Digital marketing is the promotion of products and services using any kind of digital medium. A good digital marketing strategy for restaurants should include a website, email marketing and social media. The best social media platforms for restaurants are Facebook and Instagram, to capitalize on the strong visual appeal that food offers. As part of your restaurant’s digital marketing strategy, you may also want to consider using paid online advertising via Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.
Managing a business is no easy task, and it’s especially challenging if your business is a restaurant. Competition is fierce in the foodservice industry — you must make sure you have the tools and knowledge to make your business stand out from the crowd. 75% of smartphone users access restaurant information on the go, so having an online presence is essential for your business. The decision of where to eat is most influenced by location, price, and the number of good reviews. So where do you start with promoting your restaurant? Digital marketing may be the answer.
Digital marketing helps you to share your story with your customers online. Before you begin, make sure you have developed your restaurant’s brand identity. Your brand tells the story of your restaurant, distinguishes you from your competitors, and articulates the type of food and experience you provide.
Social media is the perfect tool to engage with your customers on a more personal level. More than half of social media users in the U.S. agree that social media is the best way for consumers to communicate with companies. Use your social platforms to show your personality — it’s a great way to earn the trust and loyalty of your customers. Respond quickly and professionally to customers that engage with you, and you’ll make them feel valued and more likely to visit your restaurant in the future.
The saying is true: people eat with their eyes first. Be sure to capitalize on this as part of your digital marketing strategy. Use your social media platforms to share delicious, enticing visuals and fresh, interesting content — try sharing recipes, behind the scenes photos, and limited-time menu items. New, exciting content on social media is key to encouraging new customers to visit, and it’ll make your existing ones want to come back for more. You can even let your customers do some of the work for you, by utilizing user-generated content for your restaurant.
There’s nothing more frustrating than out of date information online. Use digital marketing to give your customers the information they need: use your website, business listings and social media channels to share your location, opening hours, menu and contact details. Your website is a great resource to let customers explore and learn more about your story. It can become the most valuable asset of your restaurant’s digital marketing strategy when you use it to share regular, relevant and interesting content like blogs. As part of your digital marketing strategy, you should also claim your business listing on Yelp, Tripadvisor and Google. Your Google listing is often the first thing that customers see when they search for your business, so it’s important to make sure your information is up to date. You also have the opportunity to add photos and a menu.
Does your restaurant regularly offer promotions? Do you often have featured menu specials? Use your digital marketing to spread the word! Your website and social media are great avenues to promote them, which will help to build your audience and encourage repeat business. Think about offering a discount code for website visitors who subscribe to your email newsletter, or 10% off to customers who like and share a particular post on social media.
Online reviews are everything! Their importance in the success or failure of your business cannot be overstated. For most customers, online reviews are the first point of call to help them decide to visit your restaurant or not. Over 97% of consumers in a recent survey said they had read online reviews for local businesses in 2017. 54% of the respondents said they paid particular attention to the average star rating when looking at online reviews. Yelp and Facebook are the review sites most trusted by local consumers, followed by Google. By claiming your business listing on Yelp and Google and establishing a Facebook Page for your restaurant, you can monitor reviews and publicly (or privately) respond to customer complaints and queries.
It’s time to take advantage of the immediacy, huge reach and visual appeal of digital media. Watch your audience grow, your reservation rates soar, and the positive reviews flood in when you invest in digital marketing for your restaurant.