Local Restaurant Online Marketing
If you want to build a successful local restaurant online marketing, you must use online marketing. In today’s digital age, people increasingly use the internet to find information about restaurants and other local businesses. Before deciding where to eat, they want to see restaurants nearby and easily find menus, reviews, and contact information. However, if your restaurant is not online, you are losing potential customers. This post discusses the importance of online marketing for local restaurants and other small businesses, as well as how to get started.
As a small local business, such as a restaurant, you understand how difficult it is to compete with chain locations. But, as a consumer, you also know that when you’re hungry, you want something different than what the chains have to offer. You can compete and even beat the chain restaurants if you optimise your online marketing. Today, we’ll go over some online marketing strategies you can use to ensure you’re the first place local users look for food.
The first thing to realise is that online marketing is not a one-time effort, but rather something that must be done on a consistent basis if you want to see results. Digital marketing is a continuous process, and you must develop a unified strategy that integrates online marketing into your overall marketing strategy. Online marketing, like traditional marketing, necessitates planning, execution, and measurement. You must set goals, create content, and monitor your progress.
One of the primary advantages of online marketing is that it allows you to reach a larger portion of your target market than traditional marketing channels. Traditional marketing channels reach a larger audience, but you have little control over targeting, so many of the people you reach aren’t in your target market and are unlikely to convert. This is a waste of your marketing budget. You reach your target market selectively with online marketing, either through keyword selection in search advertising or direct targeting on social platforms. As a result, another advantage of online marketing is that it is less expensive than traditional marketing methods.
You can also reach your target market organically by using SEO (search engine optimization) or social media marketing with no upfront costs. Because an online search is frequently the result of a desire for an immediate purchase, search engines provide the added benefit of immediacy. Through the content shared on social media posts, you reach a community that is already aware of your brand and predisposed to purchase from you. When your community interacts with you by sharing, commenting, or liking, they spread your message to their network, which most likely has many similarities that make them good candidates for your products.
You can also track your results and easily make changes to your campaign, which is nearly impossible with traditional advertising due to the long production lead time and inability to directly correlate advertising with sales. You also don’t have as many free promotion options as you do for organic reach on social and search platforms.
So, what are some of the best ways to get started with restaurant digital marketing? Here are a few pointers:
1. Create a website
Your website will serve as the foundation for your digital marketing efforts, so make sure it highlights your restaurant’s competitive advantages while also providing a great user experience for visitors. Because users frequently use a mobile device to find a restaurant when they are not sitting at a desktop or laptop device, you need a website that looks great regardless of screen size. Using a good responsive template ensures that your site looks great on all devices.
Don’t waste your time and energy building a website with a website builder like Wix or Squarespace. Many local restaurants make this mistake because you can create a website for free without writing any code. The resulting website, however, lacks originality, and these website builders are MUCH more difficult to use than the promotional materials imply. These websites also do not appear near the top of search engine results, making it difficult to attract organic traffic to your site. Instead, build your website with a self-hosted site from a reputable hosting company, a good CMS (content management system) like WordPress, a responsive theme, and a few plugins. If you truly want a low-skill option, consider one of several plugins that mimic the drag-and-drop feature promoted by website builders. Everything you need is in my ebook on DIY website design, and it will only cost you about $150 to get started, with annual fees of around $100.
Consider your visitor when designing your website. What exactly are they looking for? They’re probably looking for your address, phone number, menu, and possibly a review or two. Display this information prominently so that visitors do not have to look for it (which they will not).
When developing your restaurant’s website, make sure to:
- Optimize your rank in search using SEO tactics that include:
- Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions for your pages
- Consistent content that adds value to your visitors such as recipes, profiles of key employees, an in-depth look at your menu, and information on your sourcing, especially if you do local sourcing. Websites that post at least once a week achieve a much higher rank in search results.
- Easy navigation and user-friendly web pages
- Fast load speeds
- Include high-quality photos of your food and restaurant to attract visitors to dine at your location
- Include recommendations and reviews as well as awards you receive, charitable events you participate in, writeups in local media, or any other content that creates trust with your local community
- Set up social media accounts to automatically share your content on your chosen platforms
2. Social Media
Social media is an excellent way to connect with current and potential customers. Using the social media platforms that your target market prefers allows you to share restaurant news and updates, promote special offers, and answer customer questions. The advantages of various popular social media platforms are listed below.
Instagram is a great platform for restaurants because it is visually appealing and allows you to share photos of your food. Use relevant hashtags, such as #foodie or #nom, as well as local hashtags to reach a broader swath of your target market, as hashtags are searched by users looking for interesting content. For example, you could use a hashtag that represents your cuisine, such as #italianfood, a specialty dish, like #eggplantparm, or your location, like #madisonavenuerestaurant.
Create a business page for your restaurant on Facebook if you prefer to use it because it is the largest platform with the most time spent by users. Pinterest is also a good option because it is still dominated by women, who are frequently tapped to choose restaurants and make reservations. Food is one of four topics that dominate Pinterest, as shown in the image above.
3. Make use of Google My Business
Google My Business is a free listing service for managing your local marketing efforts. Claim your listing and fill out all of the information, including your hours of operation, address, and contact information. Your listing can also include photos, menus, and special offers. To avoid losing business, keep this information up to date as your hours of operation change. Encourage your customers to leave reviews in order to entice other diners to try your restaurant.
When users search for a local business, Google displays your information along with a star rating, even if they do not include the term “near me” in their search. The enhanced listing appears before organic results and maps your location to help users find a restaurant in a convenient location, such as along their route. Here’s an illustration of a local search result:
Users have access to additional information about your restaurant that is not normally included in an organic link. Furthermore, filters can be used to find restaurants based on price, cuisine, hours, and star rating. As a result, if a user searches for an Italian restaurant, the listings are updated to include only restaurants that serve Italian cuisine.
4. Add customer feedback
Customer reviews are an important component of online marketing. They give potential customers valuable information about the quality of your food and service.
There are several methods for encouraging customers to leave reviews. For example, after their visit, you can send follow-up emails, include a call-to-action on your receipts, or set up an online review monitoring system.
5. Make use of online advertising
As previously stated, online advertising is a very cost-effective way to reach your target market. When it comes to online advertising, you have two general options: search engine marketing on Google, Bing, and others (also known as PPC or pay-per-click because that’s how you’re billed) and social media advertising. Both are simple to set up, and recent platform changes have made it possible to create effective ads without much expertise or skill.
To help you better plan your budget and potential outcomes, the graphic below depicts the average CTR (click-through rate) achieved on each popular digital advertising platform.
Find marketing experts to assist you.
Consider working with a digital marketing agency if you want to take your online marketing efforts to the next level. They can assist you in developing an effective marketing strategy and managing your campaigns to maximise your results.
A restaurant marketing firm, for example, has a team of experts who understand your company’s unique requirements. As a result, they can develop more targeted campaigns that produce better results.
When done properly, online marketing can help you attract new customers, maintain relationships with current customers, and grow your restaurant. Use the above suggestions to get started with your own marketing efforts. If you need assistance, don’t be afraid to contact a restaurant marketing digital marketing agency.
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