You may have been drawn to the restaurant business by a love of food, or perhaps it was the joy of delighting customers with your culinary creations. But as a business owner, you'll know that there's more to a thriving restaurant than just great food and service with a smile.
To run a successful business, you need a steady and increasing stream of diners who not only know your restaurant exists, but who regularly walk through the door and order your food. For this, you need more than a flair for food and a winning way with people - you need marketing.
There are many ways to market your restaurant business. Some of the more traditional 'old school' methods can still be effective. But in today's digital world, the most powerful and effective place to focus your restaurant marketing efforts and budgets is, without question, online.
Digital marketing is an increasingly popular option for modern businesses - with good reason. Not only can it be highly effective when done well - reaching customers who are ready, willing and able to spend, book and buy - but it is also much more affordable than many traditional methods such as print or TV advertising, publicity and PR.
So if you're looking to grow or improve your restaurant business, here are some of the best digital marketing strategies that savvy restaurateurs are using to drive covers.
Social Media Marketing for Restaurants
Whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or one of the many alternative networks, it seems as though the whole world is on social media in some shape or form. But is it just a fun way to communicate and share cute animal pics, or can it be effective in marketing your restaurant business?
A consistent, engaging social media strategy can work wonders for connecting with your ideal audience, as well as raising awareness of whatever is unique about your restaurant. With the low costs and few barriers to entry, social media used to provide a level playing field for small businesses and big brands alike.
Things have changed in recent years, however, as social media has become such a massive part of people's lives. Now it can require large budgets, teams of experts and full-time attention to compete with the top brands who are pumping thousands in to reach their customers.
One strategy that has become popular lately is to partner with a high profile influencer, i.e. someone who has already built up a large, loyal and engaged following on a particular social network. But again this now has become an in-demand marketing route and as such can often require the budget to match.
Although social media marketing can work brilliantly when done well, one of the downsides is that it's very difficult to track results and your return on investment. Likes may be encouraging and make you feel good, but they don't always translate into extra bookings and takings.
Marketing Your Restaurant’s Website with Fresh Content
If you love to write about your food and your restaurant, content marketing can be an enjoyable and effective way to reach your target audience. With seemingly the whole world online, sharing your passion and expertise via a blog or articles on other people's websites can be a great way to connect with like-minded food-lovers. And if you can master the skill of creating the right words and pictures to turn readers into diners at your restaurant, then this marketing strategy can be a relatively low-cost way to boost your business.
An effective content marketing strategy requires a high degree of consistency, which can make it a very time-consuming option. If, after a day (or night) of running your restaurant, you love nothing more than to write blog posts and take beautiful food photos, then this could be a winning strategy for your business.
However, you have to actually have the time to invest. Most find it very challenging alongside running a busy restaurant. You may find the demands of good content marketing to be too much extra work. And similarly to social media marketing, the direct impact and results of your efforts can be difficult to track and analyse.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) for Restaurant Marketing
If most of your time is spent creating delicious food and keeping your customers happy, one of the simplest online marketing strategies is also one of the most powerful and effective. Pay per click advertising, also known as PPC, is the modern equivalent of traditional print advertising but with one highly profitable advantage - you reach customers at the precise moment they are hungry and searching for somewhere to eat!
According to Google Ads research data, in the last 6 months, 92% of people searched for a restaurant online, with 20 million people around the world googling “Restaurants Near Me” every month.
Online search engines are undoubtedly the number one place people go to find their next restaurant experience. If you would like to be at the top of these search listings, then investing in PPC can be a fast and simple way to do it - and it can make a powerful difference to your restaurant's bookings and your business's bottom line.
One of the main advantages of PPC advertising is the ability to track and monitor what's working, enabling you to direct more of your budget to the strategies that prove they can deliver quality enquiries and bookings. So, if you're looking to boost your online traffic and get more customers into your restaurant, mastering PPC (or hiring experts) is one of the most reliable and trackable ways to improve and monitor the ROI on your marketing efforts. This makes PPC a calculated and sure way to scale your marketing efforts.
So, whatever the latest online trends, the 'right' marketing strategy is the one that allows you to focus on what you do best. This coupled with delivering the desired return on your investment equates to a golden marketing strategy you can scale.
If you’d like to understand how Google Adwords advertising could help your business get more customers through the door, get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss the opportunity with you in more detail.