Ads


Paid advertising for hospitality venues can be straightforward if structured correctly and paired with the right content. Let's break it down starting with the top of the funnel (TOF). At this stage, the campaign objectives should focus on reach, video views, or engagement. The ad creative should highlight your brand story and introduce who you are overall. Video content is particularly effective here, providing a broad yet engaging overview that piques interest and invites viewers to learn more.


Moving to the middle of the funnel (MOF), the strategy shifts to retargeting those who have become familiar with your brand. Here, the focus is on detailed content that showcases your unique selling points (USPs) through various formats like static images, carousels, and additional videos.


Budget Considerations

For ad budgets, we recommend allocating at least $1,000 per month to remain competitive. A strategic budget split of 60% (TOF), 30% (MOF), and 10% (bottom of funnel, BOF) helps maximise exposure without overspending in areas with naturally smaller audience sizes, like the MOF and BOF. This approach ensures that you're expanding your audience primarily at the TOF, where broader reach is crucial.


Copywriting Tips

It's important to maintain the unique voice of your brand in your ad copy. Avoid generic AI-generated text, which can dilute your brand's personality. Instead, aim for copy that is concise, engaging, and a bit playful or cheeky to capture attention. With platforms like Meta allowing multiple text options for ads, take advantage of this feature to test different messages and see what resonates best with your audience.


Keep your ad copy short and impactful, reserving longer text for your social media posts, emails, and website where users expect more detailed content. This approach helps keep your ads fresh and intriguing, stopping users in their tracks and encouraging interaction.


Lead Magnets for Effective Conversion

Utilising lead magnets can be a powerful strategy at the bottom of the funnel (BOF) to convert leads into tangible assets, whether you're looking to grow your email database or secure bookings for your function space. A lead magnet essentially offers something valuable in exchange for a customer's contact information and permission to send them relevant communications.


For example, if you're targeting function bookings, you might offer a downloadable function planning guide. Alternatively, to enhance your database, consider providing a free cocktail on a customer's first visit to your venue. The key is that the more valuable the lead magnet, the higher the quality of the leads it generates and the greater the likelihood of conversion.


Once a lead magnet is in place, it's beneficial to implement an automated email sequence. This begins by thanking new subscribers for their trust and delivering the promised incentive, such as the free cocktail. Following this, you should continue to engage them with a series of emails that provide additional free content and further introduce your business. This approach not only fosters initial engagement but also builds a relationship with potential customers, increasing the chance of converting them into loyal patrons.



Setting Up Your Ads

In this section, we'll explore the ad setups necessary for each stage of the funnel. For a detailed guide on how to set up Meta ads and create campaigns, please refer to the links provided below.


Top of Funnel (TOF) - Awareness (60% of Budget)

We recommend the following types of ad sets for your venue, each testing different audiences under duplicated sets within the campaign:


  • Reach: Ideal for enhancing brand awareness, this can be either a simple yet striking static creative or a short, well-branded video that is intriguing without revealing too much.

  • Video Views: Use this to begin telling your story. A POV-style video or a brand narrative that showcases the dining experience at your venue and highlights its various features works well here.

  • Engagement: Designed to get people talking about your venue, the creatives here can be similar to those used for video views. The goal is to spark curiosity and encourage interactions such as comments or shares.

  • Traffic Campaign (Optimised for Landing Page Views, Not Clicks): Use the same creatives as in engagement and video views to start directing traffic to your site.


Middle of Funnel (MOF) - Retargeting (30% of Budget)

At this stage, the focus is on directing people to your website or Instagram page to learn more about your venue, view the menu, and encourage bookings. All campaigns here aim for traffic but with specific creative approaches:


  • Traffic Campaign (Carousel): Feature a selection of 10 photos or small videos, each highlighting a different USP of your venue. Each creative should link to the corresponding page on your website.

  • Traffic Campaign (Video): Dive deeper into the details of your venue with videos showcasing specific dishes, your outdoor dining space, the fireplace, wine list, and cocktail creations.

  • Traffic Campaign (Promotional): Focus on current promotions, events, or specials with creatives that can be photos, designs, or videos. Links should direct to a special landing page on your website where users can take action, such as booking a table or requesting more information.


Bottom of Funnel (BOF) - Leads & Conversions (10% of Budget)

This stage is critical if you need to collect data, as tracking bookings from third-party platforms via Meta can be challenging:


  • Conversion Campaign (Lead Magnet): This setup might be more complex and depends on your email service provider. Options include a Facebook lead form linked to an email automation that delivers the promised assets, or directing traffic to a landing page with a form. If using the latter, ensure to set up a conversion action with your pixel to track when someone accesses the download page after filling out your form.


For further details on setting up these elements, please refer to the following link.


Test, Optimise & Scale!

Once your ads are operational, it's essential to give them at least two weeks to allow Meta's algorithms to optimise performance and reduce costs. Constantly turning ads on and off can disrupt this process, so it's important to set your budget, commit to it, and let Meta do the heavy lifting.


After this initial period, it's time to evaluate the effectiveness of your creatives and campaigns. Identify which ones are performing well and which aren't meeting expectations. For those that are underperforming, consider swapping out the creative elements or tweaking the copy to see if it improves results.


If you begin to see positive outcomes, like increased traffic to your venue, consider increasing your budget. This will help your ads reach even more of the right people, making your campaigns work harder and maximising your return on investment.


Conclusion


Congratulations on completing our comprehensive guide: "Our Agency's 5 Key Steps to Attract More Customers to Your Venue!" Through this journey, we've armed you with the tools and insights needed to transform how you attract and engage customers. Starting with a deep dive into your brand identity, we've explored the power of tailored content, from dynamic video production to impactful photography, and detailed the strategic setup and management of your social media and advertising campaigns.


As you move forward, remember that the steps outlined are not just a checklist but a continuous cycle of branding, engaging, and optimising. Each element we've discussed plays a crucial role in building a connection with your audience, turning casual visitors into loyal patrons, and enhancing your venue's reputation.


Implement these strategies with consistency and creativity, always aiming to align your actions with the unique voice and vision of your brand. Test different approaches, gather feedback, and adapt based on what resonates with your audience and what drives results.


By embracing these principles, you're not just promoting a venue; you're cultivating an experience and a community. So, take these insights, apply them with passion, and watch as your venue grows, evolves, and thrives in an ever-changing landscape. Here’s to your success and the exciting journey ahead!

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