Some might say that online marketing for restaurants is far easier than it is for other industries, because as a restaurant owner, you have food on your side. And we not only need food for our most basic survival, but we also associate good things with it, and most of all, our tastebuds are strong motivators!
Food is full of emotion, and it’s emotion that sells, not logic.
Tap into that, and you’ll be able to create a marketing strategy that pays dividends for your restaurant. Here are 6 tips to getting more customers via online channels.
1. Ask for Reviews
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an essential online marketing tool for restaurants, because it will bring more quality visitors to your website, and if your website marketing efforts are good, that should translate into another customer coming through your door for a meal.
But to get more people to your site, you have to get more attention, and the best way to do that online is by implementing SEO techniques. One of those techniques, and a specifically powerful one for restaurants, is to get good reviews via your Google My Business page, although you should list your restaurant on as many review sites as possible.
Not only are reviews good for SEO, but 84% of people trust them more than any other form of advertising.
The hard part is getting people to submit a review, so you need to make it easy for them to do so. Think of creative ways to get more patrons to leave feedback, and make sure you handle – and never ignore – negative online reviews.
2. Start Blogging
Content is what brings more visitors to your website via search engines, but the key to good content is value to the reader. Restaurant blogs have to add value to the right people – those who typically make up your typical restaurant patrons.
At the same time, content should be optimised to make it easier for search engines to know what your site is about, in order for them to direct the right kind of traffic to you. When you upload blog posts to your site, optimise them to:
• Make the reader experience easy by using bullet points, subheadings and breaking up text so it’s not clumped together.
• Do keyword research to find the terms your target audience use to search what they are looking for and sprinkle those in your content naturally.
• Add an SEO plugin to your website; it makes it easier to optimise your content.
• Find out how to do image SEO; for restaurants especially, this is vital because food photos are what will bring more traffic. You also need to make sure that the images used will not slow down your site, as this frustrates visitors and search engines hate slow loading sites.
3. Use Social Media
Use social media in conjunction with blogging. Each time you upload a new blog post, publish it on social media and then share it as much as you can, to the right people.
All restaurants should consider using Instagram or Pinterest, which are image-based social media networks, and because your product is food, you should be taking and uploading plenty of food photos. Find out which other social sites your target audience frequent, and get busy on those too.
Create a social media strategy so that you can gain the attention and engagement of the people that matter. When done properly, social media boosts any online marketing efforts of restaurants.
4. Keep Details Consistent
Perhaps you’ve heard about “NAP”, which stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. When your aim is to get more online traffic via search engines, it’s terribly important to keep these details consistent to a T because in a world where so much is false and scams abound, NAP tells search engines that your restaurant is legitimate.
Wherever you add these details online, make sure they are precisely the same.
5. Provide Exceptional Service
The absolute best online marketing tip for restaurants is to provide outstanding service to patrons. When you do this, especially if you can come up with some unique ideas to enhance the dining experience, your guests will tell friends and family.
74% of people say that word of mouth advertising influences them the most, so this online marketing method for restaurants is by far the most valuable advertising strategy for your business.
6. Use Your Best Tool
As a restaurant, some of your best tools are food photos. Although it’s entirely possible to use a smartphone to take a quick pic, it’s best to get a professional. Research suggests you can increase sales by 30% by using pro photos, making it well worth the cost.
Food photography is powerful because we “eat with our eyes first”. It’s the very reason why fine dining chefs put so much effort into the presentation of their dishes instead of quickly slopping food on a plate.
Food images and videos go viral on social media fast, and that’s because food evokes emotion! Remember, food is how we survive and most people are obsessed with food, so use it to your advantage!