Alamin Ahmed is the owner of AlaminWeb, a company focused on providing products and Indian Restaurant Marketing & PR services to an extremely niche market. Alamin’s target market is Indian restaurants and takeaways that strive to be the very best in one of the most competitive sectors. Alamin himself gained huge experience growing up and working in his family’s restaurant business. Embarking on a career in I.T and with a stint running his own property management business, he has the perfect skill set to offer a specialised service to Indian food establishments.
Falling into the business quite by accident, when helping a family friend set up a website for his takeaway business, Alamin realised at that point there was a gap in the market for a service in Indian Restaurant Marketing & PR. Initially focused on providing websites with online ordering facilities, he listened to his clients need and soon realised that there was a huge service gap for these businesses. They wanted to embrace modern technology and marketing & PR but did not have the time, skills and understanding to do so.
Alamin set about testing his skills, initially helping his friends takeaway Masala Bay in Herne Bay. Within 6 months, from being an unknown takeaway, the business became the winner of “Best Takeaway in South East England” at the English Curry Awards 2013, 2014 & 2015 and reaching the finals of the “British Curry Awards”. Success soon followed with his client K2 Indian Takeaway winning title for “Takeaway of the Year in London” Word soon spread and now Alamin works with a handful of award winning and aspiring clients on a regular basis, which have come to him via word of mouth recommendation.
Here, Alamin shares his top 10 Indian Restaurant Marketing & PR tips for restaurants and takeaways, in order to encourage them to be the best they can be.
Top 10 Indian Restaurant Marketing & PR tips
1. Have a functional website
More and more customers search for places to eat and order food online. If you are not online, you are literally waving goodbye to those customers. Invest in a website that not only looks good but is informative and functional. Implement reservation facilities and online ordering. Be sure your site has all the key information about your business and also highlight why you are different from your competitors. This could be in the form of special nights, discounts, décor, quality of product, testimonials, etc. If you are unable to effectively sell your business via creative copy, engage a copywriter to do this on your behalf. Ensure your content is well written and contains no spelling or grammatical errors.
2. Engage in local Search Engine Optimisation practices (SEO)
Sounds scary, but simply it is not good enough just to be on the Internet. You also need to be found in search engines ahead of the competition. Nobody goes past the first couple of pages of a web engine search. Working alongside your website designer, implement a online marketing strategy that will ensure you are top in your area. Focus on keywords on your website, linking to relevant websites and ensuring new and fresh content on your site. This can take the form of blogs, and company news.
3. Grow your database
If you don’t have one, then you definitely should! Implement a strategy to collate your customers’ key data: Name, Email and Mobile number. This can then be used to directly market to you target clientele. In an instant you can send out email campaigns and offer promotions by text messaging to your loyal customers, and using the right software you can also monitor results in order to tweak campaigns to improve their effectiveness.
4. Get a social media presence
If you’re running a local business, you absolutely have to get social. Your customers are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a host of other sites. To get your message across, you need to be where your customers are looking. Strengthen your word of mouth marketing with an interesting, interactive social media presence including providing incentives for customers to follow and interact with you. This gives you the ability to engage your customers 365 days a year, represent your brand and enlist customers to share their stories. This type of marketing is priceless.
5. Manage your online reputation
Review sites have become an integral part of a business’s reputation, and negative reviews have the potential to harm your business. Too many negative TripAdvisor reviews, whether true or not, will turn business away. Asking happy customers to write you a review, as well as responding personally to any negative feedback, is the best way to maintain a positive online reputation. You should never respond in anger, even if the complaint is unfair.
6. Don’t forget the basics
No matter what you do in terms of Marketing & PR, it is imperative you focus on your product and service. Strive to provide the best food and customer service possible. Aim to have the best hygiene record and create an atmosphere and experience in your business that your customers want to return to and recommend.
7. Give back to the community
Loyalty breeds loyalty. Engage in your community, taking part in local events and functions. Most importantly give back. This can be in the form of sponsoring local events and teams, providing recipes and articles for the local paper or offering discounts and vouchers to charities and school events. The more you do, the more goodwill and loyalty you will attract, which will bring you more business in the long run.
8. Create and implement a customer loyalty program.
Send out e-newsletters to those who sign up to be in the program, highlighting exclusive deals. Promote your loyalty program offline and online. Not only will returning businesses feel like they belong to something special, they’re likely to tell their friends, which could net you even more business.
9. Run contests.
This is a great way to reward social media fans, grow your fan base, bring in more customers, and promote loyalty. Give customers a chance to win a great prize and you’ll give them another reason to come back again. It also gets your business in front of even more potential customers.
10. Stay current.
Keep yourself up to date on current statistics, trends, facts and figures that can help you analyse your restaurant marketing plan. Should you make any tweaks to how you market your restaurant? Should you position your restaurant differently? What are you doing right? And wrong?
Once you have all of the above in place, you have the building blocks that can position you at the top of the tree. Awards can be amazing for businesses. Two of the biggest are the British Curry Awards and English Curry Awards, where simply being nominated can boost your profile and turnover as customers flock to eat at your famous restaurant.
Implement a strategy that includes giving nomination forms to your customers. Have a pop up box on your website with a direct link to the nomination page, ask for nominations via social media, Email and Text marketing campaigns.
The main thing is : Never be too shy to ask. If you’re customers don’t know you want to win, then why will they nominate you?
Ensuring that you implement all of the above Indian Restaurant Marketing tips will give you a good start in marketing your business, so put your faith in it, and you won’t go wrong.