Word-of-mouth marketing, or WOM as we like to call it, is one of the most effective ways to promote a restaurant. It’s why we place so much importance on social media and online reviews. When word-of-mouth is working effectively, it can spread like wildfire.

We’re far more inclined to trust our friends and family over faceless brands. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers will trust these recommendations over advertising.

“Hey Jim, you should check that new restaurant out. Went there last weekend. The sushi is great!” Unless you hate sushi or Jim happens to be the black sheep of the family, you’re probably going to think that’s a pretty good idea! That’s how simple personal recommendations can be in their effectiveness.

Word-of-mouth marketing is something we talk a lot about around here. It’s important. And as we go through this unprecedented pandemic, I believe word-of-mouth has become even more important than ever, for every restaurant around.

Here’s a key reason WOM is so important. It’s affordable. Word-of-mouth marketing, when executed correctly, can yield big results. Don’t take my word for it though. A 10% increase in word-of-mouth, whether online or off, can lead to a 0.2 to 1.5% sales increase, according to research from MarketShare/Keller Fay Group.

As anyone in the restaurant industry knows, keeping costs down is of paramount importance right now. But at the same time, you can’t afford to stop marketing. Channeling your marketing efforts toward WOM can be exactly what your restaurant needs to stay afloat.

There’s another factor at play when it comes to word-of-mouth and the pandemic. It demonstrates your restaurant’s safety measures. As your restaurant moves through the pandemic, you want people to know that you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your customers. If a customer has a great experience at your restaurant, they’re going to tell their friends. (On the other hand, they’ll do the same thing if they have a negative experience.)

As you might know, WOM isn’t limited to personal recommendations. Not at all. According to BrightLocal, 76% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as those valued recommendations from friends and family. And review platforms are very much worth thinking about during the pandemic. As reported by The Verge, Yelp is allowing restaurants to list the safety measures they are taking.

Even if you had a comfortable review presence prior to the pandemic, fostering and promoting good reviews is an ongoing process. You need to keep reading your reviews, responding to them, and ensuring that they’re helping your restaurant succeed – not hurting it. Fortunately, diners may be more likely to leave positive reviews during the pandemic; they know how restaurants are struggling. But it’s up to you to make sure that happens.

Finally, I believe WOM is vital for local restaurants. According to a survey from the National Restaurant Association, nearly nine out of every ten adults in the U.S. consider restaurants to be important parts of their community and are concerned they won’t be able to stay open because of the pandemic. Whether your restaurant has multiple locations or several, appealing to the community will help keep its doors open for years to come.

Generate WOM With CoGoBuzz

Ready to start promoting word-of-mouth automatically? Get started with CoGoBuzz, our state-of-the-art digital marketing service. Leveraging advanced WiFi, SMS, and Email solutions, we’ll promote your restaurant both in-store and out, setting you up with more social media followers, loyalty members, and repeat customers.

Discover your core demographics with your new in-store HotSpot. We’ll hook you up with fully developed customer profiles for every single customer that connects to your WiFi, letting you examine their Likes, Interests, and more. Promoting word-of-mouth for your restaurant becomes that much easier when you’re that much more in tune with your audience.

Whether you’re one of our current customers, or you’re interested in joining the CoGoBuzz family, we’re committed to helping businesses affected by COVID-19.

For current customers, we’re providing free text message service, allowing you to send a link to order online, purchase gift cards, and/or notify customers of new hours.

For new customers, we’re offering our hardware at cost, donating our services, time, and covering shipping costs. Prepare for the future with CoGoWiFi Free to collect your customers’ phone numbers. There are no contracts or monthly fees, and we offer unlimited customer data storage.

Message from our CEO

“From pricing to packaging, our mission has always been to provide customers with unbeatable value. That’s why, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeking to provide the most aggressive offers to help suffering restaurants survive. We believe that half of small restaurants will fail in the year after operations return to normal. The restaurants that survive and thrive will be the ones that win loyalty and focus on bringing customers back over the following year.”

– Steve Gould, CEO

Click here for more details on how we’re handling the crisis.

Has your restaurant tried to encourage word-of-mouth during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments.