You already know that marketing is the most important ingredient in finding and retaining customers. But did you know just how important digital marketing is to modern restaurant success?
- 90 percent of guests research a restaurant before dining — more than any other business type.
- 57 percent of those guests viewed restaurant websites before selecting where to dine.
- 33 percent view other guests’ reviews prior to dining.
If you feel like your digital presence is lacking, have no fear. We have a simple six-step plan that will help improve your restaurant marketing and make hungry diners fall in love.
1. Optimize Your Website
Have you visited your website in the past two weeks? Don’t worry—this is a judgment-free zone. If your website is looking less than stellar, there are a few quick ways you can improve what you already have:
- Make it mobile-friendly: In 2018, 52 percent of all worldwide online traffic was generated through mobile phones, up from 50 percent in the previous year. You’ll want to make sure that your website is easy to navigate on a cell phone.
- Update your menu: There’s a pretty good chance that your customers are visiting your website to see your menu. Nothing is worse than not being able to see what incredible menu items await customers when they visit your restaurant.
- Add online ordering: According to the National Restaurant Association, three in five U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout at least once a week. If you don’t already offer online ordering to your customers, you have an opportunity to tap into one of the fastest-growing areas of the industry.
2. Invest in SEO — Search Engine Optimization
Even the prettiest websites in the world won’t get traffic without help from search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is what helps validate your business on the internet, which can help drive more people into your doors.
One of the most important (and easy) ways to give your SEO a boost is to optimize your Google Business, Yelp Business, and Facebook Business profiles. By verifying ownership and making sure your business’ name, address, and phone number are consistent, you will give your business some credit on the internet.
Want some more tips on how to improve SEO for your restaurant’s website? Read up on why it’s an important part of any effective digital marketing strategy.
3. Drive Business via Email Marketing
A strong email list is one of the most precious pieces of an effective marketing strategy. Setting up campaigns that give a sneak peek into your next seasonal menu or a behind-the-scenes look at your restaurant, highlight special events, or offer coupons or discounts is a great way to nurture your loyal customers.
4. Solicit & Monitor Positive Reviews
While some restaurant owners believe that ignorance is bliss when it comes to customer reviews, they are critical to the success of a business.
- 92% of consumers read reviews
- 77% prefer peer reviews versus critic reviews.
- 33% would never eat a restaurant with less than four stars.
The numbers don’t lie. The only way to get your customers to leave reviews (if they aren’t already) is to simply ask! Don’t forget to follow up and respond to reviews—both good and bad—to maintain good relationships and build better ones for the future.
5. Step Up Your Social Media Game
When it comes to getting found online, rising in search engine rankings and making sure you have plenty of great reviews is only half of the battle. With 68 percent of adults using Facebook and 35 percent using Google regularly, having a strong social media marketing strategy is key to digitally validating your business.
How to Scale Your Social Media in 2020
We narrowed down the five characteries your restaurant social media profiles must possess to get noticed on social media:
- Searchability It’s important that your restaurant is recognizable and easy to find on Instagram and Facebook. Choose a username that is direct and includes relevant keywords in your profile. Once you get to posting, be sure to use relevant hashtags so curious guests will find you.
- Shareability Every photo you share on social media has the potential to be reshared to hundreds of millions of users. Keep this in mind when you post: Make sure your images are well-composed and your captions are concise.
- InteractivityAs with your in-house guest engagement, it’s important to remember that social media is just another way to interact with your guests. Try asking your customers for cocktail name ideas or ask them to tell you what their favorite dish is at your restaurant. Can’t decide between two dishes for your new menu? Ask your followers in a poll.
- Desirability Above and beyond anything else, it’s important to always make food photos desirable. The best way to make your customers want to head to your restaurant for dinner after work? Make sure everything is on-brand. As you’re ramping up your social media strategy, find the Instagram filter you like best and use it for every photo. This will ensure that your followers will know which photos are unmistakably yours when they’re scrolling through their feeds.
- Exclusivity Just as you want to interact with your guests on social media, you also want to build a sense of exclusivity for those loyal followers who promote you regularly. How can you do that? Use Facebook and Instagram as a way to share promotions, coupons, contests, and secret menu items with your fans.
(@eatatblackies on Instagram)
When it comes to digital marketing, consistency is key.
Whether or not you’re online, your customers are. Maintaining the same vision throughout your digital presence is crucial to becoming an iconic brand in diners’ minds. Digital marketing is entirely visual and taking the time to create an online identity will easily set you apart from the competition. Doing it alone is possible but it’s not easy. That’s why digital marketing services are available to help you achieve the online presence your restaurant needs.