Every restaurant with quality food, and a great concept should [technically] be able to succeed online. Regardless of whether you hire an agency like Sync, or you take on training to go it alone, you should see varying degrees of success.
According to Marcus Samuelsson, "Approximately 2 out of 3 restaurants fail within the first year of opening." Read more about this in his post here. Let's start to sway at least some of the unpredictable factors (such as your digital marketing) in your favour, shall we?
Here are 10 simple tips to get your restaurant noticed online:
- Facebook Ads: If you're going to be on Facebook, then you need to accept that Facebook ads are a necessary evil. As the largest social networking site continues to move closer to zero reach, a spend is necessary. However, you'll quickly learn that you can be far more effective on Facebook with much less of a spend compared to traditional advertising. We've seen huge decreases in the advertising costs at restaurant chains since moving budget to digital. Here's a great tid-bit; every restaurant we've worked with has decreased their traditional marketing spend, and increased digital. That's saying something.
- Free Directories & PR: There are countless free directories online that you can list your business on. Keeping track of these can be problematic (especially with menus and evolving or seasonal hours) but the manual labour will absolutely benefit your business. Some examples include Yelp, 411, and Zomato.
- In-House Social Promo: Encourage your customers to share their experience online, and create a unified place for those shares with a hashtag.
- SMS Marketing: 90% of text messages are checked. This is a huge opportunity for restaurants. However, be cautious about how you approach SMS marketing. Internal polling of 500 restaurant customers show that 38% of those who received texts from restaurants didn't give permission, and considered it such an invasion of privacy that they never plan on returning.
- Digital Gift Cards: It pays to work with a proper platform, and to get digital gift cards in play immediately. You're more likely to see impulse purchases (especially late at night).
- Your Website: Make sure it's easy to get around, a person can quickly make a reservation, and that you show off what makes your restaurant unique.
- Get Active with Great Content: Near daily posts with fantastic content will drive interest, and will improve your standing in algorithms. Ensure all of your social posts have LPV (Link, Picture, or Video) media, and that they are free of spelling and grammatical errors. Answer questions quickly, and engage!
- Build an Email List: Make sure that you can reach your customers after they leave, and email is the best way to do that ... with permission of course. Email lists are a great way to bring in business during slower periods. Be professional though; useMailChimp or another similar service.
- "Restaurants Near Me": This will take some time (and likely give you some grey hairs), but getting accurate data on Google, Bing, and other search engines is critical in this mobile marketplace.
- Connect Your Restaurant & Your Digital Identity: A lot of restauranteurs keep what happens in their restaurant and what happens online separate. The two are not mutually exclusive; they are one. Your staff, your customers, and your marketing team should all be engaged. That's when you'll start seeing some great success.
At Sync, we go deeper with all of these concepts. However, here you have a starting point to get more customers in the door. If you need help with your restaurant's digital marketing, let's talk.
Which of these techniques have you used? How seriously did you take them, and how much success did you see?
Jay Hall - Chief Strategist