In this day and age, the lack of digital marketing is the downfall for many businesses unless you have a historically significant pizzeria right in front of the Colosseum in Rome that everyone is talking about. But even such a place would benefit from a digital marketing strategy, as modern dialogues have also become digital.
Successful restaurants today use both organic and paid advertising to promote their business online. Online marketing has become extremely important as consumers use their GPS-enabled smartphones to find nearby coffee shops and restaurants, view menus, and read reviews. Customers can use their smartphones to reserve a table, order takeout or use a delivery service.
The following efforts should help you get more website traffic, orders, and bookings:
Optimizing your restaurant for local search is important if you want to use your full potential. Ideally, you want your restaurant’s name to be one of the first to appear on a search engine page (SERP). Organic searches are online queries with keyword segments like “pizza restaurant” or “nearby fusion cuisine.” Optimizing your restaurant for organic searches is called search engine optimization, or SEO. Digital marketing campaigns often consist of paid advertising and SEO.
SEO marketing efforts will take time, but they will eventually deliver a steady stream of customers. The key to success is an attractive online profile. To do this, you can optimize the content on your website for search queries by following the guidelines of Google and other search engines.
Off-page SEO involves posting your name on other forums, e.g. in social networks, restaurant reviews, corporate organizations, coupon providers or local media. Organic marketing is free, but there are expenses involved in creating and publishing new content and connecting with potential customers.
The first step in promoting your restaurant on social media is to figure out which platforms matter most.
If, for example, you serve business people, LinkedIn is probably a good choice. Using Facebook, Twitter (country-dependent choice), and Instagram is great for almost all types of restaurants and coffee shops because you can reach your target audience and post engaging photos and videos of your dishes while publishing interesting content that your ideal audience will likely share with their peers.
You should always position social sharing buttons prominently on your website. You can also adapt your content to your channels – e.g. the selection of visual content for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or even TikTok! Short messages are ideal for marketing on Twitter. If you have an email list where customers have opted-in to receive SMS messages, you can send timely marketing messages like the daily special, information about upcoming events, and more.
Proper use of your website
Your website needs to be functional with quality content and easy to navigate for two reasons. The first is that potential customers can only know what they see online, so your website’s design and functionality are critical to making a positive impression. Second, a “mobile-responsive” design, easy navigation, and quality content are important if you wish to rank highly on search engines.
A responsive design with your website adapting optimally to every screen and browser is also a crucial step of your marketing efforts. Big, easy-click buttons on smaller screens help your customers reserve tables and order food. If areas of your site download slowly or don’t work, you are potentially losing a customer.
It is also important that you publish your menu on your website and other platforms. Your menu is your most important marketing tool. Enhance them with compelling photos and clever descriptions to drive more sales.
Paid advertising typically involves pay-per-click advertising, and many businesses prefer this method for its effectiveness in generating web traffic quickly. With PPC ads, the business only pays when customers click on them.
It is important to create ads that grab the customers’ attention, write a short description, and use keyword segments that your customers are likely to use in their searches. Paid search advertising has become the fourth most popular type of digital marketing for restaurants and coffee shops.
Google My Business
In order to boost local visibility, you could also consider optimizing your Google My Business profile. Apart from the opportunity to add your menu, pictures and videos, opening hours, and business attributes (such as ‘takeaway’, and ‘kid friendly’) and communicate what sets you apart from the competition, Google My Business allows you to add a reservation link.
The feature was designed to further support consumers on the hunt for a meal, allowing the restaurant to offer a seamless experience as the customers can make bookings directly via Google or a third partner that has integrated with Google (such as Restoo, Tablebooker).
Encouraging your customers to leave reviews and always responding to them will serve as social proof and help the business attract new clients.
Have you ever considered upgrading your reservation management system with a fully automated process using reservation apps? Mistakes in reservations and excessive wait times can be expensive to your brand.
But how can you choose the right reservation app for your restaurant?
OpenTable or e-table.gr, are some of the most famous reservation apps and makes it unbelievably easy to find the perfect place for the right occasion.
Reservation apps can also be used with Google My Business with the feature “Reserve with Google,” a platform that allows prospective customers to book reservations straight from Google Search and Google Maps. Consequently, you may attract more guests, improve reservations, and enhance visibility to locals and tourists.
Here you can find all the available reservation apps you can intergrade with “Reserve with Google”
Loyalty programs have gone through several phases since digital marketing took off. Digital technology allows restaurants to automate loyalty rewards by collecting information with their POS system and providing important information to your CRM software.
Information can later be utilized to manage a flawless loyalty program that automatically saves your customers’ purchases and offer a wide range of incentives and redemption options.
Whether via improving your organic search results, through social media or by directing traffic to your website, a solid digital marketing strategy has the potential to reach new customers as well as engage with your existing clientele.