Whether you are an owner of a public renowned restaurant or not, you should strongly build a presence online. Connecting with your prospects and customers is a must in building the name of your restaurant. This will also help you in adding credibility and authority of your business. However, if you don’t even have a website or an account on social media platforms, you will surely lose authority. Consequently, you can achieve this by using this, “Restaurant Digital Marketing Guide for 2020!”

Digital Marketing

Running a restaurant is not what it used to be. In the past, the only way to get customers is through personal word-of-mouth. Then, to turn them into loyal customers, you should provide them the best foods and services that you have.

However, this simple way of marketing your business needs to change as the restaurant industry becomes more competitive every year. Restaurant owners want to reach more audience and increase their revenue better than what they have achieved in the past.

To achieve success, you need to use the newest form of tools and technology like the digital media. This includes electronic devices, and the Internet which is a massive network of networks that connects people across the globe.

This is what we call digital marketing. It is the process of marketing your products and services through digital technologies and platforms on the internet.

If you haven’t noticed yet, people across the globe are mostly using the Internet. As of October 2019, almost 4.48 billion people are active users of this network. This number is bigger than China which is the biggest country in the world.

This is the reason why restaurants of all sizes are utilizing this network. As more people continue to use the Internet, the more people they could reach. With this, they can easily be easily converted into customers and loyal ambassadors of your restaurant business.

Remember that the restaurant industry is changing every time and it is for you to keep up with the competition. Hence, with these changes and with the Internet continually dominating the industry, it is time to step up your game!

Restaurant Digital Marketing

These days, people search for restaurants first before actually dining into one.

According to Upserve, a restaurant management platform, that 90% of people research a restaurant online before dining. The most essential aspect that people search in restaurants online are reviews as 92% of consumers read it first and 33% of these people even stated that they would never eat in a restaurant with less than four stars.

This only means that people nowadays have become more picky in choosing the right restaurant that they should dine.

With this data, you should certainly use restaurant digital marketing.

This marketing strategy mainly focus on building an online presence for your restaurant business. In doing this, you should first create an optimized and professional looking website that accurately represents your business. Then, establish your social presence by creating accounts on your chosen social media platform. You should also list your restaurant to Google My Business and other business listing sites.

Doing all of these are necessary if you want to increase the number of people dining in your restaurant. This will help tourists and dining searchers know about your business when they search in the locality. Thereby, they will know more about your business and easily locate it.

Moreover, there are various digital marketing strategies that you should also add in your overall marketing strategy. These include content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, advertising, and social media marketing.

The above marketing strategies won’t just help your customers, these will also help you. Since all of the above strategies are necessary in increasing leads to your restaurant business, all of these will significantly affect the sales and the identity of your business.

Hence, use restaurant digital marketing to improve the reach of your business and increase your sales!

The Benefits of Digital Marketing for the Restaurant Industry

Restaurant digital marketing doesn’t just involve one strategy. This needs various digital marketing strategies in order to achieve your goals. Although, this process is not simple, achieving your goal will surely be worthwhile using this digital marketing.

Aside from increasing the reach and gathering more customers for your restaurant, there are other things that your restaurant can benefit from this marketing technique. To give you the details, here are the top benefits that you can achieve in using restaurant digital marketing:

  • Develop Brand Authority

In creating your online presence, you also let your customers know more about you. The more content and information you provide in all of your online channels, they will gain more insights about your restaurant business. With  this, they will look at your business not just a local brand but an authority in the restaurant industry. Hence, you will be able to develop a brand identity of your own.

With this in mind, before publishing your website, identify first your brand identity. Your website visitors won’t be converted into loyal customers if your overall marketing doesn’t stand out. This means that you should stick with your branding on all of your online platforms. Hence, create content from social media posts to emails that clearly tells what your business is all about.

  • Build Customer Connection

Reach is not the ultimate metric in identifying the success of your content but engagement and connection do. In creating an online presence, you can easily connect with your customers. However, this doesn’t mean that when you are already renowned in your industry, you will just leave their messages and comments behind.  Besides, no matter how high your content reach are, if you haven’t connected with your prospects, it’s still no use.

Moreover, instead of just posting about your food, beverages, and other services, focus on showing the personality of your business. Your online platforms should not just focus on your business, it should also put emphasis on your prospects and consumers. With this, create content that are made to help and encourage these people to communicate with you. In return, reply to their comments and messages too. This way, you are not just engaging with your prospects and customers, you are also building a connection with them.

  • Gather Feedback Reel-time

With your website, social media accounts, and online listing, you can easily gather feedback from customers. This also gives your customers a direct way to share their reviews on your restaurant business. Hence, this will let you hear what they like and hate about your business.

However, not all reviews are good and it is for you to handle it in a professional manner. On the Internet, people don’t hold back when criticizing other people and brands. This means that once in a while, you will surely receive criticisms about your restaurant business.

When bad reviews and online criticisms happen, you should not ignore these. Instead, pay attention to any details reflected in the reviews as these still say a lot about your business. Ask yourself, do you receive criticisms on a specific aspect or your overall service? Are people complaining a lot about your food and beverages? If so, then you should change how you present all of these. Take this as a way to provide better online content and services to your customers.

Restaurant Digital Marketing Strategies

Restaurants need to have a digital marketing strategy in dealing with their prospects and customers online. By using a well-cooked strategy, you can gather enough foundation  for all of your campaigns. This way, you know exactly where you are going and what you will do to achieve it.

So, what really are the recipes for your restaurant’s success?

Well, in restaurant digital marketing, the victory lies on each step you take in establishing your online presence. These steps are essential in your journey as these represents how well you handle your prospects and customers online. With this in mind, here are the strategies that you should add in your restaurant digital marketing recipe!

Improve SEO ranking

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tells restaurant searchers on how well your website and business rank on different search engine platforms. This means that search engines focuses on technical and creative elements of your website by looking at its searchability and readability.

Due to this, you should improve your SEO ranking by creating an  optimized website and listing your restaurant business on Google My Business and other similar local listing sites.

By doing all of this, you will improve your ranking in search engine results, increase awareness about your restaurant business, and drive traffic into your website and into your physical resto.

  • Website Optimization

Your website is one of the main places that you spread the branding, message, and campaigns of your restaurant business. This is the best place to market your foods, beverages, and other services online as it becomes the digital storefront of your resto.

Moreover, according to the Datareportal’s Digital 2019: Global Digital Overview that there are already 5.11 billion unique mobile users across the world. This only means that most of your target customers are not just using computers and laptops, they are already on mobile. For this reason, you need to make your website ready and optimized to all electronic devices.

To help you get ready with your website optimization, first create a professional-looking website. This site should not be one of those sites that have free domains. Do keep in mind that your website represents your restaurant business. Hence, you should buy your own domain name and web hosting.

Afterwards, add menu and flavors to your digital storefront. If you don’t want customers flocking into your website but not ordering online or reserving a set to your physical restaurant, then you should add images and details into your website.

People mainly want to know more about your restaurant before going into your place. This only says that you should provide them the phone number and other business details that they could use in contacting your business. Add th

Then, to keep them delighted into visiting your restaurant, provide them the pictures of your physical location, logo, and menus. Make sure to add a description, and the price for each food when creating a menu, and choose the perfect photo for each food. Also, make your possible customers know how it feels to visit your restaurant by posting eye-catching photos of your location.

Lastly, optimized your website to all electronic devices. Is your website viewable to phones, tablets, and other devices? Have you used a responsive design for your site? Don’t it takes too long to respond? Is your website easy to navigate? If your answer on all of the questions is yes, then you are good to go. If not, then optimize your website.

Keep in mind that website optimization is an important aspect in your lead generation. Don’t let your possible customers be annoyed by your website, instead make it the best place to know more about your restaurant business.

  • Local SEO listing

Other trigger for your SEO ranking are local listing sites like Google My Business and Bing Places for Business.

By listing your restaurant business in these sites, you let prospects and past customers locate your business easily. Like in your website, you are also allowed to add pictures of your physical place and contact details. Google My Business also lets you post various content for your customers like announcements, offers, event details, and whatnot. Hence, you can directly communicate with your customers, and promote your business.

Moreover, by doing this, you also improve your customer’s experience. People who want to visit your restaurant can ask questions about your product and services. By answering their queries in public or private, you are able to help them decide what to do next. These websites also let past customers post their reviews, add pictures, and rate the services of any businesses like yours. With this, they are not just helping other people, they are also helping you to improve your services. Hence, you can solve both the problems in your overall service and your customer’s experience.

So, how does listing your restaurant in various listing sites affect your SEO ranking? Well, the more searchable you are, the more search engines recommend you to people who are searching for restos in a local area. Even when you list your business to other websites, search engines will still think of it as a trigger to increase your rank. With this, search engines will put your listing to relevant search results according to their user’s intent.

Increase Reach with Content

Content marketing is another strategy that lets you reach broader audiences. This is a strategic marketing approach that is focused on creating and distributing relevant and consistent content in order to attract and retain audiences. With the use of this approach, you can build a name for your restaurant business, reach more audience that can be turned into customers, and increase your sales.

This approach works hand-in-hand with SEO. The more valuable content you post, the more search engines think of your brand as an authority in the industry.

You see, content marketing is an organic approach that you can use in your website. However, this doesn’t mean that doing this is as easy as boiling fettuccine. This marketing strategy involves a lot of research and planning. Keyword research is essential in creating content in order to rank high on your target keyword. Moreover, content alone is not enough, you should provide value to your customers and audience. Hence, you need to use these types of content below that have been a trend in content marketing nowadays:

  • Blogs

To tell you the truth, blogging is not yet dead. It’s just that more people prefer other types of content or reading content on other platforms. Besides, as social media platforms continue to grow, people just prefer to read content on those places. So, you should still use blogging but change how you reach your audience.

In order to reach more audience, be present on social media platforms. Billions of people are already using these kinds of networks. Because of this, you should target new customers on these platforms too. Share your blogs on social media and provide captions that entices your target people.

Another thing to keep in mind is that more people are using voice search nowadays. According to ComScore that there were already an estimated one billion voice searches per month in 2018 and that in 2020, over 50% of the searches will be from voice search.

With more people using voice search, you should incorporate your blog content with this trend. Thereby, you should optimize and adapt your content for voice search.

First, provide more time on semantic search. Write blog content in a natural and conversational voice. You also need to understand the intent of the search users, target long-tail keywords, provide concise answers and focus on action queries.

Then, include a structured data markup in the backend of your website. Doing this is necessary so that search engines will understand your content better.

Hence, don’t forget blogging as one of the most effective ways to reach customers. Create blogs for your website and incorporate it with the latest trends in content marketing.

  • Images

Images is one of the visual contents that you can post together with your long-form content. Text, alone, instantly bore readers. However, with images and other visual content, your target customers will become more inclined with your overall content.

It is advisable to split the body of your content with some visual content. In adding these to your long-form content, your images should be relevant to the overall content. Make sure that it is also perfectly suited on the goal of your content. Aside from that, if you have a branding, you can add it to these visual content.

Other than enticing your audience, these kinds of content will also help you increase the reach of your restaurant business.

Nowadays, other than the voice search, people like to find products, services, and other things through visual search. By doing this, people can upload an image to a search engine or copy the link of the image in the search box. Then, after choosing it, search engines will then give the specific results.

In order to rank high on visual results, optimize your images and visual content. First, optimize the size of your image and its type. The bigger the size of your visual contents are, the more your website performs slowly. So, optimize it to the appropriate size and type. Then, add a long-tail keyword in your image alt-text, title, and description. This will help search engines read what your images are all about because technically, search engines cannot view visual content. Lastly, include a caption. Carefully describe what your photos are and if there are people in it, highlight their names from left to right.

  • Videos

Video has become the biggest trend in the Internet today. People now consume more videos other than normal content. Besides, according to Cisco Visual Networking Index Complete Forecast, it was predicted that nearly 1.9 billion Web video users will be watching 3 trillion minutes of videos per month in 2021. Hence, you must grab the attention of your potential customers with videos.

In order to achieve this, you must know the reason why more people utilize videos. Well, this form of content is more compelling than text. This drives more organic search results for 50 times. This is why search engines pushed videos on the top part of search results because this technology knows how people utilize content on the Internet.

However, this doesn’t mean that you will just upload videos and that’s just it. In creating and uploading videos as a part of your marketing strategy, you need to add a caption as it helps your SEO ranking increase.

To achieve this, create a transcriptions or the text version of your video. Then, upload the video on any social networking sites. Afterwards, add the transcription as a subtitle or closed caption of the video. You can even create a blog or podcast out of the video content in order to really utilize its uses.

Get Personal with Email

Email marketing is one of the most personal marketing strategy as this involves sending something to someone through their email addresses.

By using this in your overall digital marketing strategy, you can effectively convert your prospects into customers and turn them into loyal fans and ambassadors of your restaurant business.

Like the above marketing strategy, this also needs time to plan and execute.

  • Lead Magnet

This is the first part of your email marketing strategy. Lead magnets are things that you offer in exchange of the email addresses of your audience.

Some of the widely used lead magnets are ebooks, checklists, webinars, case studies, and quizzes. To connect this with your restaurant business, you can use coupons, free meals, secret recipes, and others that you can offer from your business in exchange for their email addresses.

Just keep in mind that for your customers to give their email addresses, you should take a lead magnet as one of your content. Make it valuable, relevant, consumable, and actionable. This way, they are enticed on what your lead magnet offers and they will directly give what you want.

Of course, keep in mind that in doing this, you are already asking for their personal information. So, create a privacy policy on your website and highlight the information that you will gather and the information that you will provide into their email addresses every time an audience give you their emails. This way, you are protecting yourself from legal challenges.

  • Segmentation

After gathering emails from various audiences, properly group your audience. This is what we call email segmentation wherein you break your subscribers into smaller groups based on various criteria like their demographics, interests, and others.

Doing this is especially important as this lets you personalize your email campaigns to achieve success. Not all of your online prospects, customers, and audience have the same background and interests. In grouping all of them and sending an email to all of these people, this prompts then not to open your email. Unfortunately, this could also result for some of them to unsubscribe to your email list. However,when you segment all of your emails into groups, this will let you send content that each of the groups will find relevant.

In segmenting your email lists, you can group them according to preferences, new subscribers, interests, open rate, location, inactivity, and lead magnet.

  • Quality Email

Don’t overlook that email are content too. This means that you should treat each of your emails like how you treat the content that you provide through your various online platforms.

First, make your subject line stand out. Prospects check the subject line of an email first. For this reason, you should entice their curiosity so that you would increase your email open rate. Another thing that you can do is to make your subject like as friendly and conversational as a friend.

Then, make your content solely written just to one person. Yes, you are writing not just to one audience but to more people. However, this doesn’t mean that you should speak like a person talking in front of a crowd. Instead, write the body of your email like how you send email to your one friend whose out of the country. Other than that, keep in mind that every email should provide value to those who will be receiving it.

Lastly, optimize your emails. People these days use their phones and other devices to connect with people across the globe and part of this are your emails. Make your emails responsive to these electronic devices. Then, consider that your media should be easily loadable so that your customers can easily recognize it. Besides, sometimes, Android smartphones turns off images by default, so be careful with these.

In optimizing your emails, keep your format simple. Keep it under 600px wide so that it can easily be seen through mobile. Then, use large fonts because small fonts are not readable, especially on mobile phones. If you are still keeping your media, make sure that these are smaller messages so that this can be viewed by your customers easily. When using links, don’t use two links next or close to each other so that your target customers don’t tap the wrong link by accident. Lastly, large buttons are advisable when creating a call-to-action, so use these.

Social Media Marketing

Internet users mostly have social media accounts. According to the Global Digital Report 2019, there are already 3.484 billion social media users worldwide. This is why small businesses and big brands across the globe are utilizing these platforms to increase the reach and sales of their businesses.

  • Biggest Platforms

There are various social networking platforms on the Internet. But the question is, what platforms should you use for your restaurant digital marketing? Well, the truth is, it’s for you to decide. For this reason, we have research how each biggest social media platforms on the Internet differs from each other and what content and voice you should use when handling these for your social media marketing strategy.

Facebook

This is the largest social media platform and it has the biggest number of users across the globe. Other than its huge number of users, this platform also lets businesses across all sizes establish and monitor their Facebook presence by their Page. This is the reason why most businesses and offices use this rather than the other platforms.

In using Facebook, use conversational and often informal voice that playfully engages with your restaurant audience. This also cater long-form of content however also add images, videos and other visual content in order to capture the attention of your prospects and customers. In order to widen your reach, Facebook also lets restaurant owners like you build groups or community, make contests, and add call-to-actions that lets them visit your website, join their email lists, or whatnot.

Instagram

Mainly focused on photos and good aesthetics, the main users of Instagram are Millennials. The best way to spread more information on this site is to have good quality pictures with captions that is conversational and engaging. Instagram also lets you post long-form videos through IGTV, Live, or Stories to promote events, offers, and other important activities in your restaurant. To reach more people with your eye-catching images, don’t forget to use hashtags, add your location, ask questions or use polls.

YouTube

More and more people are using this platform to watch videos. If you have a long-form video of an event in your restaurant, you can promote it on this site. To optimize your video, add a description about that video, use tags to reach audience following the same tags, share links of your other social media accounts, and connect with your audience in the comment section.

Twitter

Although, this is not as big as Facebook, this platform is still widely used across the globe. In using Twitter, you can send quick information, messages and reminders with its 140-character limit in every posts. This also lets restaurant owners like you to research on ongoing trends with the use of hashtags. Also, you can directly ask questions using the threads and polls. Do keep in mind that this platform requires a human voice as its main advantage is interaction.

LinkedIn

Mainly used by business owners and professionals, you can use LinkedIn to connect with other people in the industry. This also lets you gain industry insights that could be helpful in building the name of your restaurant business online. Because this is more of a professional networking site, the best that you can do is to make your voice formal.

  • Social Media Policy

Whether you like it or not, a social media crisis is surely unavoidable. However, you can lessen the impact of this tragedy by creating a social media policy. This policy is a code of conduct that your team should follow in using social media.

In crafting this, clearly provide the guidelines on how to use each of your social media accounts and what are the prohibited things to share on your business accounts. This should also include these components:

Social Media Team

Clearly state who are the people behind your social media accounts. This doesn’t mean that you should provide their personal information. Instead, clarify that you have a team behind every activity in your various accounts.

Conflict Plan

You should have a plan on how to solve conflicts. This should include response during crisis, message approval, social engagement and information management.

Personal Accounts Guidelines

It is clear that your social media team also have their personal accounts on these platforms. However, whether they are using their own or your restaurant’s accounts, there should still be a guidelines for them to follow as what they do reflect the place they work on.

Potential Legal Risks

You should also include the guidelines on copyright, confidentiality and disclaimers to avoid potential legal risks. Provide a clear instruction on how to use and credit third-party content. Also, give your team a guidelines on which information are allowed to be shared and what should be kept. Lastly, inform them on how disclaimers work on social media.

Employee and Account Security

The best thing to avoid security breach on social media is keeping your accounts secure. So, include guidelines that would help your team in preventing this problem. Then, make sure that every account has a secure password and set up a two-factor authentication.

  • Engagement

Reach doesn’t reflect the success of your social media marketing strategies but engagement does. With this, you should not just post content, you should also connect and engage with your audience.

You need to nurture your audiences. Answer their queries, comment on their shared post, check-ins and other engagement styles that will open a conversation. Immerse them in your industry and make them come back to your business pages again and again.

Achieve engagement by building a relationship with your prospects and showing the human side of your brand.

As what Holly Chessman from GlowTouch Technologies said, “A company that simply uses social media as a medium for advertising is losing out on the most important piece: the “social” aspect, where you have the opportunity to build those all-important connections.”

Social media platforms are made up of users whose main purpose is to build a social network and if you only post advertisement about your business, then you might want to reconsider. The key here is to make sure that they’ve come to an active brand that cares for their digital audiences in all of the stages of the buyer’s journey. So, post educational content, shared articles and blogs about your industry and such to avoid losing audiences. Tailor your content for them and when a prospect engages on your posts, make sure you reply to them.

Advertising

This has become a major component in the digital marketing strategy of various industries online. Advertising, if you haven’t heard yet, is a traffic generation strategy that is used to promote your brand and generate sales. By using this strategy, businesses across the globe pay advertising platforms to promote their products and services to various online platforms in the Internet.

Although this sounds easy, the success of your advertisement still lies in your content. This means that no matter how perfect your services and offers are, if your ads are not eye-catching and click-worthy, you will surely fail in your advertising goal. Thereby, you should create a perfect image or video content for your ads.

In terms of type, there are various kinds of advertising techniques. These include native advertising, display advertising, search engine marketing, and social media advertising, and Pay-Per-Click marketing. Although these advertising approach are displayed on different platforms, all of these are similar in one thing — these only allows you to pay when someone clicks your advertisement.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising allows your restaurant business to use advertising platforms to put your content in the front line. You will only pay the online advertisers like Google Ads when someone clicks on your advertisements. This cost is according to the market value of the keyword that you try to target. In using a keyword as a key identifier of your message chain, you can track the results of your advertisement campaigns.

Before advertising, you should first create a perfect landing page. According to Madeline Blasberg, digital marketing manager at Leadpages, that a landing page is a web page specifically designed to prompt visitors to take an action. Thereby, after clicking your advertisement, a potential patient’s journey must end up with a booking appointment or other actions that you want your future customers to take.

Moreover, a landing page’s primary purpose is to increase conversion. This page is useful when you’re promoting events, products, and services. Take note that you need to completely fill all the information on this page to prevent prospects from bouncing off your page and not becoming one of your customers.

In creating a landing page, fit all the information of your one-time deal and services through different elements. Identify your lead story and provide the purpose of your landing page. Decide what content to be used and don’t forget to include call-to-action buttons. Your web designers might also suggest you use a template that’s not crowded and is optimized for all devices.

Now that you are ready, then you can choose on these different categories for PPC:

  • Paid Display

These are advertisements that are located on the top or side corners of any website. These can range from video ads, traditional banners, and even photo or infographics. These types of ads are reserved for paid advertising and are aimed to generate a call-to-action.

  • Paid Search

These are also known as search ads which are online ads that appear in search engine results like Google Adwords and Bing Ads. When a person searches a keyword related to your line of business, search advertisements are the ones that will appear on top areas of the SERP.

  • Paid Social

This is also known as social advertising which are ads that appear on social media platforms. To promote your restaurant, you can boost posts, offers, and promotions through this. Social advertising can help you target potential patients depending on their demographic and behavioral parameters. This also allows your business to reach relevant people who are most interested in your restaurant and retarget those who have connected with your business but didn’t continue.

Key Takeaways

Creating a digital marketing strategy for your restaurant business requires various techniques and approaches for you to achieve your digital marketing goals. You need to learn a lot of strategies so that you can perfect all of your campaigns online. This means that you should know how your website and social media platforms work.

Although, there are changes in the restaurant industry especially in marketing your products and services, there are things that haven’t changed at all. These are your branding and personalization. Clearly deliver the message of your restaurant with your branding and customize your products and services so that your customers will keep coming back. Hence, these two should be closely related to all of your digital marketing strategies

However, as a business owner, it is understandable that you don’t have the time in the world to learn about digital marketing strategies, tactics, trends, and tools for your restaurant. So, we recommend that you outsource your digital marketing needs to an internationally-awarded digital marketing agency whose major strength is delivering output based on your needs!

So, this is the “Restaurant Digital Marketing Guide for 2020.” Use this to leverage your digital marketing strategies, improve the reach of your restaurant, and increase your sales!

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