guest taking photo of food for instagram

Restaurant owners have a lot on their plates. Some must-haves are delicious food, a prime location, inviting ambiance, and a stellar staff. But, besides all that, you need ways to get people in your doors! Marketing is key for restaurant success, but there’s so much noise out there that it can seem difficult to cut through it all. So, what marketing tactics can be helpful for your restaurant? We discuss 5 ways to market your restaurant online.

An Eye-Catching Website

Having a website for your restaurant is an easy way to boost your online presence and get some traction with SEO. Even though today’s world basically revolves around technology, 29% of small businesses still don’t have websites! Are you one of them? If so, don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain brand presence online. You can hire a third-party to build a website for you or take matters into your own hands. There are plenty of options online for easy website building, including SiteBuilder, Squarespace, and Weebly, among others.

When building your website, keep some crucial elements in mind. You should have the essential business information people are looking for (name, address, phone number, hours),  all updated menus, and high-quality photos. To take it a step further, add some content including information about the history of your restaurant and even an informative blog. Having content on your website will help to boost your SEO so you can rank better in search results.

Riley Hutton at Truluck's Bar

A website is a potential customer’s first virtual look into your restaurant. Make sure the site reflects your website brand and tells the story that will inspire them to dine with you.

Your Menu On Major Search Engines

A beautifully branded website is key, but what use is it if potential diners don’t know you exist? A website is great for customers who know about your restaurant, but you need to attract new business in other ways. When people are hungry, they’re performing online searches on major search engines to find somewhere to eat. 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, including the research to find a new restaurant! Because of this, having your menu online is key.

Did you know that, according to a recent study by OpenTable, 93% of people look at menus online before dining out? It’s true – which means it’s essential that your menu is available online on those search engines people are on (including Google, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and many more!) If people can’t easily find what your restaurant offers, there’s a good chance they’ll move on to another business that has their menu readily available.

So, how do you go about putting your menu online in all of these places? You can try to update your menu on all of these sites yourself, but the process is time-consuming. You’ll have to create and log-in to each different profile to upload your menu and update it whenever necessary. As a restaurant owner, you’re busy, so this is probably not the best use of your time. However, if you want to try it yourself, you can start by claiming your business listing on those sites.

A beautifully branded website is key, but what use is it if potential diners don’t know you exist?

 

Still, some of these search engines don’t even let you post your menu to their sites without a third-party provider. That’s where menu management comes in. Companies, like SinglePlatform, get your menu dispersed to all the places it needs to be to gain visibility. Plus, they’ll make the menu and business information updates for you! Having your menu online, with accurate and owner-verified information, allows you to be visible in the places those hungry customers are searching. And what better way to market than that?

Vivid Video

Like bell bottoms in the 1970s, video is hot right now. And it’s only going to get hotter. Of businesses that don’t currently use video, 65% plan on doing so in 2018 — and 99% of those that currently do, plan on continuing. Have you recorded any videos for your restaurant marketing yet? If not, this might just be the right time to do so.

It’s no secret that our attention spans have lessened over the years. Instead of reading a 5,000 word newspaper article, people find it easier to digest a two minute video online. Because of this, you should use marketing tactics to get in front of those viewers. Create videos that will inform, inspire, or entertain an audience. Of businesses using video marketing, 76% reported an increase in traffic due to video. Try it out and see what you get out of it.

And when we say video, we don’t mean one of those cheesy television car dealership commercials (we’ve all seen them). Make a video that isn’t completely in-your-face and totally promotional.

Instead, take viewers on a tour of your restaurant, introduce them to some staff members, or show them the behind the scenes of your kitchen. Giving them valuable, fun tidbits is sure to go much further than being overly persuasive about why they should dine with you. You can even use Instagram’s new Instagram TV to make social videos to share with your followers.

Social Strategies

Social media is an easy, and mostly free, way to market your business. And people basically live on social apps – social media and messaging accounts for roughly 1 in every 3 minutes users spend on the internet. Yep, that’s a lot of time spent scrolling and liking!

There are plenty of social channels to choose from for your business, but don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to be keeping up a presence on them all. Test out different channels and see which ones work best for your restaurant based on engagement and amount of followers. Then, run with those. Be consistent with your organic posts – if your followers don’t hear from you in weeks or months, you won’t stay top of mind. Make sure if you use photos in your posts that they’re high-quality and attractive. A blurry or dark photo won’t be enticing to your followers.

Marketing is key for restaurant success, but there’s so much noise out there that it can seem difficult to cut through it all.

You can also play around with some paid social marketing campaigns, like Instagram and Facebook ads. This allows you to hone in on a target audience to gain more social visibility. Set a budget that you’re comfortable with and come up with a campaign that you think will catch hungry diners’ eyes.

Make sure to converse with your followers as well. If someone comments on your post, has a question or a concern, make sure to address them in a timely manner. 89% of social media messages to brands go ignored. Don’t ignore your customers! Responding to them shows your loyalty to your customer base and the fact that you have exceptional customer service.

Food Influencers

If you have social media or follow blogs, you’re sure to have seen those delicious food photos and reviews posted by influencers. Some of these social gurus do it for fun, while others make a living off of visiting restaurants and taking pictures of their most “Instagram-worthy” items. Take advantage of the power they have by reaching out to these influencers! They’re always looking for new restaurants to try, so why not yours?

phone in restaurant

Start off with finding influencers in your area and then reach out to invite them to enjoy a free meal at your restaurant. Ask them to write a blog or post on social media in exchange. Some influencers will charge a fee for marketing your restaurant to their followers, so keep that in mind.

If you’re feeling generous, you can even give influencers an exclusive offer to share with their followers if you’re looking to expand your own follower base. For example, you can ask the influencer to post “follow @citybistro on Instagram & enjoy 10% off your next bill.”

Food influencers can have a huge impact on your restaurant’s presence online. Take any opportunity you can to get in front of more people and attract new customers.

Marketing your restaurant is a must. In today’s world, technology has a pretty large influence on how people discover new businesses. Marketing online is crucial! These five online marketing strategies can help you build your brand’s online presence so you can attract new hungry customers to your restaurant. Now get cooking!

To learn more about menu management, head to www.singleplatform.com or get in touch with us today.

Get the Guide to Effective Restaurant Marketing to find out how the best restaurants market themselves and for tips on creating your own successful marketing strategy.

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Written by   |  
Taylor Kelly is the Content Marketer for SinglePlatform, a menu management company that gets restaurant menus and business information online in all the places people are searching. Taylor is no stranger to the restaurant industry. She comes from a family that has a long history in catering, restaurant management, and cooking. Because of this, Taylor has many fond childhood memories of being on catering trucks and in prep kitchens. At SinglePlatform, Taylor creates content to better educate the restaurant industry trends, news, and advice.