It’s no secret that the restaurant industry is a highly competitive, cutthroat market to be in. Knowing that 60 percent of restaurants fail within the first year and 80 percent fail within 5 years means that it takes a special type of person to be bold enough to enter the restaurant industry. That said, owning and running a successful restaurant is one of the most rewarding experiences for an entrepreneur. Digital marketing can be the difference-maker in the restaurant industry
Restaurants are only as successful as their most recent customer and their most recent online review. While much of the restaurant industry has stayed the same over the years, one thing has indisputably changed and that is marketing. The ability to get customers through the door means promoting with meticulous strategy. Billboards and flyers just won’t cut it anymore. Restauranteurs who outlast their competition understand that digital marketing is the key to winning big in 2020 and beyond.
The COVID-19 pandemic has unearthed a number of changes in how people conduct business and how consumers react to societal changes. Those restaurants lucky enough to survive coronavirus will likely tell you that it had nothing to do with luck at all. That’s right, the savviest restaurant owners have mastered the art of digital marketing.
Let’s break down some of the specifics.
A Plate Best Served Online
Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that most people consult their smartphone before making a decision about…well, anything. With this knowledge, it seems logical for a restaurant to invest in digital marketing. If so many people are relying on the internet for decision-making, why is restaurant marketing still a tough sell?
The pushback can be attributed to a range of issues, but the main holdup seems to be a hesitation in abandoning marketing tactics that used to work. The key here is to recognize that old marketing methods simply don’t cut it anymore. To stay competitive, restaurants must rely on digital outlets to push their brands and promote their food. From social media marketing to website optimization, staying ahead (in pandemics and normal life), means setting aside budget to digital marketing.
The following are some of the most notable ways that restaurants are taking advantage of digital marketing today:
Make Your Website Beautiful, User-Friendly, and Optimized for Search
A website used to be no more than a brochure. Today, a website is a lead generation tool, a data capturing giant, and a connection to your customer base. To be successful, restaurants need a website that not only looks great and functions perfectly, but it needs to be optimized to appear in Google search results. Your menu should be easy to read, your photos should be optimized, and your social media links should be prominent.
Running a restaurant promotion is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Doing so on social media means having the ability to target people based on location, interests, and user behavior. This means that you can talk to an audience who is ready to engage. Be sure to dedicate a lot of time and effort to crafting a social media marketing strategy that works for your location and target demographic.
Seek Out Influencers
Foodie bloggers are everywhere nowadays. With a quick search on Instagram you can instantly find out who loves food and who has a following of people who love food. Invite these people into your restaurant and pull out all of the stops. There is truly no better way to showcase your best dishes than with a nod of approval from someone who consumers already trust.
Don’t Neglect Email Marketing
Premiering a new dish? Running a special on an old favorite? Did you finally get new booths? These are notable announcements and they should be distributed in a well-designed email. Your customers want to hear from you. From a local pizza joint to a high-end steakhouse, hearing from a favorite restaurant is critical to remaining top-of-mind.
Restaurant Success Through Digital Marketing
There are so many ways to market a restaurant online that it can be overwhelming to weed through the good and bad methods. The truth is that most restaurant owners do not have the time to run digital marketing campaigns. As such, dedicating the budget for hiring a marketing company is critical. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that staying top-of-mind to customers can make or break any company. Digital presence does just that.
Could your restaurant use a boost in foot traffic? Big Customer Network is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.