A functional restaurant does not equal to a successful restaurant. Even if you do the basics right, that is, provide good food and service at a decent price, you still cannot rely just on word of mouth to keep your restaurant busy. Competition is extremely stiff, and you need to do the right marketing for your restaurant, be it offline marketing or online marketing. Offline marketing strategies include things like radio mentions, the newspaper adds, hosting events, etc. Online marketing for restaurants popularly known as digital marketing for restaurants includes creating a brand presence of the restaurant through digital channels like Facebook, Twitter, website, etc.
In this article, we will cover techniques to do digital marketing for restaurants.
To know about offline techniques as well, read this comprehensive restaurant marketing manual that will help you create holistic strategies for promoting your restaurant business.
Digital Marketing For Restaurants
The Internet has completely taken over our lives; so much so that digital marketing for restaurants has become the need of the hour. Restaurant Digital Marketing is essential as it helps in targeting online customers whose reviews can directly impact your Restaurant’s reputation. Some reasons why digital marketing for restaurants is important are:-
- Online marketing for restaurants has a huge reach and costs less in terms of the profits it can garner. If you do not go for paid advertising or boosting posts online, it will be virtually free.
- Having a functional Facebook, Twitter and an Instagram account will put you directly in touch with customers, both present and potential. Because of this, they will always be able to contact you in case of any complaint or grievance thus improving your customer care.
- Because of their huge reach, online marketing channels can provide you with many customers both present and potential on the receiving end of your marketing campaigns.
- Customers usually express their views online and being online with them will let you understand what they want from a restaurant and what they are saying about you.
Now that it has been established how important it is to come up with digital marketing strategies for your restaurant, next is understanding what various methods restaurant digital marketing you can use. Below are how you can use technology for marketing your restaurant online.
Different Digital Marketing Strategies That Restaurants Must Follow
While planning your restaurant’s digital marketing campaign, there are many things that you can do. Digital marketing for restaurants is not as easy as it seems and is dependent on many strategies that you must follow carefully. Here we have listed some restaurant digital marketing strategies that you must not miss:-
1. Social Media Marketing
With 1.5 billion registered users on Facebook, social media has emerged as the easiest way to grab eyeballs. Hence it only makes sense to use social media for your restaurant’s digital marketing goals. Here is a list of activities that you must carry out online for your restaurant marketing:-
(I) Customer Engagement
Engaging with customers on social media is an absolute must. You must always respond to their tweets, posts or comments. There are several social media managing tools available that allow you to manage all your channels in one place. You can also schedule your posts and tweets to maintain consistency.
Remember, maintain a frequency in your posts, do not just add a picture one day then ghost out, that will be a huge turn off for your followers and may even cost you some customers. Digital marketing for restaurants is dependent upon visibility. You do not need to post every day, but try to post something at least once a week.
(ii) Video Marketing
The next restaurant digital marketing strategy is using videos. Create interesting videos of your kitchen and parties. Tag people and ask them to reshare it. Longer videos are appropriate for Youtube, while Instagram or Facebook users want to see short clips. Videos are the way where digital marketing is going. They are fun to watch, informative and overall a lot more shareable. As mentioned earlier, digital marketing for restaurants is dependent upon visibility, hence if something is shared more, it is seen by more people, and then the digital marketing venture is a success.
(iii) Contests and Campaigns
You can run contests and campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, such as tagging of pictures, or a check-in campaign. This will make your restaurant visible to the friends of your customers a huge proportion of which will be your target audience, thus getting you in touch with your potential customers.
(iv) Paid Ads
All social media platforms allow you to run geo-targeted ads through which you can choose your target audience by their age, gender, preferences, etc. Thus, if you are running a fast-food restaurant, you can target the young crowd under the age of 30. The truth be told, this degree of flexibility that exists in digital marketing for restaurants, does not exist in offline marketing channels making digital marketing, the preferred choice today.
Read a detailed guide on doing social media for restaurants here
While creating your restaurant digital marketing strategy, don’t forget to create a Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant. Google provides a special listing for restaurants on mobiles called ‘Local 3 Pack’. It has many benefits:
- First, if you provide a contact number in the GMB Listing, customers can directly call your Restaurant.
- Customers can easily locate your restaurant and get driving directions if they wish to visit.
- It appears before the search results with a map, thus gives more visibility to your restaurant.
- Restaurant Owners who have a GMB Listing can easily upload their menu which would be displayed in the listings.
Find out how to get your restaurant listed on Google My Business here.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is considered to be one of the most effective methods of digital marketing for restaurants, which you can accomplish with the help of your CRM database. You can send a welcome mail to your customers and proceed with sending regular greetings and offers.
However, email marketing does not have to only revolve around sending greetings to customers and delivering coupons and discounts in their inbox. A monthly newsletter is a great way to engage with your customers. You can create a resonating personal touch with your patrons by sending them updates about your restaurant like introducing your team, or the new pastry chef you hired, or an article about the recent event you hosted at your restaurant.
Introducing your culture to your patrons would give them a homely feeling when they visit your restaurant. What needs to be understood here is that digital restaurant marketing is not just about aggressively gaining customers, but about nurturing them to retain them as well. That is what email marketing does.
Read this article to gain a detailed understanding of how to do email marketing for restaurants.
4. SMS Marketing
The next strategy for digital marketing for restaurants is SMS Marketing. Sending an SMS with a promo code or some offer is an excellent method of digital restaurant marketing as they have a high opening rate and maximum visibility. However, you need to be adept at writing short, clear, and eye-catching messages because your customers are already being bombarded by so many promotional SMS and push notifications; your SMS might just get lost in them.
You must always end your message on a Call-to-Action, such as Order Now, or Try our new dessert, Book Your Table Today, with a link or a phone number to complete that action. Send your customers SMSs containing offers and discounts, or update them about the new item on the menu. Use your CRM to track which of your customers haven’t dined at your restaurant in a while, and send them a ‘We Miss You’ SMS, along with a discount coupon.
SMSs are also helpful in delivery orders. You can keep your customers updated on the status of their orders, by sending them SMSs.
5. Online Listings And Review sites
Lately, online listing and review sites have become a rage among the masses. With restaurants listed according to type, location, and services, customers find it easy to choose their eating destination. Therefore having a presence on sites such as Zomato, TripAdvisor, EazyDiner, etc. is a must.
You must also have complete details of your restaurant on these sites, along with the address and contact details, the updated menu, and resplendent photos of your restaurant to attract customers. These sites also allow customers to account for their dining experiences and give their feedback and review. As customers often read reviews given by other customers, you must take out the time to address the reviews, especially the negative ones.
6. Functional And Updated Website
In the name of online presence, restaurants often have just a Facebook page and a listing on the review sites. However, digital marketing for restaurants is incomplete without a functional and updated restaurant website. Make sure your website is mobile optimized. An ideal restaurant website should consist of these-
- A Theme Page that reflects the brand of your restaurant.
- A menu page that lists all your delicacies.
- Gallery page which showcases the beautiful interior and décor of your restaurant.
- Feedback Form where your customers can share their experience of dining at your restaurant. Apart from gathering feedback that gives you the opportunity to grow and improve, it also works as a great marketing tool, as your website visitors would view your customers’ reviews.
- An About Us page where you speak about history and culture.
You can also implement a Call-to-Action that satiates the cravings generated by the images of your palatable dishes as well. Implement an Order Online Widget on your website that serves as a solution to the hunger pangs of your website visitor.
Another great feature to implement on your website is providing a virtual tour of your restaurant. By clicking on the virtual tour button, the visitor can see the decor and ambiance of your restaurant. You can also allow your customers to choose a table of their choice, and book their table in advance.
These are some of the most effective restaurant digital marketing tips. Do share your strategies with us; we would love to hear them as well.
In the next article, we will be covering offline marketing strategies for restaurants, to give you a complete checklist of restaurant marketing techniques. Keep watching this space! Till then, do implement these restaurant digital marketing tips in your marketing plan, and tell us how they worked out for you!