Digital marketing provides the opportunity for restaurants small or large to grow their business with any size budget. Recent studies have demonstrated that between 70%-80% of people look up a business online before visiting the store in person or making a purchase. Digital marketing can help restaurants establish a strong internet presence that will expand your business’ reach by improving customer experience and retention. But merely getting online isn’t enough to grow your business substantially, you need to have a strategy. However, if you’re like most restaurant owners, you may not have the time to personally dive deep into studying digital marketing concepts. That’s why we’ve compiled this quick breakdown of some digital marketing strategies to help your restaurant grow.
1. Reach More People with Search Engine Marketing
Over 90% of online experiences begin with the use of a search engine, with a majority of people using Google as their search engine of choice. Getting your business out where people are spending time online is your goal. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of bolstering your website’s design, content and user experience in order to improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). One important aspect of search engine marketing that can be quickly implemented is keyword analysis, knowing which keywords are most commonly searched for within a given topic. Integrating the right keywords throughout your web content will signal to a search engine’s crawler bots that your site is highly relevant and a good recommendation for that search engine’s user, leading to your website receiving a higher listing on a SERP. There are plenty of excellent programs and resources to determine which keywords are strongest. Local terminology is also important to factor in like if your restaurant is near a notable landmark or in a particular district of your city.
2. Start a Blog
Another strategy that complements search engine marketing is having a blog and keeping it regularly updated. For restaurant owners, blog posts can be anything from recipes to new menu additions to covering special events hosted and much more. Really, your blog can be whatever you want to write about! It’s all about giving your restaurant a brand voice and identity. You want your blog to reflect your business’ personality as closely as possible. However, we highly recommend that your blog topics focus on highly relevant keyword analysis. By writing a blog with fresh and relevant content to how people are looking up local restaurants on search engines, search engine ranking bots crawling through your site will recognize and reward the content for being a strong match for what people are searching for.
3. Highlight What Makes Your Restaurant Unique on Social Media
A lot of restaurants post the same kinds of posts on their social media pages like images of popular dishes and other specials, but what can you do to stand out from the crowd? What makes your restaurant unique? Social media that highlights what your restaurant has that nowhere else does leads to a stronger brand identity and increases customer loyalty and retention. Do you have a scenic view that can’t be beat? Take a wide photograph and use it as your Facebook Page’s cover photo. Do you have musical performers entertain customers? Post a video of the band playing a crowd favorite and ask for your followers to suggest their own. Show off your staff in appreciation posts! They’re the strongest connection your customers will have with your restaurant so you need to make the greatest impression possible. Posts that help people know the staff that will be preparing and serving their meal will strengthen the customers’ relationship with your restaurant. Knowing what makes your restaurant unique will take some study of your competition, but asking your customers what they personally enjoy the most about your business is an excellent way to get started.
4. Capture People’s Attention with Video
One of the overwhelming trends of the past ten years has been the rise of video marketing online. More than half of social media users spend over an hour watching videos online, creating a great opportunity for restaurants to create content in a format more and more people are preferring to interact with on a daily basis. However, just because you post a video doesn’t mean a lot people will see it. Quality counts more than anything. People won’t consume content just because it’s content. It has to be good content. So, while handheld videos from your phone may be ok for showing a crowded night or a busy kitchen, you will want to hire a video production team to record high quality content of new dishes and products. Also take note of where your video content will be posted. The way different platforms are used affects how users consume content. For instance, short, 10- to 15-second videos go great on Snapchat and Instagram, 1- to 3-minute videos on Facebook and Twitter and longer form videos are a great length for YouTube.
5. Cross-Promote with Local Influencers & Brands
A recommendation from a trusted source can achieve leaps and bounds more for your restaurant than a typical post would. It doesn’t mean you should just wait around for one to fall in your lap. Reach out to local personalities and popular brands you might use in your recipes. Cross-promote each other on social media or in your blogs. Invite local bloggers and restaurant critics to dine with you while sampling some new dishes and talking about local matters. Record it all for a great video post. Have your guest write up a review for even further content. You’ll both benefit from emphasizing your respective place in local culture and from a widened reach through the other’s fan base and followers.
6. High-Quality Food Photography
Showing your menu selections in the best light (literally) across any marketing platforms you use will only work to bring in customers. Businesses need to use the right shooting equipment and editing programs to show off your chefs’ work when words simply won’t do justice to the presentation. If you can make people feel the way they do when they see their meal being walked out just for them when they’re sitting at their computer or are on their phone, you’re going to get people sitting at your restaurant’s tables. Use high-quality food photography for your menu, website, social media pages, Google My Business listing, emails and text campaigns. They’re your images; use them! These photos will help build your brand identity, increase your sales and customer retention, engage your audience on social media and gives you a chance to brag on your employees!
Hopefully, these six digital marketing strategies will help your restaurant thrive and grow. Remember, digital marketing can fit within any budget, so it’s always best to be making fresh and relevant content constantly. The team at Southern View Media is here to help design an effective digital marketing strategy map for your business. Helping businesses establish themselves online is what we do best.
Southern View Media is a digital marketing agency that was created to help local businesses understand the complex digital world and make educated decisions regarding their marketing. We are a balance of talent, intuition, business sense, media solutions and metrics to be a creative problem-solving machine that is fueled by client needs and driven by results, and we are ready to provide businesses with marketing and advertising services at any level. From standing out to breaking into a market we help people find you, trust you, and share you. Contact us to find out how we can help with your business’s digital presence. For a free consultation to formulate a strategic and affordable plan, call us today at 251-517-9425, email us or fill out the contact form here!