Smart, adaptive marketing is vital to every restaurant business. It maintains your customer base and connects new consumers to your brand.

Most restaurateurs understand which of their traditional efforts are working. Sustaining or enhancing success calls for balancing them with strategic online marketing.

Develop your online campaign

The Association and online daily deal provider LivingSocial surveyed both consumers and restaurant operators in early 2012. What they discovered further highlights the importance of online restaurant marketing.

Online channels such as websites, email, social media and daily deals are satisfying customers’ needs and expectations.

According to the survey, 84 percent of restaurant operators consider restaurant-specific marketing emails to be effective in raising their revenue. They express confidence in websites (90 percent) and daily deals (75 percent) as well.

Customers view restaurants that use online marketing as trustworthy and upscale. They also perceive them as modern (67 percent emails, 65 percent websites, 59 percent daily deals) and popular (63 percent emails, 63 percent websites, 59 percent daily deals).

Include personalization with savings

Online marketing easily provides what consumers say they want most from restaurant promotions: personalized offers and savings.

Customers take notice when restaurants tailor online communications to them. The survey reveals that customers would go to or order from a restaurant if they received customized marketing messages that referred to past restaurant patronage (68 perecent), allowed them to make reservations (66 percent) and identified them by name (64 percent).

Collect, manage and organize any information your customers are willing to share and use it to reinforce your brand’s connection with them. Customize your online messages to address their likes, locations and lifestyles.

Savings are the most common way of customizing online marketing. In the survey, 95 percent of operators perceive savings to be an effective online marketing tool. Likewise, 87 percent of consumers say they would go to or order from a restaurant if provided with a savings offer.

Deliver daily deals

Daily deals allow restaurateurs to combine savings with frequent online marketing. Most consumers like them, too.

Nearly three-fourths of adults (73 percent) report that restaurants emailed them through a daily deal provider. The same number say an e-mail from a daily deal provider would motivate them to consider going to a restaurant.

Similarly, 87 percent of women and 81 percent of men are likely to welcome customized savings or deals based on what they like to eat at a particular restaurant.

On the restaurant side, 77 percent of table- and quick-service operators are likely to predict that emailing through a daily deals provider would be very or somewhat effective in attracting new customers.

Seventy-five percent of restaurant operators consider daily deals to be effective in increasing revenue. Forty percent plan to work with a daily deal provider in the next year.

By developing a strong online campaign customized with savings and preferences, restaurateurs can create more sales among satisfied customers – and that’s the best deal of all.