The most important digital marketing tips for restauranteurs
Written by: Monica McCoy
One of the most requested services at Diligent is for digital marketing for restaurants in Barcelona, where our headquarters are located. Having a presence online is becoming more and more vital to a restaurant's success. This is why I'm going to share with you the most important digital marketing tips for restauranteurs.
There are many actions you can take to boost the quality of your online presence. Present and share quality photos of your food and services on your website and through your social media. Let your dishes take centre stage, let followers and visitors eat with their eyes, and provoke an impulse decision to book a table, for example. Build a strong business page from which you can launch well-segmented Facebook ads. Share interesting and relevant content with your followers. And encourage visitors at your restaurant to share photos on their RRSS feeds to get WiFi access.
Remember that before you start posting photos on your social media, you should prepare a good marketing plan. Define your audience you want to attract and brainstorm the most effective actions you can take to attract them. No one restaurant caters to all tastes, so don't over extend yourself trying to attract everyone, as it'll only be a waste of time and resources. Take into consideration what kind of restaurant you want to be and what kind of audience fits this image you'd like to transmit. If you want to be a luxurious, exclusive restaurant, an Instagram contest may not be the best way to boost engagement.
Marketing starts with a good product
To be honest, this applies to any sector and any type of marketing, whether it's online or offline. Nonetheless, it's even more important for restaurants. I'll explain with a personal anecdote. A few days ago I went to a restaurant after having seen some amazing photos of tapas that a friend found on Instagram. Once we arrived, we encountered a pretty standard place and food that was decent, but nothing more. Located in a spot surrounded by intense competition (near the saturated Rambla del Raval in Barcelona), I doubt I'll be going back.
You must keep in mind that consumers these days are very demanding and are well-informed. This means that if you want to gain their loyalty a few pretty photos online won't cut it. Moreover, you must keep in mind that platforms, such as Google Maps, Tripadvisor or Yelp place a great emphasis on the customer reviews of your restaurant. You'll be more or less visible depending on your ranking. So take good care of your clients, no matter what. You'll find that plenty of customers will leave a positive review if you put in the effort. Think of each and every client as a micro-influencer.
When you position a website, Google values the frequency with which you add new content. A blog can be a great tool to attract a flow of constant content on your website. You can offer cooking tips, nutrition advice or even healthy lifestyle hacks (healthy is the new sexy). Or if writing isn't really your thing, make some good Youtube videos to share interesting and relevant content with your followers. Content is a fabulous tool to turn your audience into loyal customers. It also helps you add value to the content you share on your social networks.
Receiving commercial emails can seem a bit intrusive and it can be, if done wrong. And your emails are always one click away from being sent to the spam folder and then you're banned from their inbox forever. However, a well executed newsletter can be an invaluable tool to stay in the minds of your clients. Think carefully about the timing and frequency of the emails you send. And take time to prepare interesting content that adds value with each email. This could be things like new items on the menu or upcoming events. You can also offer exclusive promotions, capturing leads and incentivising new subscribers.
Be careful when advertising promotions through reservation platforms
Some online reservation platforms let you easily launch offers and discounts that can reach thousands of potential customers. At first you might think it's one of the most important digital marketing tips for restauranteurs, but beware of this double-edged sword. On one hand, it makes your offers visible to a broader audience that you otherwise wouldn't be able to reach. On the other hand, it might attract the wrong audience, an audience only interested in good offers. These bargain-hunters are less likely to return unless they find another discount in the future. So use these platforms with caution.
Gaining visibility not only through your own Instagram but through that of your followers is a very interesting opportunity to take advantage of. There are many ways to achieve this, but contests on Instagram are one of the best tactics. Offer a prize for the best photos of your dishes and ask them to include are certain hashtag you've created. Then you can search that hashtag and find all the photos posted by the contest participants in order to find the winner. Remember to ask them to tag you in their post as well.
I found this very complete guide to launching a successful Instagram contest.
I hope these digital marketing tips for restaurants helped give you new ideas to attract new customers and create a loyal following for your business's imminent success.
'Til next time!