One of the hardest sectors to break into, let alone succeed in, is the restaurant industry, so the saying goes. Due to the fact that over half of small businesses fail during the first five years, small business entrepreneurs already have it tough. How can you tilt the odds in your favour if the restaurant industry is even more harsh?
Understanding how to sell to your audience is essential for every business to succeed. Important issues like “How will my community know I exist?” and “How can I draw customers to my restaurant?” must be addressed.
Digital marketing for restaurants holds the solutions. While conventional methods of advertising like giving out brochures, direct mail campaigns, and radio ads still have some relevance, the world has mostly shifted to digital. You might as well stop doing business if you don’t have an online presence.
1. Perfect Your Website
First off, your storefront is no longer the public face of your business, despite the fact that you run a neighbourhood eatery that is anything but digital. 88 percent of consumers who conduct online product or service research base their evaluation of a company’s legitimacy mostly on its website. They are likely to quit your website to discover one they prefer if it is unappealing if it is the website for your restaurant.
Your website must be expert-looking, useful, and easy to use. For items like menus, operating times, and your address, prospective clients need to be able to easily explore your website. Additionally, keep in mind that most people use their smartphone to conduct research of this nature, whether they are at home, in the car, at work, or elsewhere; therefore, your website must be mobile-friendly.
Last but not least, spend some time and money having professional photos taken of your restaurant’s interior, the dishes you serve, and your personnel. Both the cuisine and your personnel will appear more enticing and polished. Even before they come, it creates a feeling of intimacy with your restaurant for potential consumers.
2. Focus on Local SEO
Search engine optimization is one of the most crucial aspects of digital restaurant marketing. When it comes to driving organic traffic to your website and ultimately drawing visitors into your establishment, SEO is crucial. How soon people find you when they type in “Italian (or whatever) restaurants near me” will depend on your SEO ranking.
- You need to make sure that your website’s SEO establishes you as a local hotspot, whether visitors are locals or tourists. By doing the following, you can improve your SEO:
- Make a blog for your website with interesting and pertinent information.
- Make certain that local keywords and other SEO coding are used on every page of your website (metadata embedded in pictures, videos, headings, etc.)
- Use both external and internal (to other pages on your website) links (to affiliate websites, sources of data, etc.)
- Sign up for a Google My Business account.
- Make sure your name, phone number, and address are prominently displayed and simple to discover.
As you can see, mastering SEO might be challenging if you’re a beginner. If you need help, look into furthering your knowledge of SEO or hire an expert.
3. Gain Followers on Social Media
It’s nice to have a website with tonnes of SEO coding (and necessary). There are some more proactive ways to promote your website as well, though. Do you realise that 70% of adult Americans use Facebook? This indicates that a single location holds 70% of your prospective clients.
Without a social media strategy, restaurant digital marketing is pointless. Social media not only allows you to build a following of consumers who are drawn to your restaurant and are likely to return, but it also offers useful networking chances. The best aspect is that there are many options available for both free and paid advertising campaigns.
By holding contests or raffles with free food, gift cards, or even cash rewards as prizes for the winners, for instance, you can advertise on social media without spending any money. The secret is to encourage users to like, comment on, and share your posts in order to increase your audience through the competition. The competition will then be made known to their followers, who will then likely start following your profile and enter the contest on your behalf.
As an alternative, you might consider sponsored social media marketing, which enables you to pick your target demographic and how much you want to allocate to your campaign each day (based on age, gender, location, and more). Additionally, this has the benefit of providing analytical data that details the effectiveness and performance of your adverts. To assist you improve your ads, you’ll be able to observe how each one performed in terms of engagement (link clicks, likes, followers, shares, and comments).
4. Use Influencer Marketing
Consider influencer marketing if you lack a sizable following or want to reach a wider audience. Influencers on social media are people who have developed credibility within particular businesses or demographics and, as a result, frequently have hundreds or even millions of followers.
It might not be a terrible idea to get in touch with any local food-related influencers and extend a complimentary invitation to dine at your establishment. You may be able to negotiate an influencer marketing agreement if they enjoy your cuisine. You can offer them a price or a set number of free meals in exchange for them writing a review of your business.
5. Implement Email Marketing
Email marketing is a further efficient digital marketing technique for restaurants. You must first compile a list of people who have subscribed to receive your emails. Offering discounts to existing customers who subscribe via social media, your website, affiliate websites, and landing page ads can help you gain subscribers.
You must have a set of automatic emails that are sent out once or twice a week when a consumer subscribes. These emails ought to be welcoming, show your subscribers how much you appreciate them, and subtly encourage them to visit your restaurant again. To prevent individuals from unsubscribing, they must also provide beneficial content (discounts, promotions).
Considering that it relies on promoting to customers who have already expressed interest in your restaurant or dined there, email marketing has emerged as a major contender.
6. Take Advantage of Online Reviews
Next, keep in mind that most individuals require some confidence before spending in goods or services, including dining out. One of the things people check for when researching restaurants online is what other customers have to say. You must benefit from internet reviews and the trust that customers have in them.
Encourage each paying customer to leave a review on Google, your website, or a social media profile to get things started. Offer a respectable discount on their subsequent meal once they’ve finished the review because most individuals need to be motivated. Even if giving customers the potential to win ‘x’ amount of dollars can be beneficial, most people won’t take the time to evaluate your restaurant for the sake of a remote chance to win; instead, give them a guarantee.
7. Network With Other Local Businesses
Another effective restaurant digital marketing tactic makes use of nearby small business owners. Begin establishing affiliate ties with related companies (but not other restaurants). You can collaborate by writing guest posts on each other’s sites, endorsing each other’s products, and more.
For instance, speak with a nearby hotel to ask if they will recommend your restaurant to other guests and travellers. They have two options for doing this: in person and online. Offer special rates to any clients that contact you via the hotel.
As an alternative, you can cooperate with other small businesses to provide discounts for meals consumed while conducting business, such as salespeople meeting with current or future clients, team luncheons, after-work get-togethers, etc. The secret is to give other companies who choose to affiliate with you value. In return, you get more clients and more clout in your neighbourhood.
8. Keep Online Engagement High
Last but not least, it’s critical to realise that consistency is key in restaurant digital marketing. You must make an effort to ensure that your neighbourhood remembers your name when it’s time to grab a meal. An annual advertising campaign is insufficient.
To keep customers coming back to your restaurant often, though, you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune. It’s the little things, like often updating your website, providing fresh content on social media several times every week, and promoting new menu items. But keep in mind that you need to engage the community by promoting new deals online, holding competitions, and giving back.