Digital Marketing Strategies for Restaurants 繁體中
Is your restaurant currently plugged in? Today, an online digital marketing strategy is a must, no matter what size your establishment is! This article covers five major areas of digital marketing where your restaurant can gain an edge:
- RESPONSIVE WEBSITE DESIGN
- SEARCH ENGINE PLACEMENT
- LISTINGS & ONLINE REVIEWS
- SOCIAL MEDIA & EMAIL MARKETING
- REFERRALS & COLLABORATION
Let’s take a closer look at each component of a comprehensive digital strategy for your restaurant. The first thing to mention is your digital storefront, your website. This is the most important piece of your online strategy. It is the hub and the central point for information for your patrons.
1. WEBSITE DESIGN
Customers first seek out a restaurant website for basic information – your *menu, prices, location, parking, hours of operation, phone number, and reservations. Your website will impact their decision to dine at your facility. Vivid images of food, happy patrons, the overall ambiance, and upcoming events is important, as well as offering your menu, an online ordering or reservation feature. Having an up to date calendar of events is important as well. Websites must be current, updated, and fresh, showcasing relevant information. A frequently updated website also improves your search engine rankings. Other things to consider would be the ability to offer gift cards or gift certificates online.
*A note on your restaurant menu: you should have your menu loaded on a page or pages within your website and not just have it Download a PDF version. Remember that more than half of your website visitors will be viewing from a mobile device, and having your menu download to their phone as a PDF is cumbersome any may turn potential patrons away.
It’s important to have high quality pictures on your site, because anything less could make food look unappetizing or if little light, it could create a poor sense of environment. Be sure to crop and resize images to an appropriate size to prevent a poor user experience due to long load times. Your site should have images of signature meals, including appetizers, entrees, beverages and desserts. Photo’s of friendly wait staff, group shots, facility and entertainment shots should be featured as well. If you plan to use a patron’s photo on your website, it is also recommended that you get their written permission. Be careful of patrons under the age of 18 in your marketing without parental written consent.
WHY DO YOU NEED A MOBILE-OPTIMIZED WEBSITE?
According to Nielsen, almost half of US mobile subscribers own smartphones. But surfing the web on a smartphone can be tricky. Traditional websites have proven less effective when accessed through mobile phones, because of issues with navigation, clicking links, small text, long image load times, and hard to find content that is important for the mobile user. Restaurants that focus on mobile optimization see great results. People who are on a mobile device are looking for local results, creating a target market for hungry prospective patrons. In fact, according to Google’s “Our Mobile Planet” research, 94% of people use smartphones to search local businesses.
2. SEARCH ENGINE PLACEMENT
Your restaurant can appear in search engine results in the following areas: Paid advertisements (Search Engine Marketing- SEM), Maps Results, Listing Sites, Organic Placement (Search Engine Optimization- SEO) for food category, and geography.
Your social media presence and posts, email campaigns and blog articles, and content on your website, raises your ranking on search engine placement. Each supports the other, creating a synergistic and symbiotic marketing relationship. Social, Local, and Mobile results are most important. Using broad and targeted keywords can help your potential patrons find you first. The use of “Greek” “restaurant” and “Boston” on your site is necessary, but incorporating other similar keywords and common searchable phrases, you will improve your ranking. While keywords in your meta tags, aren’t as necessary as they once were, your site’s Page Titles and Page Descriptions, Mobile-friendliness, and Page Content are most important.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Paid advertising on search engines is a great way to enhance your restaurant’s positioning on sites like Google. In the ad set-up, you can also define your mobile audience as well. SEM plays an important role in a comprehensive digital strategy.
3. LISTINGS AND ONLINE REVIEWS
Your Online Reputation is a living organism and takes a life of it’s own. There are thousands of listing sites. Check your online listings! Constant Contact surveyed 350 businesses, and 50% came across inaccurate listings while 49% never checked their listings. From directory sites that have basic contact information and website links to sites that list your menu and reviews, these sites play an important role in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for a restaraunt. Sites like Yelp!, Zagat, Open Table, Urban Spoon, and even YP.com (the online Yellow Pages)
Listings: What information is on these sites?
Reviews: What is being said?
Keeping up with this data and engaging with this content can be time-consuming; however, perception is reality, and nowhere is that more evident than online. Stay on top of it!
4. SOCIAL MEDIA AND EMAIL MARKETING
Customer loyalty is all about engagement and interaction. Where are you found on Social Media: What networks are you on? Who is representing your brand? What’s being said? Keep the conversations going! Provide promotions to boost their word-of-mouth advertising.
Use of photo’s and video catch attention in this scrolling world. If your promotion is text-only, chances are it won’t be seen. Keep your posts fresh and boost those posts to reach a larger market. Facebook ads and Facebook offers are a great way to get a great ROI on paid ads, because of the targeted and social nature of restaurants.
As for Email Marketing, many think it is dead. However, promoting specials and events, offering loyalty rewards, staying in touch, has a high return for restarurants, because of the engagement factor. Do you currently have an email newsletter? Refrain from using email marketing solely for promotional campaigns, but rather, continue the discussion and conversations that are related to your patrons, your venue, your staff, and your community. Email marketing is relatively inexpensive, but you must put strategy and thought in order to obtain as many emails as possible. Email marketing can add to branding and visibility, keeping your restaurant top of mind.
“Use the tried and true methods of email address development: business card fishbowl promotions, forms and surveys with dinner checks, or simply request email addresses when customers purchase gift cards. Be transparent about why you want their email addresses – most people are aware of why you are asking and how it works, but no one wants to be tricked into something. If asked, explain that you want to provide them news, events, and occasionally a few deals, Write, send, test and retest. Develop great subject lines in your email program (“Kids Eat Free” works a lot better than “November Promotion”), trying different approaches and keep track of how many people actually open your e-mails. This feedback can only help your program improve over time.” Restaurant.com’s TheRestaurantsGuideToDigitalMarketing
5. REFERRALS & COLLABORATION
Increase foot traffic from partnerships and affiliations, using local strategic alliances, or paid for performance, affiliate marketing models is a great way to enhance exposure and visibility for a minimal cost. Typically there isn’t an upfront cost, but rather a transactional rate for the advertisement. Sites like Restaurant.com, Groupon, GrubHub, or a new affiliate model hitting the Internet called ShopLocal. Each is geared towards driving awareness and new patrons into your location. The boost in sales and visibility is well-worth the small percentage you may pay.
Adding other streams of revenue can be important, and allows you to collaborate with other businesses, artists, and musicians to capture their followers and fans as well. Think of the following potential collaborations or add-on services in your local market: Music, Art, Functions, Catering, Business Associations, and other Groups.
When it comes to using digital marketing for your restaurant, it should be a well-thought out, comprehensive strategy. Everything should be integrated, including educating your staff. Promotions should be visible on your websites, blogs, emails, social media, and printed on signage. Your staff should also be an integral part of the promotion as well! Pay attention to any concerns or issues with promotion and make necessary adjustments based on customer and staff feedback.
While patrons can’t dine at your website, eat your delicious food online, digital strategies are a must, because it is where people are researching, socializing, and making decisions. If you’d like a FREE CONSULTATION, we’d love to learn more about your restaurant and strategize together how to improve visibility or fill-in any gaps in your marketing strategy. Contact us to arrange a 10-15 consultation and assessment.by