Use Online Marketing to Boost Restaurant TrafficBruce Shely
Drive More Traffic to Your Restaurant with Digital Marketing
Online marketing should be a part of every restaurant’s overall marketing plan. In today’s market, it’s not even an option. Restaurants need to embrace the power of the web and smartphone apps to entice more traffic into their establishments.
Technology is constantly changing and online or digital marketing, which involves websites, social media, and mobile campaigns, plays an integral role in the decision-making process for prospective customers. Online marketing has proven especially effective in attracting new customers. Of all online marketing influenced visits, 26% were first time visits to a specific restaurant.
According to research conducted by NPD, an online marketing company, online postings that influenced the greatest number of restaurant visits were:
- Deals/special offers (37%)
- Menu details (30%)
- General information (27%)
- Recommendations/reviews (14%)
- Restaurant location (13%)
- Loyalty program (12%)
- Pre-order online (10%)
- Nutritional information (10%)
- Other (20%)
Similar to other businesses such as retail, health, and travel, the influence of online marketing on the restaurant industry is expected to continue to significantly increase in the future.
Your website is still a powerful tool for reaching new patrons. Make sure all basic information is easily found and that it’s up-to-date. Prospective customers will visit your restaurant’s website if they need directions or want to see a menu before deciding to dine there. Your website should be mobile-friendly and include link(s) to any of your own business mobile app(s). Include special events, offers, blog, and social media networks. The more pertinent information on your site, the better.
Social media is a web application that enables users to engage in content creation, sharing, and interaction on the web. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Yelp are prime example of social media platforms.
These days, customers use social media sites to learn about a particular restaurant from friends and others who may have been there. In turn, they will share their experiences and suggestions with others. Social media is today’s word-of-mouth forum. Restaurant that are actively involved in social media can directly interact with customers and inexpensively target market to them.
For smartphone users, mobile applications (or apps) can be developed for practically anything. Mobile apps can be developed for making reservations, finding restaurants, counting calories, ordering online or even finding the right wine pairing for your meal. In today’s world, speed and convenience are key for customers on the go and dining apps make choosing the right restaurant as easy as making a phone call.
Blogging is another format that has proved to be a very cost-effective restaurant marketing tool. You don’t have to go crazy; create a blog that features fresh, relevant and attention-grabbing content such as pictures of your food, articles about upcoming events, and new menu items. Promote your blog on your website and on your social media sites. A basic blog can generate a lot of business for your restaurant.
Online Marketing Strategy
A comprehensive online digital marketing strategy is key to a flourishing restaurant business. In order to keep up with the demands of tech savvy customers and the ever-changing technological marketplace, make sure you put thought and care in your digital efforts, as you do with your service and menu offerings.