Updated 15th June 2020
Today almost every aspect of our lives involves the internet and mobile technology. Restaurants are no different - from social media channels to diners finding restaurants via search engines, having an online presence and using Inbound Marketing techniques are essential for your business.
Visiting restaurants is not only about enjoying delicious food but also the experience of quality service and pleasant ambience. If these is missing or not up to the mark, you might lose customers or risk your restaurant’s reputation altogether.
Now consider your service elements within the context of online marketing. Your website represents the very first impression you make on your customers - a chance to showcase the environment and ambience your restaurant offers. Website design can help create atmosphere before they even walk through the door. And the engaging content you publish online reflects the service you provide at the restaurant.
HOW CAN YOU USE INBOUND MARKETING FOR YOUR RESTAURANT?
Inbound Marketing brings huge benefits to all types of businesses. But how does it benefit restaurants specifically? How can online marketing techniques help bring more people to your restaurant?
The answer is simple: when people are looking for a restaurant = they're going to use search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. They may also check information about your restaurant on social media platforms.
If your restaurant is the top of the list it will allow more people to click on your website and find out about the services you provide.
To attract more visitors the first thing to do is design a beautiful restaurant menu. Upload the PDF version of your menu and make it available to download on your website as well as your social media pages. This makes it easily accessible for customers.
Restaurants with a PDF behind their website landing page can also control the information customers see, and use it to update them about special deals, new offers and events.
Another important aspect of Inbound Marketing is making your content user-friendly. Inbound Marketing also enables you to keep your customers updated about your latest offers and menus with attention-grabbing social media.
- Design a PDF file of your restaurant menu and make it available on your website.
- Ensure your website is user-friendly and keep your customers up-to-date.
Learn more about Inbound Marketing:
TYPES OF INBOUND MARKETING
There are different ways of Inbound Marketing that restaurants can adopt to promote their services. Here are a few examples:
Search Engine Optimisation helps you to raise your website listing on Google and other search engines. Your aim is to appear on the first two pages of Google for greater visibility. You can optimise your website by adding page titles, user friendly links, relevant keywords and keyword related content, and meta descriptions.
Learn more about SEO:
Restaurants must make use of social media to attract those who are most likely to use an online platform. Connect with your customers through commonly used channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Social media makes sharing information quick and easy. However, as social networks are very interactive, monitoring them requires effort and time. Use the right strategy and your efforts will pay off (more on this below).
CONVERSION RATE OPTIMISATION
As you begin to develop brand awareness, consider ways to turn occasional customers into regulars. You can do this by allowing easy access to your services, like offering online booking for seats in your restaurant. The more traffic you have, the higher number of online orders and booking you are going to receive. CRO is a way of making sure your web pages turn more site visitors into customers.
Once you have earned enough visibility online, make sure you monitor the feedback of your customers. Reflect on the views to improve your services. Engage with online reviewers to highlight positive comments and show that you are genuinely dealing with aspects of any negative ones.
- Improve your website listing on Google with SEO tactics.
- Connect with your customers on Social Media.
- Use CRO techniques to convert more web visitors into customers.
- Engage with reviewers to manage your online reputation.
3 KEY INBOUND MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR RESTAURANTS
Running a restaurant successfully is a huge challenge as there can be hundreds of restaurants in a single vicinity offering variety of cuisines. According to a recent study conducted by Cornell University, 27% of restaurant start-ups fail in the very first year.
Of those that survive the first year, 50% go out of business within the next 3 years.
This is due to the many issues that restaurant owners have to deal with on a regular basis, such as rising food costs, staff turnover, new competition, etc. These force restaurants to come up with a marketing strategy that can keep attracting past, present and potential customers in order to stay in business.
On the plus side, if given proper time and exposure, your restaurant can not only survive, but thrive in a competitive environment. If you have a solid Inbound Marketing plan, a faster on-boarding strategy to get off the ground quickly, you are guaranteed to attract more customers.
Here are a few key Inbound Marketing strategies for restaurants:
1. Professional Website With E-commerce
As a marketing agency, we strongly believe that your website is the main hub of your marketing strategy. Your restaurant website is your chance to make the first impression on your visitor, therefore, it has to be professionally designed, very user-friendly and mobile optimised.
For deliveries, your restaurant website must be able to take orders from customers where they can select items from your menu, make online payments and receive their order within 30-35 minutes.
Make sure your website is responsive to smartphones and tablets by automatically resizing to fit smaller screens.
Always use professional photos of your food so that it looks good enough to eat. Regularly update your website with engaging blogs because each new post is an opportunity for your restaurant to be found online. You can also share your blog link on social media to drive more traffic to your website and convert your visitors into leads.
2. Register Your Restaurant on Online Review Sites
Reviews are extremely important for your Google rankings and the reputation of your restaurant. The first thing you need to do, as soon as you have your website online, is to register yourself on popular review sites such as Yelp, Restaurant.com, Zagat and OpenTable. These are the sites that food lovers regularly visit to search the best restaurants.
3. Social Media
Social media is the key component of your restaurant’s marketing strategy. Facebook is the world’s largest social media network with over 1.2 billion users who share around 2.5 billion posts of content every single day.
All you need to do is to research where your target market is, and which is the most effective medium to reach out to them. Is it Twitter, Instagram or Facebook? Once you have set up your restaurant profile on social media channels you need to actively engage with your fans and followers by publishing interesting posts regularly on your page. This Inbound Marketing technique will help you reach out to millions of customers online.
- Create a marketing strategy (important).
ADVANTAGES OF INBOUND MARKETING FOR RESTAURANTS
The best thing about Inbound Marketing is how it develops a level playing field for businesses. Companies don't have to spend millions on their marketing campaigns to compete against larger organisations. Small scale restaurants can compete against other reputed restaurants by developing attractive content, and by interacting regularly with potential and existing customers.
For restaurants particularly, often unable to afford an expensive marketing campaign due to strict operating margins, Inbound is a great opportunity.
Restaurants are in the distinctive position of having a target market which is relatively small but very loyal. Social media gives restaurants the potential to interact and develop close relationships with customers.
Why spend thousands on print and media advertising when you can target your potential audience much more effectively using faster and cheaper marketing options?
Restaurants still trying to reach their customers using outbound marketing strategies should embrace Inbound Marketing. Inbound increases your visibility among customers, using targeted marketing techniques.
Use social media to highlight your existence by sharing pictures of the restaurant and staff on Facebook for example. This allows your Facebook community to connect with your food, atmosphere and the personalities of your employees, even when they're not present.
Regardless of what position your restaurant is currently in, you must keep revising your marketing strategy to drive sales. Inbound Marketing is the most effective way to do so.
- Create attractive content and interact with your potential and existing customers.
- Use targeted marketing strategies.
HOW CAN INBOUND MARKETING CAN HELP YOUR STARTUP RESTAURANT?
1. Let Your Customers Find You
Publish and share engaging content that will attract your audience on your restaurant's website and social media networks.
2. Attract New Potential Customers
Through social media you can understand the needs and preferences of your ideal buyer. By listening to feedback you can adjust your food and service according to what they like and dislike in restaurants.
3. Build Relationship With Your Customers
Once you've reached out to your target audience, it's time to nurture a healthy and interactive relationship with your prospects until they become your regular customers. For this you need to create, publish and promote content that is tailored to the needs of your clients.
You can stay in touch with your audience via email, workflows and lead scoring to boost your sales funnel upwards.
4. Get a Higher ROI
Once you've converted your leads into customers and made some sales, you'll be able to get a good return on your investment, both of your time and money. Inbound Marketing enables startup restaurants to not only attract new prospects but also retain them as permanent customers.
- Presence in social media increases your chances to get found and to attract new customers.
- Create, publish and promote content that is tailored to your customers needs.
More and more people today look for information about local restaurants on the Internet, especially search engines and social media pages. With a limited budget, most restaurant owners do not usually have enough funds to hire a professional sales or social media team to regularly market their restaurant.
But devising a strong marketing plan will prove very effective for your restaurant if it focuses on customer outreach and success.
The most important thing about Inbound Marketing for restaurants is to keep up with changing trends. New techniques are always being introduced so it's crucial to have a strategy to stay on top of your marketing efforts and remain competitive.