WEB MARKETING FOR RESTAURANTS AND BUSINESS OWNERS
Marketing tools for restaurants
Web Marketing for restaurants and business owners
How to have a successful restaurant thanks to web marketing? How to study web marketing strategies for tourism? How to understand what actually works and what doesn’t?
Once customers used to arrive in our restaurant by chance, or thanks to the word of mouth of other customers that have been here previously. Today, people visiting your restaurant have probably searched for info online, and they have followed tips or reviews of other users (even unknown).
Therefore, it is necessary to understand how significant a strong online presence is, and we try to understand together which marketing tools are available for a restaurateur while in the end, we will explain to you how to use them.
Many restaurateurs believe that a website for their restaurant is not essential and that a Facebook page or other social media are enough … Wrong! Nowadays, it is fundamental to have a functional website.
At heart of every web marketing strategy tourism (but not only), there is always the creation of a website, the main objective is to create and strengthen brand awareness, that is the recognizability of your brand and the differentiation of your products and services from your competitors.
The website will help you to get to know and recognize you, to show the restaurant and your dishes: you can list the daily specials, insert the menu and prices (so as to immediately filter your customers), create a cooking blog with typical recipes and tips, directing users towards social pages and communities. In short, the website will be your digital business card.
For a restaurant, having a well-optimized website is essential; when users search for something, they must find your website before finding that of your competitors.
We know, in fact, that 78% of all online searches are related to geolocation, so we have to be sure to appear in the top positions for all those local searches and keywords related to catering.
Do not trust in those portals that promise the SEO optimization, the SEO must be done following very precise analyzes, different for each website, sector, competitors and city (if we talk about local SEO).
It is essential to be present on social networks, but in a professional way. Our goal is to reach as many potential customers as possible.
Here too, it is necessary to set up a real publishing plan, without posting random contents or slightly relevant to your business, but sharing interesting news and interacting with customers.
Increase your word of mouth with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Foodiestrip, etc. The more interactions you will have, the more are the benefits; hashtags create awareness and help you reach as many users as possible: choose them carefully!
Don’t forget the “Google my business” and “foodiestrip” cards, claim your business and, if not listed, create it: it will be very useful for local and geolocalized searches.
Quality visual contents, photos, or videos help you promote your restaurant online. Pictures and videos are worth a thousand words.
Your goal is to create the so-called “wow effect” in the user. Take quality photos but also fun, and remember that images of cocktails or food, in general, are the most popular content on the Internet and on social media; moreover, these are contents that can quickly become viral.
Never forget to add your logo in the corner of the photo or video (brand awareness).
Posting the menu of your restaurant online gives a clear signal of transparency to the user. In fact, the menu and the prices are safe and objective, so they cannot be invented by those who, for example, write an online review, perhaps negative, based on price, etc.
Your users will already know what they are going to spend, what you serve and what you do not have, so to make a first and important selection of the target of your restaurant: this way you will attract only carefully “selected” users, thus avoiding easy misunderstanding.
If you already have a good menu, with a friendly, modern, updated, and optimized layout, you can use it, otherwise, take the chance to review it and update it. If you do not have an attractive and detailed menu, your potential customers may think that the food is not very attractive either.
Read all our tips on how to create a perfect and carefully designed menu:
The word target can be used to describe the market segment you want to reach. The questions we need to answer are: who is the restaurant addressed? Who are we going to cook for? Understanding the attitudes of your target will help you know what the culinary tastes of your customers are, how your clients prefer to enjoy the dining experience, and what needs the business owner must necessarily satisfy.
The more the offer is designed specifically for your target, the higher the adherence to customer expectations and needs, the better the reputation of the business (both online and off-line) with the consequent ability to attract and retain customers.
Therefore, for each product or service sold it will be necessary to proceed to outline the type of customers to whom you are going to refer and their main characteristics, such as for example sex, age group, profession, geographical origin and much more.
Knowing your target audience helps you understand how you have to behave, the products you want to bet on, etc., but it is also very useful to understand who our advertisements are for. This will allow us to reach the goal set with an action or an advertising campaign without wasting valuable resources.
Discounts, coupons, contests, and small gifts are an incentive for customers. Offer a drink, a coffee, a cake, or a bottle of wine are conventional marketing operations that every restaurant owner knows.
The digital world offers us the opportunity to use discounts and coupons to give to potential customers and to our followers even before they are physically inside our business, advertising them on social networks and providing the opportunity to “try” our restaurant.
But be careful, learn to use them carefully, or you risk to attract only those people hunting for discounts, as well as changing the restaurant’s position in the consumer’s mind (perception of a minor product).
Organize local food and wine events, host local food bloggers, and influencers in the food sector. They are an excellent advertisement that can be amplified by social media.
During the event, take photos, videos and live streaming, in exchange you can offer them a free meal (or arrange a fee): they will help you improve and increase your online reputation, positively influencing users’ choices.
The reviews decide your web reputation, that is what is said of your business on the Internet. It is a collection of feelings that your customers express towards your restaurant and your way of communicating. The better the restaurant’s image and reputation, the higher the possibility of attracting new potential customers. Stimulate them.
The major vehicles of online reputation are search engines like Google, social media, and review platforms (such as foodiestrip, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook). The last ones are the most used tools by your customers to describe you to other possible clients. So monitor all review sites and pay attention to what is written.
Always thank the customers who give you a positive review, and kindly reply to the negative ones. Try to solve any problems or misunderstandings that might have been, in order to turn a negative review into a positive point for your restaurant, giving the perception to the user that their observations are considered and can be a starting point for possible improvement. This will be worth more than a positive review: the user will also have the feeling that the restaurateur is a respectable and reasonable person, with whom one can speak and solve any possible problem.
Online advertising is a complementary part of the marketing strategy and must already be studied in advance. You should consider an annual budget, to be wisely exploited. It is not possible to get results for free or at no cost. So you have to try to maximize and optimize results without wasting resources.
Advertising a restaurant in Rome to a user in Milan is obviously wrong, and we would waste resources. So, invest well targeting your customers (choose who to show your ads) and above all, geolocate them. Make sure, then, that only users within a specific radius view the ads. Online there are advertising services that, through constant profiling, can perfectly select the required target (Google ads, Facebook ads, etc ..).
Also, pay attention to the schedules. Try to show your ads at specific hours when they can generate more interest in users (maybe, an hour before lunchtime, publishing a beautiful photo of a tasty dish can stimulate the appetite and the desire to come in your restaurant to taste it).
Monitoring your website, your facebook page, and all the tools you have is crucial.
Knowing the people that follow you online, who visits your website, what they do while on your site, where they came from, and when they visit your site are useful information. They let you understand in which direction you are going and if that undertaken is the right or wrong way.
Only by knowing your customers, you will learn how to satisfy their desires! Learn to understand your target.
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)