On May 7, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) released a new study that indicated that many restaurants are using online and email marketing to better distribute personalized offers to their customers. Funded with a research grant provided by social coupon provider LivingSocial, the study analyzed the perception of consumers who respond to this form of marketing.

Overall, the NRA study found that restaurants that use online email marketing are generally viewed as modern. Sixty-seven percent of consumers who reported receiving email marketing messages viewed the company as modern, while 63 percent said they thought of this business as popular.

Companies that used online social coupon websites to spread the word about their business and those that advertise on a website were also viewed as modern and popular by a majority of consumers.

"Finding the right marketing mix is crucial to success in the restaurant industry," James Balda, the chief marketing and communications officer at the NRA, said in a statement. "Our new research outlines the challenges and opportunities of both offline and online marketing to help restaurant operators find the 'sweet spot' for promotions by identifying what consumers respond to and how various messaging vehicles are perceived."

Additionally, roughly 87 percent of the study respondents said they would be likely to order or visit a restaurant if provided a savings offer. However, it remains up to restaurants to find the most creative way to get the word out about these deals.

Restaurants in the greater Midwest that want to better develop their brand and attract more consumers may benefit by pursuing an online marketing agency to create new ways to attract clientele. With targeted online video advertising, for example, small restaurants can use their old advertisements to power a creative, new marketing approach that combines different Web marketing approaches.