Leveraging local search marketing is critical for the restaurant industry when it comes to driving new customers acquisition and revenue, especially for businesses with multiple locations. On a local level, consumers are always looking for restaurants around them while using mobile devices, especially if visiting from out of town. But what if your prospective customers can’t find you online, because your location isn’t showing up in search results or maps?
Not only will you lose sales, but it also hinders your ability to connect with customers that may be searching for the dining options you offer, but not initially familiar with your actual brand. By using local search marketing tactics, restaurants can utilize their online presence to increase revenue from foot traffic during the holidays. After all, what better way to draw a consumer in than by appearing in their search results after a long, stressful day of shopping?
Can a Hangry Customer Find You Easily?
Especially around the holidays, shoppers can be hangry (hungry+angry), stressed and easily annoyed. They want their food without the added hassle of searching for a place to eat. This is where local search is key. Can a customer easily find it using Google or Facebook search?
‘It might seem like a lot, but the holidays are the best time to increase foot traffic.’ – Alex Porter
Wrong or bad online business data can wreak havoc on your restaurant. It can show conflicting local search listings, or even keep your listing from appearing at all. Your location(s) will be undiscoverable, resulting in hungry shoppers, and loss of sales and overall revenue.
Instead, brainstorm a few non-branded, industry keywords based on user query data that relate to your brand. People are increasingly searching for brand-agnostic terms, like “Italian food” or “happy hour specials” instead of searching for a specific brand. If you fail to include these general searches, you’re potentially losing out on would-be customers.
Additionally, you’re going to need a landing page for each and every single location to maximize your appearance in search results. This includes a desktop and mobile-optimized page, and a social presence as well to help capture maximum search result real estate (Facebook, Google My Business, etc.). It might seem like a lot, but the holidays are the best time to increase foot traffic and draw in new customers.
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Also, offering a few incentives based on ongoing events in the neighborhood or timing of holidays can provide incremental lift in sales. Just imagine all the families who are going to the mall to visit Santa, who then want to find a place with cheap kids meals and fulfilling dinners. Connect with them online, provide a quality user experience, and guide them to your business location.
Are You Mobile-Friendly?
It’s easy to forget about mobile, especially when you’re running a successful restaurant business. But don’t forget: Mobile is key, especially for individuals who don’t know who you are. In fact, mobile makes up more than 60 percent of all search activity.
This doesn’t mean you suddenly have to start publishing blog posts and updating your site daily, but ensuring your business information is up-to-date and accurate is vital. Is your address and phone number prominently displayed? Are your hours listed on the homepage? The same goes for your social pages. And if you have more than one physical location, ensure your messaging and branding is universal across every Facebook, Twitter and webpage.
‘Wrong or bad online business data can wreak havoc on your restaurant.’ – Alex Porter
Hitwise’s “Mobile Search: Topics and Themes” report found the category with the highest percentage of mobile search volume was “Food & Beverage,” with 72 percent. Consumers need to eat, but hangry shoppers aren’t going to look very hard. It’s up to you to be readily available and searchable for them.