How To: Online Marketing For Restaurants

As a restaurant owner you will face many trials and tribulations including increasing food costs, arising competition, and staff turnover - all of which you are able to overcome as long as customers are walking through your doors. Whether you are a new restaurant or an old favorite, a strong marketing plan is the key to a thriving business. Check out these 5 must-have points to a successful restaurant marketing plan:

1. Professional Website

The start of any successful online marketing plan is a professional website. When potential customers visit your website they should be able to get a feel for your establishment, so don’t be afraid to show some personality. With this in mind your website also needs to be user friendly, informative, and mobile optimized.

2. Local Search

Showing up in search results is an important part of getting customers through the door. A key way to help your SEO is claiming your business through Google, which creates a Google+ Local Business Page. Make sure you fill out the profile fully along with uploading professional quality food photos. With this done you have a better chance of showing up on Google Maps and in Google’s Local Carousel (normally located at the top of the of the search page), both of which have great click through rates.

3. Online Reviews

Reviews are not only an important factor in your Google SEO, but they also are important to potential customers. Studies show that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With this in mind, claim and fill out your restaurant’s profile on popular review sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Restaurant.com. Also, encourage your customers to leave reviews and regularly monitor the web for them. Don’t be shocked if you receive a negative review - they can have a positive outcome. Use negative reviews as an opportunity to publicly show that you care and are working to fix the problem.

4. Social Media

Social media has become a vital part of any marketing plan. If your restaurant is new to the world of social media the first platform you should be on is Facebook. Along with their 1.13 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a great way to connect with customers and people that could potentially become customers. Post regularly and offer special promotions and giveaways to your fans to encourage engagement. Keys to Facebook success include paying attention to when your fans are online and what type of posts they like most. To learn more about Facebook check out our blog post about “Organic Reach on Social Media.” Other platforms that would be beneficial to your restaurant would be Twitter, and Instagram.

5. Community Events

If your restaurant has the space, hosting events such a live music or trivia nights draw in customers for a fun time that they can’t get at another restaurant. It’s easy to spread the word about these events by using social media and it also creates great user generated content when people post statuses or pictures about being at your restaurant’s event. Also, don’t be afraid to get involved in the community and take part in local fundraising opportunities such as donating time and/or food to a charity or group in need.