Is your business making an impact online? Does your online restaurant marketing plan take into account how much people are on their mobile phones? If not, you’re missing out.
The rise in new technologies means businesses can no longer just worry about ambience, food, traditional ads and in-real-life word of mouth, they also need to consider how they present themselves and how they’re perceived online. That means developing online restaurant marketing strategies because an establishment’s digital footprint can be just as important as its in-person appeal. In fact: “Over half (53 percent) of 18- to 34-year-olds report that online reviews factor into their dining decisions, as do 47 percent of frequent full-service customers.”
It’s clear even the most homespun restaurant phenomenons have to be aware of the impression they are giving online, so how do you achieve a stellar digital presence? Here are five areas of online restaurant marketing you have to consider…
One: Website Content
Two: Mobile Optimization
“Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world.” So don’t lose potential business because your website isn’t made for mobile users! When considering your online restaurant marketing strategies, take into account the fact that many of your patrons or potential patrons are now using their phones to find locations, make reservations and read reviews. In order to hook them, make pertinent information easily accessible and simplify the process of securing a table.
And if you’ve got mobile covered, consider taking it up a notch. Food is becoming more accessible by phone by the minute. One of the 5 hottest e-commerce startups is Fooji, a delivery service that serves orders based on tweets or texts with emojis in the message. Can you employ a similar service at your restaurant? It could give you a leg up on the competition.
Three: Blogging and SEO
“Think of it this way: every time you write a new blog post, it’s one more opportunity for your business to get found online. Why? Because every new blog post you write is one more indexed page on your site — one more page for Google to identify and surface to people who are looking for the stuff you have to offer. Just having your homepage, menu, and location page aren’t enough anymore.” – NextRestaurants.com
Does blogging every day sound like too much? Make a goal to publish once a week. 52 weeks in a year means 52 more pages with your website’s name. Consider the content you are fit and capable of producing that would be interesting and valuable to a reader. Be sure to optimize and plan posts to be SEO-friendly. Use a keyword planning tool to target appropriate keywords that will increase your website traffic.
Four: Social Media
Treat your social channels like news sources. Customers want to see available specials, pictures from others enjoying meals, positive reviews and more. Share your specials or even better, post a picture of them. Interact with others to increase attention on your own channels. If a #hashtag is trending, brainstorm a creative way to relate it back to your business.
Here’s a good example of in-the-moment marketing one DC restaurant and bar deployed during DC’s snowmageddon:
— Pop’s SeaBar (@PopsSeaBar) January 21, 2016
Five: Reputation Management
A huge amount of reviews hit the web every day thanks to the success of Yelp, FourSquare, Trip Advisor and other social review platforms. Add in those tweeting, Facebooking, etc. about their experience with restaurants and the number of reviews by customers can be overwhelming. As a company, treat each customer opinion with respect and interact with unsatisfied guests to your restaurant directly on social review platforms. Set up monitoring on a social media tool like Hootsuite to see what people are saying about you. You should respond directly to both positive and negative comments (within reason, don’t engage trolls). This will let not only the reviewer but also the general public know that you plan to address the issue. Don’t hide from negative reviews, address them head on. Making adjustments based on customers’ experiences can improve your restaurant AND show your clientele that you care.
Not sure where to start with online restaurant marketing? Let us know! We can help you create effective strategies and processes. Cheers!