The restaurant industry is reportedly one of the most difficult industries to enter, let alone succeed in. Therefore, you must understand how to tilt the probabilities in your favor.
The key to any successful business is understanding how to market to your target demographic. You must answer important queries such as “How will my community know that I exist?” “How can I attract people to my restaurant?”
Your answers reside in restaurant digital marketing. Traditional advertising methods such as handing out pamphlets, direct mailing, and radio commercials still have some merit, but the world has largely gone digital. If you lack an online presence, you might as well shut down your business.
However, we are here to assist. Continue reading to discover restaurant digital marketing strategies. Before we dive into the strategies, you may want to research the top digital marketing agencies that offer services to restaurants.
Benefits of Digital Marketing for Restaurants
Implementing a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for a restaurant has multiple benefits for business proprietors. Let’s examine the top three advantages of digital marketing for restaurants seeking to increase their sales:
Increased Visibility and Awareness
Digital marketing campaigns enable you to reach a large audience by increasing the likelihood of acquiring new customers and enhancing brand recognition. For instance, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram offer highly effective advertising options that can be tailored to specific demographics. Thus, you can have a direct channel to the taste receptors of your customers through digital marketing.
Improved Customer Engagement
Digital marketing enables two-way communication between you and your customers. And by communicating with your consumers via digital channels, you can cultivate a following of aficionados who return for more. As a result, they will leave glowing reviews, recommend your establishment to friends, and become your most ardent supporters.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Customers can receive a seamless and individualized experience. Using digital ordering and delivery platforms, for instance, you can streamline and simplify the ordering process for your customers. Additionally, you can use the data obtained from these platforms to tailor your marketing campaigns to the requirements and preferences of your target audience.
How to Do Digital Marketing for Restaurants
With the advent of digital technology, it has never been more essential for a restaurant to have a strong online presence. There are numerous methods to make your restaurant stand out in the digital world, including optimizing your website and developing influencer marketing and email campaigns.
We will outline the fundamentals of digital marketing for restaurants and provide you with suggestions for getting started. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started, let’s explore digital marketing strategies for restaurants and get your business set to flourish!
Perfect Your Website
Even though you own a non-digital local restaurant, your storefront is no longer the face of your business. When researching products or services online, 88% of consumers evaluate a business’s credibility based on its website.
To develop a successful digital marketing strategy, your website must be professional, functional, and user-friendly. Potential customers must be able to intuitively navigate your website in order to locate menus, hours of operation, and your address. Keep in mind that most people use their smartphones to research similar topics, regardless of whether they are at home, in the vehicle, at work, etc. – your website must be mobile-friendly.
Invest time and money in professional photographs of your restaurant’s interior, menu, and staff. The cuisine will appear more appetizing, and the service personnel will appear more professional. It provides potential consumers with a sense of familiarity with your restaurant prior to their visit.
Focus on Local SEO
Perfecting your search engine optimization is one of the most crucial stages in digital marketing for restaurants. SEO is indispensable for driving organic traffic to your website and, ultimately, customers to your seats. When someone searches for “Italian restaurants near me,” their speed of discovery will depend on your SEO rating.
To ensure that your digital marketing strategy for your restaurant is effective, you must ensure that your website’s SEO makes you a local destination. You can improve your SEO by completing the subsequent steps:
- Create a website blog with engaging and relevant content.
- Ensure that each page of your website uses local keywords and other forms of SEO coding (metadata embedded in images, videos, and headings, etc.).
- Utilize both internal and external links (to other pages on your site, affiliate websites, data sources, etc.)
- Create a Google My Business account for your business.
- Ensure that your contact information and address are repeated and simple to locate.
If you are new to SEO, achieving a high ranking takes time. If you require assistance with SEO, you can pursue additional education or hire a professional.
Gain Followers on Social Media
Having a website loaded with SEO code is advantageous (and essential). However, there are also proactive means of driving traffic to your website. Did you know that 69 percent of adult Americans use Facebook? This indicates that 69% of your potential consumers are on Facebook.
A strong social media presence is required for restaurants to have a successful digital marketing strategy. Social media not only allows you to build a following of people who are attracted to your restaurant and are likely to become repeat consumers, but it also provides effective networking opportunities. The best aspect is that both free and sponsored advertising campaigns are available in abundance.
For instance, you can advertise for free on social media by conducting raffles or competitions with free meals, gift vouchers, or even cash as prizes. The key is to utilize the competition to expand your audience by encouraging users to like, remark on, and share your posts. In turn, their followers will see the activity, be exposed to the competition, and likely begin to follow your profile so they can also compete for incentives.
Paid social media marketing, on the other hand, allows you to determine how much you spend per day on your campaign as well as your intended demographic (based on age, gender, location, and more). This also includes analytical data detailing the success and performance of your advertisements. You’ll be able to see how each ad performed in terms of engagement (link views, likes, follows, shares, and remarks), allowing you to optimize your ads.
Use Influencer Marketing
Consider influencer marketing if you do not have a substantial following or if you wish to reach a larger audience. Influencers on social media are individuals who have established credibility within specific industries or demographics and, as a result, have thousands, if not millions, of followers.
If there are food-specific influencers in your area, it may not be a terrible idea to invite them to dine for free at your restaurant. If they enjoy your cuisine, you can negotiate a contract for influencer marketing. You may pay them a fee or provide them with a certain number of complimentary meals in exchange for promoting your restaurant.
Implement Email Marketing
Email marketing is another effective digital marketing strategy for restaurants. You must first compile a list of email recipients who have subscribed to your email. By offering discounts to previous consumers who subscribe via social media, your website, affiliate websites, and landing page advertisements, you can gain subscribers.
Once a consumer subscribes, you must have a weekly or twice-weekly automated email sequence. These emails should be cordial and convey gratitude to your subscribers while subtly encouraging them to visit your restaurant again. However, they must also contain valuable content (discounts, promotions) or recipients will cease to open them.
Email marketing has proven to be a top contender because it targets individuals who have already shown an interest in your restaurant or dined there.
Take Advantage of Online Reviews
Next, keep in mind that the majority of people require reassurance when investing in products or services, including dining experiences. When people research restaurants online, one of the factors they consider is the opinions of previous diners. You must capitalize on online reviews and the trust that consumers place in them.
Start by encouraging each paying customer to leave a Google, website, or social media review. The majority of individuals must be incentivized to write a review; you can offer a discount, a complimentary refreshment, etc., once the review has been written.
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Network with Other Local Businesses
Utilizing local small business proprietors is an additional effective digital marketing tactic for restaurants. Commence establishing affiliate partnerships with complementary enterprises. You can collaborate by guest-posting on each other’s blogs and recommending their services, among other methods.
Connect with a local hotel, for instance, and ask if they will recommend your restaurant to travelers and other visitors. They may do so in person or via their website. On your end, offer discounts to hotel-referred consumers.
Alternately, you can collaborate with other small businesses to provide discounts for business-related meals, such as agents meeting with current or potential clients, team lunches, etc. The key is to provide value to those who choose to affiliate with you. In exchange, you obtain more customers and a greater influence in the community.
Keep Online Engagement High
In terms of restaurant digital marketing, it is crucial to realize that consistency is crucial. You must make an effort if you want your community to remember your name when it’s time to take a bite to eat. An annual advertising campaign is not sufficient.
However, this does not imply that you must spend a fortune to retain customers returning to your restaurant. It’s the little things like routinely updating your website, publishing new content on social media a few times per week, and advertising new menu items. However, you must keep the community engaged by promoting online specials, hosting contests, and giving back.
Wrapping Up Digital Marketing Strategies for Restaurants
If your cuisine and service were excellent, you could open a restaurant on a busy street corner and remain in business for decades. However, you must be deliberate in your marketing and engagement with the community. Check out our blog post about McDonald’s digital marketing strategy to analyze a globally renowned example from the food industry.