Why go digital?
Digital marketing has become the primary means of advertising in today’s landscape. Consumers are internet-savvy and highly mobile — what they see on the internet influences their choices. In fact, 94% of diners in the US are swayed by online reviews, as well as the restaurant’s photos and mobile presence. What's more, according to Facebook, 86% of millennials try a new restaurant after seeing online food-related content. Poor reviews, unappealing photos, and minimal online presence are all huge turn-offs.
This is why marketing professionals continue to be in high demand. Businesses, big and small, seek experts with degrees in marketing as they are not only trained in content creation, but also fields like interactive and digital marketing, consumer behaviour, and product development. All of these contribute to a better understanding of what businesses need in order to stand out and thrive in a competitive environment, like the food service industry.
As a restaurateur, you can determine how to expand your reach, respond to consumers’ feedback, and give your diners what they want with a proper digital marketing strategy.
Read on to learn about how you can help with your restaurant’s growth through digital marketing:
- Online listings - Social media - Review sites
Low patronage can be traced to low online visibility. With digital sales expected to account for 30% of all US restaurant sales by 2025, it's never been more important to establish an online presence.
First, get your name listed on Google My Business. This tool is completely free and allows your business’ name to come up with important details like its address, operating hours, and photos. With your location available, your business will appear on a Google search for ‘restaurants near me’, which many consumers use to look for available nearby choices.
The next step is to create social media accounts on different platforms like Instagram and Facebook. These two are very easy to navigate and can help you develop your brand as well as reach out to your consumers. Craft content that conveys your restaurant’s brand and overall message. Most of all, make sure to post mouth-watering photos of your food!
Another strategy is to ask your customers to leave reviews on sites like Yelp and Zomato. You can also invite food bloggers to feature your restaurant. These platforms help generate valuable feedback on your food and service, as well as increase your online visibility.
Develop customer engagement and loyalty
- Social media groups - Newsletters - Incentives
Social media is the easiest place to start building customer engagement and turning it into loyalty. For instance, you can create an online group for your regulars to stay connected while businesses are non-operational. Facilitate meaningful conversations, provide updates about the status of your business, or simply ask them how they’re doing. You can make use of polls, questions, and stories, as well as respond to the comments you receive.
Digital marketing doesn’t end with social media. You can also reach out to customers through emails. Newsletters, for instance, allow for more long-form and thought-provoking content.
What's more, rewards are a great way to develop loyalty. For restaurants, this can be done through online campaigns and contests, as well as coupons and discounts. Good deals can influence a diner to choose your restaurant over a competitor and drive more foot and internet traffic. However, make sure that you’re not losing money by offering too many incentives.
Update your pages
- Social media - Website - Emails
Once you’ve established all of your digital channels, it’s important to keep posting fresh content. It’s up to you whether you choose to focus your efforts on your website, social media accounts, email marketing, or any combination of the three. The bottom line is that doing so can help your search rankings that keep your accounts visible, and your audience wanting your food.