Every restaurant owner will tell you there are always a thousand or more things they need to focus on to maintain a successful business. Whether it’s preparing the freshest ingredients for tonight’s entree special or training the staff to provide the most excellent dining experience they can offer, it’s easy to see how something like digital marketing can be the last thing on a restaurant owner’s mind.
However, even the fanciest restaurant with the tastiest food in town can still find room for improvement if they’re not investing in effective online advertising strategies.
For starters, consider how statistics show that an estimated 90% of guests research a restaurant online before choosing to dine there and how just under 60% of those customers visit and view the website of a restaurant prior to arriving. This means if your dining establishment has little to no online presence, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars in customer dining and takeout every year!
Restaurants owners should approach their website and digital marketing strategies with the same attention to detail and care as they would for the food and service they provide their guests. Effective online advertising is an easy, cost-effective way to reach more customers, as well as retain the ones you already have.
Here are a few key ingredients every restaurant owner should consider when assessing what digital marketing strategies are the best fit for your business.
Pair Form With Function
Hungry customers tend to make their dining decisions quickly, which means the performance, appearance, and accessibility of your website need to keep up with their waning patience. This is why a high-quality restaurant website that’s as efficient on mobile devices as it is on computers is essential to serving as the bridge between new customers and new revenue.
Web design elements that aren’t user friendly, such as long load times, tacky graphics, dated menus or news updates, or poor mobile quality will only deter potential guests from stopping by and dining in. Whether it’s incorporating efficient search engine optimization (SEO) into your online content so your website shows up in key search results or showcasing visually accessible and appealing graphic design work, digital marketing strategies will help get your website looking and operating just as tantalizing as your restaurant’s food looks and tastes.
Connect With Customers On The Go
As previously stated, mobile presence and performance is crucial for a successful restaurant website. Studies have found that more than 90% of smartphone users search for restaurants on their phone, and 64% of those smartphone users were found to have converted to a particular restaurant they came across in their online research either “immediately” or “within one hour” of conducting their search.
This trend is especially prominent with younger generations as research shows that 60% of all Americans aged 25-34 use their smartphones to research new restaurants, helping make restaurants the most searched industry by mobile consumers. A sleek and easy-to-use mobile site for your restaurant will appeal to all those online researchers and give your website a boost in key search result rankings.
Be Proactive About Online Reviews
While many restaurant owners try not to pay too much mind to online reviews of their establishment, the fact of the matter is mismanaging your restaurant’s online reviews could dissuade a large number of potential customers.
This specifically pertains to dealing with negative reviews, as 60 percent of consumers say negative reviews make them not want to dine at a particular establishment. Review management is a key component to any successful digital marketing strategy for restaurants, as there’s essentially no other way to restore or defend the online reputation of your business other than managing positive and negative reviews accordingly.
At Triton Commerce, we offer online review software that helps you capture new reviews quickly and easily!
Stand Out On Social Media
In case you’ve been out of the loop for the past few years, nearly 80% of the entire U.S. population uses social media, up nearly 60% from just a decade ago.
Bottom line: if your restaurant isn’t active or participating in social media usage and advertising, there’s no telling how much business you’re missing out on.
It’s important to think of utilizing social media as a means of allowing customers to share their unique and incredible dining experience at your restaurant with their friends and followers, which will attract new attention and customers your way. Taking high-quality photographs of your cuisine and dining ambiance allows potential guests to see and feel what it’s like to dine in your establishment, boosting your brand awareness and reputation around your community.
Build Loyalty With An Email Newsletter
In addition to connecting with customers through social media, encouraging them to sign up for an email newsletter allows you to directly stay in touch with past guests, as well as helping your restaurant stay fresh and relevant in their minds. In fact, it’s reported that 60% of consumers feel more loyal to a restaurant when they’re enrolled in their email club.
Whether it’s sharing the latest updates and specials with your regulars or providing exclusive discounts or opportunities with recent guests, email newsletters are a great digital marketing strategy to retain and expand upon your local customer following.
If plotting a digital marketing strategy sounds like the last thing you can take on for your restaurant, don’t fret! Triton Commerce has the experience, resources, and strategies necessary to help manage and enhance your restaurant’s digital presence. From professional web design to efficient advertising results, we provide digital marketing solutions that are effective, measurable, and tailored to your business.
To learn more about our services and how we can help you grow your restaurant, contact our team via phone or email today! We offer a complimentary Digital Marketing Blueprint that assesses your current online presence, and we’ll offer advice and practical solutions designed to take it to the next level.
Originally published August 2017