The shifts to online marketing have been increasing rapidly for a number of years, and the events of 2020 massively accelerated this trend. The impact and effectiveness of digital marketing has made this strategy a powerful component of any modern marketing approach.
No longer are online strategies only for online businesses. Brick-and-mortar businesses that don't want to be left behind in the digital revolution are allocating more and more of their marketing budgets to the numerous online channels.
Why Digital Marketing for Restaurants?
Over the last decade, increasing numbers of restaurant owners have been exploring online strategies for reaching customers old and new - many with great success.
However, in recent times, with what seems like the whole world moving online, it is no longer optional to have a strong online strategy. For any hospitality business that wants to thrive in this new era, digital marketing is an essential part of the marketing mix.
Connecting with your customers online is so powerful because it reaches today's consumers where they're spending so much of their time; online.
This type of marketing is also incredibly popular with many small businesses because it can be highly cost-effective - there’s some type of digital strategy for even the smallest marketing budget.
Online marketing can also be an effective way to quickly boost traffic to your website, making it an ideal solution for businesses looking for rapid results.
With so many advantages, it's not surprising that online marketing is booming, with digital advertising spend in the UK alone topping £15 billion in 2020.
So, it's clear that some type of digital marketing is essential for modern restaurant businesses. But if you're new to reaching your customers online, or if you’re confused by the numerous different strategies and tactics, how can you know where to devote your time, attention and marketing budget?
To help you discover which of the different online channels for reaching restaurant customers will be the most successful for your business, here's a quick guide to three of the most popular and effective digital marketing strategies that work particularly well within the restaurant or hospitality industry.
1 - Social Media
No modern business can have failed to notice the explosion of social media in recent years. And while the social aspect may not suggest this is where users are planning or making purchases, the evolution of 'social commerce' is a multi-billion dollar industry.
The reason so many businesses of all sizes are keen to reach their customers via the numerous social channels is because this is where people are spending their time - in their billions.
With over half of the world's population spending a good portion of their day on sites like Facebook, there's a good chance that your customers are hanging out on these social channels. So, having a social media marketing strategy can be an effective way to connect with these customers.
The visual nature of many of the social networks also lends itself beautifully to the mouth-watering images of great restaurant food. Instagram and Pinterest, in particular, can serve as powerful virtual shop windows for your food.
As the social feeds get busier, being able to stop the scrolling action with an attention-grabbing photo of your restaurant's delicious offerings can be a great way to build awareness and grow the online buzz around your business, both of which can help to get more customers through your doors.
2 - PPC
Pay-Per-Click Marketing, known as PPC, is a type of paid advertising. You pay the search engines to advertise your business when users are searching for a particular term, such as 'restaurant near me' or ‘vegan cafes in London'.
The fact that you can tailor your ads to highly specific search terms means that this type of online advertising can offer an incredibly high ROI. You don't pay to advertise (and get lost ) in the sea of general searches, because you can be at the top of the searches for your specific niche or speciality.
The people using these specific search terms are the most likely to be your ideal customers - looking for precisely what you have to offer.
PPC is one of the older forms of digital advertising yet it’s still going strong - because it’s so powerful. It connects your business with potential customers at the most effective time, i.e. when they are actively seeking a specific solution or resource.
This strategy is extremely effective within the restaurant and hospitality industry because it gets your business details front and centre on the search engine results pages precisely when hungry users are looking for somewhere to eat.
3 - E-mail Marketing
Building a database of customer details has long been good practice for any business, and email marketing is simply the modern-day equivalent of that proven strategy. The main idea behind this form of digital marketing is in building relationships with potential customers, as well as strengthening connections and inspiring loyalty with existing or past customers.
The advantage of this type of digital marketing strategy is that your business owns the customer database, something that has the potential to increase in value over time.
With overflowing inboxes, the competition for customer email addresses is becoming increasingly fierce. It's no longer enough to simply ask for their details, businesses must offer tantalising freebies, discounts or other goodies to effectively grow their email list. Once these are in place, however, it's relatively easy to add more and more eager customers to your database.
While email marketing can take a little longer to become effective, it has the advantage of being one of the more long-term marketing strategies. Email is unlikely to disappear in the near future, making this kind of customer connection a great way to woo current customers, as well as becoming a valuable asset in the years ahead. Email marketing makes a great addition to the other traffic-generating strategies, such as social media and PPC.
SideDish Media Restaurant Digital Marketing
All of the digital marketing strategies above have their advantages and disadvantages, and what may be perfect for one business may not necessarily be as effective for another.
However, if you're looking for rapid, measurable results with your restaurant marketing, here at SideDish Media have years of expertise working with Pay-Per-Click advertising - we know it works, and it can be particularly effective within the hospitality industry.
We would love to share our proven results to help you get more customers discovering your business and becoming regular diners.
Contact us today for a free consultation to see just how effective this area of digital marketing can be for your restaurant.