Digital Marketing for Restaurants: What You Need to Know

For a restaurant to succeed long-term, it needs a constant influx of diners. Serving great food and providing outstanding customer service will keep people coming back for more, but first, you need to get them in the door.

These days, 91% of people research their dining options online before selecting a restaurant. After that, 77% of diners check out restaurants’ websites. Based on these statistics, one thing is clear: Restaurants need to employ effective digital marketing to make it in the modern age.

So, what are the best digital marketing strategies for restaurants? Below, we’ll review seven tactics that can help secure your success.

#1 Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

When potential customers are hungry, the first place they look for dining options is Google. With this in mind, you want to ensure your restaurant shows up prominently on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).

You can boost your chances of securing a top spot on the Google SERPs for food searches in your area by optimizing your Google My Business listing. This listing allows your restaurant to show up on the SERPs for local dining searches, as well as Google Maps.

You can optimize your Google My Business listing by:

  • Adding detailed information about your restaurant – Make sure to include your restaurant’s contact information, address, hours of operation, parking availability, delivery options, and website on your Google My Business listing.
  • Uploading high-quality photos – You can also use this listing as a place to give prospective customers a glimpse of your food, beverages, and restaurant’s interior.

#2 Spruce Up Your Website

After diners find you on Google, the next place they look is your website. In a way, websites have become the modern storefront. Your website can influence whether hungry diners eventually enter your restaurant.

A well-optimized restaurant website should be:

  • Easy to navigate – Make it easy for visitors to find your menus, hours of operation, reservation instructions, contact information, and holiday closure dates.
  • Up-to-date – If any of this information changes, make sure to update your website right away to avert any customer confusion or frustration.
  • Mobile-optimized – Many diners will research your website while they’re out and about looking for food. Thus, you want your website to render on mobile devices just as well as it does on desktop and laptop computers.
  • Attractive – People eat with their eyes first. If you can showcase delicious photos of your food on your website, you’ll be more likely to tempt potential customers into your restaurant.

#3 Encourage User-Generated Content

User-generated content is simply content that your diners post onto their social channels, such as photos of their meals, stories with their friends, or reels that showcase their dining experiences. These posts can get other social media users in your area to want to give your restaurant a try.

Chances are, some of your customers will create user-generated content on their own. However, you can encourage more of them to do so by:

  • Hosting a giveaway – An easy way to increase your user-generated content is to host a giveaway for a free meal or drink. Just ask your patrons to post a photo or video at your restaurant and tag it using a special hashtag. After a certain period of time, select the lucky winner.
  • Designing your restaurant with photo-worthy backdrops – Many social media users will be more eager to snap photos at your restaurant if you provide them with eye-catching backdrops.

#4 Invest in Paid Social Media Campaigns

Another way to attract more attention on social media is to set up paid social media ad campaigns. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, allow you to show your ads to highly-targeted audiences segmented by:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Online behavior

Each of the major social platforms offers detailed analytics regarding your ads’ clicks, likes, follows, shares, comments, and conversions. Based on your ads’ performance, you can adjust this targeting information over time and improve your return on investment (ROI).

You can also partner with influencers to promote your restaurant through their video content or social media posts. Just invite influencers in your area to dine with you for free in exchange for a shoutout on their social media channels.

#5 Establish an Email-Based Loyalty Program

Once you attract new customers, an email-based loyalty program can help you keep your restaurant freshly on their minds. All you need is to grow your email list and start sending out timely promotions.

You can compile an email list by asking your customers if they’d like to join your loyalty program upon checkout. Let them know that participation in this program will enable them to enjoy special perks, such as:

  • Free dessert on their birthday
  • Discounted deliveries on popular food delivery apps
  • Secret menu items reserved just for loyalty members
  • Coupons for their next in-person dining experience
  • Updates on any exciting, seasonal menu changes

Email marketing may not sound as cutting-edge as social media advertising, but it’s still one of the most lucrative marketing mediums out there. On average, businesses receive $42 from every dollar spent on their email marketing campaigns.

#6 Offer Food Delivery

These days, many people are accustomed to getting their favorite restaurant food delivered to their homes or workplaces. While food delivery has been around for decades, its market size doubled in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you want a piece of this market share, you need to offer food delivery too.

There are many online ordering systems you can work with, including UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates, and Grubhub. By showing up on these apps, you’ll reach a brand new audience of potential customers. To win over their orders, make sure to feature mouth-watering photos of your menu items and include detailed descriptions of ingredients, potential allergens, and substitution options.

As a final step, make sure to advertise the food delivery system you work with on your website, Google My Business listing, and social media pages.

#7 Employ Location-Based Marketing

Lastly, you can increase your restaurant’s foot traffic by employing location-based marketing (LBM), allowing you to reach the right people at the right time. Rather than marketing to website visitors or people who have liked your social media pages, location-based marketing serves ads to people who are within a certain vicinity of your physical location, which provides an opportunity for you to deliver highly targeted advertising.

For example, mobile device targeting can be combined with the power of programmatic display and video ads. With mobile device targeting, you can target devices that have been in the vicinity of your restaurant. Other data sources and targeting strategies that are effective with programmatic advertising include mail targeting, purchase receipts targeting, affinity audiences, and predictive segments.

Through the use of programmatic ad targeting, restaurant marketers are able to ensure that their advertising budgets are allocated solely towards ads that are being delivered to audiences that are relevant to their campaign.

Benefits of Digital Marketing For Restaurants

In the digital age, digital marketing can make or break your restaurant’s success. By employing some of the strategies we suggested above, you can:

  • Amplify your restaurant’s online visibility
  • Boost its brand awareness
  • Attract more customers
  • Cultivate strong customer loyalty
  • Lower your customer acquisition and retention costs
  • Improve your restaurant based on customers’ reviews

In other words, your digital marketing efforts can help you get more people in your area to know your restaurant exists, give it a try, and come back time and time again.

Leave the Digital Marketing to Liberty Interactive Marketing

If you run a restaurant, you probably have a lot on your plate—you likely have staff to manage,  menus to test, and finances to keep track of. Taking on digital marketing may feel like biting off more than you can chew.

Luckily, you can outsource these extra tasks to our expert team at Liberty Interactive Marketing. We’ve been helping restaurants optimize their digital marketing ROIs since 2006.

We help restaurants determine the right online media mix that aligns with the available budget, where your customers are, and key objectives. Our restaurant digital marketing strategy is knowing where to reach new customers and re-engage existing ones.

Want to grow your restaurant business? Get in touch with us today.

The post Digital Marketing for Restaurants: What You Need to Know appeared first on Liberty Interactive Marketing.

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