In today’s fiercely competitive environment, savvy digital marketing ideas are essential for your restaurant business. The restaurant industry suffered greatly during the pandemic and is still fighting many challenges on its way back to full health.
Running a successful restaurant requires strength in many areas. However, you can have the best chefs, experienced staff, and the finest ingredients, but if you don’t have any customers coming through the door, what’s it all for?
Creative and effective digital marketing ideas for restaurants increase profitability by:
Sounds great, right? But you may be wondering exactly how to use digital marketing to help your restaurant thrive.
Well, in this blog we’ll explain 3 essential digital marketing ideas for restaurants that you can use to gain a competitive advantage in your niche.
Local SEO uses various ranking factors, such as location, reviews, website content, and keywords, to decide which restaurants should appear at the top of search results. So, when potential customers search for “restaurants in *your area*”, your website must be configured to ensure it reaches the top of their page.
Having a strong local SEO presence helps your restaurant by:
But how do you do this?
To ensure your website ranks highly, implement the following tips:
Google Business Profile is a tool that allows you to manage your business’ official profile on Google. And as the most used search engine in the US, your Google Business Profile must be optimized. Here’s how:
Email marketing is a powerful tool for retaining and attracting restaurant customers. It allows you to stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis and promote your restaurant's latest news, offers, and events.
Email marketing can help you retain customers by:
Email marketing can also help you attract new customers. When you collect email addresses from potential customers, you can add them to your email list, giving you a direct line of communication with them.
You can then use email marketing to send potential customers information about your restaurant's menu, atmosphere, special offers, and events.
You may be wondering how to collect the email addresses of people who haven’t yet visited your restaurant. Here’s three easy ways to legally collect email addresses:
If you bombard your customers with irrelevant emails, they will unsubscribe, and you’ll lose that vital line of communication.
Instead, segment your email list into groups such as potential customers, new customers, loyal customers, and customers who haven’t visited in a while. This allows you to tailor the information or offers you send them, increasing your chances of engaging them.
Having a segmented email list will increase engagement, improve customer experience, and boost revenue.
Here are some tips for using email marketing effectively to retain and attract restaurant customers:
Your customers will receive many emails each day, so you have to stand out from the crowd. Sending long emails with no clear purpose will not grab customers’ attention.
Follow these simple rules for creating compelling email campaigns:
When done correctly, email marketing campaigns can drive customer engagement, boost revenue, and build a unique brand image for your restaurant.
The beauty of email marketing is that everything is measurable, so use that to your advantage in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Suppose you run a two-month email campaign promoting a discounted lunch deal on Mondays and Tuesdays. When the two months are up, how do you know if it worked?
Analyzing key data, such as open rates (% of people who open your email) and click-through rates (% of people who click the link in your email) will give you a better idea of what’s working well and what isn’t. That data can then be used to tweak your approach.
If your open rate is poor, try using more enticing subject lines. Also, ensure your email preview (the text that appears immediately after the subject line) is informative and clear.
If your click-through rate is poor, try simplifying your content and making your call to action clearer and more appealing. For example, “click here to receive a 20% off coupon now.”
When you re-run the campaign, you can use the same process to assess whether your changes were a success.
Put simply, social media is an absolute must-have digital marketing tool for restaurants these days. The stats speak for themselves. Over 302 million people use social media in the US — that’s 90% of the population.
Social media can help your restaurant by:
If you aren’t using social media, getting started can feel daunting. And if you are using social media, getting the results you imagined may be tougher than you first thought.
Well, let’s take a look at how your restaurant can boost its image using social media.
At its most basic, social media is a tool for communicating your marketing campaigns to the people you want to see them.
And of course, you want to reach as many people as possible. Social media use varies by demographics such as age and gender, so having multiple social media accounts is an easy way to increase your reach and tailor different content to your target audience.
Different sites are better suited for sharing different types of content. For example, Facebook is ideal for organizing special events which customers can RSVP and receive reminders for.
Twitter is great for engaging with customers via comments, TikTok for sharing behind-the-scenes videos, and Instagram works best for sharing pictures of your delicious food. So be mindful of which platform is best for sharing particular content.
So, you have your social media accounts set up but you’re wrestling between different ideas for posts across different channels. Here are some ideas for creating content that gets your customers talking.
Let’s not forget the ultimate goal here, getting people in the door and eating your food. So, make sure to share high-quality photos and videos of your food. This will help to whet people's appetites and get them excited about visiting your restaurant. A small investment in some equipment for photographing food, such as lighting and a reflector, can make a world of difference.
This is a great way to engage your followers and attract new ones. Offer prizes that your target audience will be interested in, such as free meals, gift certificates, or merchandise.
People love to see what goes on behind the scenes at their favorite restaurants. Share photos and videos of your chefs cooking, your front of house staff preparing for service, or a visit to your local supplier or farmer. This will help your customers build a more personal connection to your restaurant.
This will help to keep your followers informed about what's going on and encourage them to visit.
Responding to comments and questions promptly is important for customer service and engagement. By doing so, you can show your customers that you value their feedback and that you're committed to providing a premium experience.
Make sure to respond to all comments and questions, even if they're negative. Negative reviews can cause a little panic and fear but don’t react emotionally. Simply apologize for their negative experience and offer something to rectify the situation. This can turn a negative situation into a positive for your restaurant
In today's competitive restaurant industry, effective digital marketing is essential. While culinary excellence, experienced staff, and quality ingredients are vital, they're nothing without paying customers.
By implementing strategies to optimize your local SEO, email marketing campaigns, and social media marketing, your restaurant can set itself apart and thrive in a highly competitive landscape.
“In the labor numbers, we were reporting about a $300 to $400 difference than what we were getting through Push!”
-Tara Hardie, ZZA Hospitality Group, 16 locations