The largest obstacle to a restaurant’s success is keeping tables filled, and online outreach can help you reach those elusive new customers. Whether you’re an established eatery or a new restaurant just starting out, there is a digital marketing strategy that can help you achieve lasting success. Here are several methods you can start using today that will build your online audience and sustainably grow your business.
Make SEO a priority.
Targeted ads often yield results, but there’s nothing better than getting in front of a customer whenever they search “best banh mi near me.” Organic search results lead customers to exactly what they’re looking for, and the best part is, it’s completely free. Of course, it will take a bit of research and tweaking to find which keywords are the most effective, but once you end up on the first page of results for a given search term, traffic to your website—and your restaurant—will increase dramatically.
Use digital marketing in combination with restaurant events.
If you want to get people excited about an upcoming event, you should be using social channels to promote it. However, a great digital marketing strategy also involves the reverse: getting in-store customers to become social media subscribers. Unobtrusive reminders on menu boards and coasters, for example, can show customers why they don’t want to miss out on the promotions offered on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. With a set of loyal regulars who are also social media followers, you can make sure your restaurant never stays slow for long.
Use geo-targeted ads.
People tend to search for restaurants in their immediate area before going out to eat, so be sure your restaurant marketing efforts focus on these vital local customers. With geo-targeting, you can make sure only people within a certain radius will see your ads, saving you money and helping local customers easily find your restaurant. Google Ads, Facebook, and Twitter all offer location specific advertising, often at no extra cost.
Spotlight customer-made content.
A restaurant, café, or bar often becomes a place where local people gather to celebrate and catch up with each other. With that in mind, your restaurant marketing should focus on growing that sense of community by encouraging customers to participate. Hosting photo and caption contests is a great way to get people involved, and posting user-generated content (UGC) is another way you can save time and money on digital marketing.
Make your menu available online.
Most visitors to your website are there for one reason: to check out the menu before they come to your restaurant. It should be easy to find as part of a sleek, mobile-friendly website design. With vital information like your menu, hours, and upcoming events in one place, users can quickly decide what dish looks best and when to visit. If you partner with a delivery service like Seamless or GrubHub, they will also publish your menu on their platform, expanding your reach even further.