The majority of people no longer find restaurants like they used to.
Traditional advertising still works, and word of mouth is still the most effective marketing, but now there are more ways to reach customers and get them walking into your restaurant doors.
These days, customers use search engines, social media, and consumer review sites to find local restaurants and decide which they should give their money to. That means your restaurant should have a visible, consistent, and sustainable online presence so it can be found by customers.
As you may know, competition among restaurants is fierce. Anything you can do to get the upper hand should be considered. Here are five restaurant marketing tips you can use to get more customers dining at your establishment.
Tip #1 – Get Ranked in Local Search
Every day, local customers are searching online for restaurants, but is yours showing up? Do a Google search for your type of restaurant in your local area to see what results you get. Where does your restaurant rank on the results page?
If you have poor rankings or you’re not even ranked at all, then you have room to improve your local search engine optimization (SEO). You can get started by claiming a Google My Business listing if you haven’t already. You can also add your business to local online directories to help rank for local search. Moz Local is a useful tool to create and maintain your business listing at various online directories.
Tip #2 – Showcase Food Photos on Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool that restaurants can use to connect with customers. The number of active users on social media is staggering. Facebook has over a billion users, Instagram has over 400 million users, Twitter has over 300 million, and Snapchat is becoming more popular with over 150 million users.
Visual content, such as photos and videos, elicits the most engagement from social media users, so one of the best ways to promote your restaurant online is with high-quality photos. The popularity of the #foodporn hashtag shows that it’s clear people love food pictures. A good photo will draw in hungry eyes and get them interested in what’s on your menu.
Tip #3 – Encourage Online Reviews
Consumer review sites, like Yelp, are very important for your restaurant’s online reputation. Whether you choose to create a profile or not, people will leave reviews of your restaurant. You can think of consumer reviews sites as another form of word of mouth marketing.
The best thing to do is create a profile so you have access to provide additional details about your restaurant, and most importantly, respond to customer reviews. Always respond to your reviews in a polite manner whether the review was positive or negative.
Once you’ve established your restaurant profile on consumer review sites, be sure to encourage customers to leave reviews. You can communicate this online, or while they’re dining in your restaurant. You can even add an incentive to help motivate customers to follow through.
Tip #4 – Use Mobile Pay-Per-Click Ads
Restaurants are one of the best candidates for mobile pay-per-click ads because people are often looking for nearby dining options while on the move. The great thing is pay-per-click platforms, such as Google Adwords, allow for various mobile targeting options that help you get the most out of your budget.
For example, you can geo-target your mobile ads so that they only show up in a specific location that you define. You can also make it so that your mobile ads show up more frequently when someone is in your targeted location. Speaking of frequency, you can adjust it for different times of the day and week. So if you want your mobile ads to show up more frequently at dinnertime on a Friday evening, then you can definitely do that.
Tip #5 – Promote Coupons and Discounts Online
Providing coupons and discounts for your restaurant is always a surefire way to bring customers running. The standard place to promote coupons and discounts online would be on your website. Since people visiting your website has shown some interest, a good coupon or discount may be the thing that gets them off the fence and into your restaurant.
If you have a decent social media following then that’s another good place to promote coupons and discounts. You can also use coupons and discounts as incentives in other areas of your marketing like encouraging online reviews and building an email list.
In today’s competitive environment, you need to do more than just traditional advertising and relying on word of mouth, otherwise your digitally savvy competitors will get a leg up on you. Make sure that doesn’t happen by constantly improving your online presence and staying up to date with the latest digital marketing trends (Hint: read our blog!)
What other restaurant marketing tactics are you using? Do you have a question about restaurant marketing? Please share comments and questions below.
If you’re looking for the best way to market your restaurant, we can help! Here at DMNmedia, we have helped a wide variety of clients in the restaurant industry improve their online presence and increase the number of customers that dine at their establishment. For more information on working with us, please contact us today!