Pay-per-click (PPC) is undoubtedly powerful in modern marketing. And the good news for restaurant owners is that it can work particularly well in tapping the rich streams of hungry diners searching for local eateries.
While it can seem a little complex at first, the principles are quite simple. Here are six tips for getting more diners through your doors using pay-per-click advertising.
Choose the Right Keywords
When aiming to reach potential customers via any of the search engines, it's essential to know the precise keywords and search terms they’re using when they take out their phone to look for a restaurant.
So for any search-based marketing, being clear on the right keywords to target is important. But when you’re paying for each and every click, you'll want to make sure you're only ranking for the keywords that are likely to translate into sales and income for your business, or at least, high quality leads that you can nurture (for example with remarketing). There are also gains to be had in experimenting with the right mix of broad terms and more specific (long-tail) keywords.
As keywords play such a vital role in both getting your PPC ads in front of the right customer, and at the same time paying as little as possible for your ads, this is one area where you might want to enlist the help of PPC experts.
Keep It Local
Unlike many online businesses, you're not aiming to reach the entire internet. Restaurant customers are likely to be searching for somewhere to eat close to where they are. There are certain keyword add-ons and profile settings that you can use to help you be laser-focused in targeting hungry searchers close to your restaurant premises.
Not only will these highly-targeted tactics help you to connect with the people who are actively searching for a restaurant in your location, you’ll also likely pay less for the clicks because the search term is narrower and more specialised.
Optimise for Mobile
With the boom in smartphone use in recent years, the trend of searches on mobile devices has exploded. This applies to almost all sectors - the vast majority of searches are done using a mobile phone - but it is particularly relevant in restaurant marketing.
While some of your customers may do their restaurant research before they leave the house, you can bet that a good proportion of them will be looking for somewhere to eat while they're out and about, perhaps en route to meet friends or feeling peckish after a night out.
So, optimising for mobile is essential for a successful PPC restaurant marketing campaign. The prevalence of mobile use can also help your customers get in touch with you more quickly and easily. Instead of having to search for your phone number once they land on your website, with the right PPC setup, those potential diners can 'click-to-call' as soon as they click through on your ad. Making it easy for your customers is a winning strategy in the competitive restaurant sector.
Consider Negative Keywords
Although it’s a somewhat advanced strategy, giving some thought to negative keywords that might filter out any unwanted traffic can be an effective way to optimise your ad budget. For example, if your restaurant doesn't offer many options for vegan or gluten-free diners, you might want to ensure you don't pay for clicks from people searching for those types of food.
While this approach is an extra layer of specificity that should reduce clicks from people who aren't your potential customers - and as a result, reduce wasted ad spend - it does require careful balance and expertise. This is the kind of advanced level PPC marketing that might benefit from split-testing (also known as A/B testing.) If this is a new area for you or your marketing team, you'd be wise to leave this to the professionals.
Get Smart with Retargeting
The smartest online advertisers know the power of retargeting. It's a strategy that can really boost a PPC campaign's success, and it works extremely well for businesses within the hospitality sector.
But what is retargeting, or as it’s sometimes called, remarketing? If you're not familiar with the term, it simply means identifying people who are already familiar with your business, your competitors or a specific niche.
For example, if someone clicks through on one of your PPC ads and discovers your website and your restaurant, even if they don’t book that day, they have become what's known as a 'warm lead', as opposed to people who have never heard of your business, ie cold leads.
With online advertising, you can identify and then market specifically to potential customers who are already familiar with your service. Converting warm leads into paying customers is notoriously easier, quicker and cheaper than broader marketing to the masses. By connecting directly with this audience - using special digital tracking tools and settings - you can tailor your ads to the type of search users most likely to convert into enquiries and bookings or orders. PPC ads are a great way to take advantage of this powerful and potentially lucrative online marketing strategy.
Monitor & Improve
Whatever PPC strategies you implement, it's important to monitor your results so that you know whether you're getting a good ROI. And when you discover what works well in your area and your niche, you can experiment further with more resources or increased refinement within that channel.
However, while the stats and data can provide useful insights and highlight trends, it's helpful to view any online advertising campaign as an ongoing process that can and will shift over time. Things can change with lightning speed on the internet, with cultural trends and world events impacting what users are searching for and how they are doing it. This is another reason that hiring experts - professionals whose job it is to know the latest trends and predict future shifts - can help you maximise your PPC success without taking up the time you need to run your business.
If you’re ready to find out just how powerful PPC ads can be in reaching your target audience, book a Free Consultation with the team at SideDish, who are proven leaders in using PPC for restaurant marketing success.