March Break is a welcomed reprieve for students, parents and teachers. As you begin to brainstorm ways to boost traffic and increase your revenue during March Break, we wanted to share our ideas and tactics on how to attract attention from these three key groups.
Entice local educators and school administrative staff by building specific programs tailored to them. Often, March Break marketing is geared toward students and families, but demonstrating your appreciation for teachers and school staff through specific, targeted offers can enrich your March Break promotional efforts and expand your reach. Below are some A+ ideas worth exploring:
- For the duration of March Break, offer educators and school support staff a discount or coupon. Use in-store signage, social media and newspaper ads to promote this limited time offer.
- Consider hosting a dinner or cocktail party and personally invite local school teachers and administrative staff to enjoy an evening of student-free fun and mingling.
- Run a social media contest, asking followers to nominate a local teacher for a free dinner at your establishment.
- Run Facebook advertisements targeted at educators within your geographic area, using strategic language that speaks directly to them.
To entice secondary and post-secondary students looking for some March Break fun, balance discounts with truly unique experiences not offered by your competition. This is the winning combination for cash-strapped students focused on socializing with their peers.
- Partner with local businesses (e.g., bowling alley, trampoline park, indoor skydiving, etc.) to create a limited time March Break package deal that includes a fun activity and a great meal at your restaurant for one discounted rate.
- Create socially shareable moments for these digital natives by having a March Break Kick-off Party. Details like a menu featuring elevated versions of classic childhood school lunches and an on-theme playlist including songs like Rock ‘N’ Roll High School by The Ramones will situate your operation as the hot spot to celebrate this break from classes.
- Undertake new and exciting social media promotional tactics that rewards past customers. Cruise the geo-tag of your restaurant on Instagram and randomly select a handful of students to enjoy a free or discounted meal during March Break.
- Consider an out-of-the-box promotion like inviting students who have scored 85% or higher on a recent assignment to enjoy a free dessert or appetizer while March Break is on. Use targeted social media advertising, social media posts and e-blasts to promote this initiative. Don’t forget to ask students to bring their graded assignment in as proof!
For parents lucky enough to have time away from work to spend with their elementary and secondary school aged children over March Break, it can feel daunting searching for ways to keep children busy and happy while school is out. Drive visits with unique promotions and offerings that are interactive and perfectly suited to the entire family.
- Take a page from Willy Wonka’s notebook with a Golden Ticket campaign to promote your restaurant. This is in an interesting way to capture the imagination and attention of parents and children simultaneously. Execute it by sending direct mailers to families within your geographic area and include a “Golden Ticket” (for dinner and dessert for four people – or whatever fits your budget!) in one of the mail-outs. Hype up this campaign via social media efforts and media coverage to boost its visibility among locals.
- Turn a meal out into a special and memorable DIY occasion with an interactive event that allows family members to build and name their own flatbreads, burgers or sandwiches. Showcase patrons’ creations on your social media channels and consider choosing one winning entry to become a mainstay on your regular menu.
- For parents with particularly young children, explore ways you can help them relax and enjoy March Break as well, while still making it a family affair. One example to consider: invite a magician to wow the kids while parents watch on from the sidelines with a snack and beverage.
- Enhance your bond with your patrons with fun in-store promotions and activities that translate well to social media. Have a March Break Scrapbook and take Polaroids of families who come in over March Break. Ask them to sign a message in the book, and have your hostess attach paste image beside it. This is an amazing way to capture more reviews of your restaurant that you can take pictures of and share on your social media pages. It also demonstrates your creativity in celebrating special occasions that bring families together!
By spreading your marketing efforts and dollars between each of these three key segments of your audience over March Break, you will enjoy greater message penetration and ultimately, greater revenue. March Break is all about having fun and trying new things. With a little planning, your restaurant can effectively target and attract new patrons and start off Spring with a bang!