6 Digital marketing solutions every restaurant should try

6 Digital marketing solutions every restaurant should try

The right digital marketing solutions in your restaurant's marketing plan can give you the buzz you need to be successful. It's no secret that the restaurant industry is one of the toughest to break into, let alone survive. How can your restaurant stand out among such fierce competition? Keep reading for the top six digital marketing solutions for your business.

1. Digital marketing solutions begin with your brand

The restaurant business is all about providing a superior experience for your customers. That experience begins with your brand. Let's start with the core of what a brand is. Your brand is how people relate to your restaurant. Think of it is a promise to customers. Do you promise an elegant, fine dining experience? Do you promise a fun, quirky experience with outstanding food and service? There isn't a right or wrong answer, it's simply how you want a customer to think of your restaurant. This is the essence of what your brand is.

There are many reasons why brand matters, your brand is often the first point of contact for your business. That might be your website, a brochure, menu or via social media. All of these items should reflect the look, feel and experience your brand aims to offer.

A brand includes your logo, colours, fonts, and voice. Having consistency across all points of contact of your business is key. If you have a graphic designer, have them create a brand style guide, which will detail what image styles, colours, fonts and voice should be used. You can then hand the style guide off to another graphic designer or in-house employee to ensure consistency across the board.

Are you confident in your own design skills? If so, you have a couple of options. The first is that you can easily create promotional material using a tool such as Canva. The second is to have your graphic designer can create a Photoshop template which you can update yourself. The key to having a strong brand is a story, a strong message, and consistency.

2. A website that captures who you are

Your website is a test in many ways. On average, people will spend 6.5 seconds on your site to determine whether or not they want to read further. They'll also focus on your site's main image for just under 6 seconds. That's how long you have to make a positive first impression. What image should you use to make that first impression count? Think of your main selling points. Are there unique dishes that should be featured? Perhaps an ocean view?

Even if a website visitor is familiar with your brand, they still expect consistency. You want the website user to visit your restaurant's site and feel like they've just stepped into your physical location. What you need to have on your website is your menu. This is a must.If you have special dietary offerings, such as vegan, gluten-free, or Paleo, you should highlight those as well and make them easy to find.

Your website should be user-friendly. You want important information to be easy to find and readable. The images on your website must be high-quality but small enough to download quickly onto mobile devices. If your website design isn't consistent with your brand, consider investing in a new one. There's no need to go into a panic. There are plenty of easy to implement options such as Wordpress, Wix, and Squarespace.

Before you start the website build, you will need to consider what features you will need on your website. Features that you should have on your website might be a booking engine, image gallery, menus, blog, social media integration, and every website should always be mobile responsive. You can then choose a theme based on those features. Be sure to choose a theme that you can easily customise to fit within your brand guidelines.

If you're not sure where to start, here are a few examples. Squarespace offers online ordering integration, social media integrations and much more in its templates. Wix also has features that let you take orders and payments and reservations online. For a standard Wordpress theme, check out ThemeForest. They have plenty of themes just for restaurants and cafes.

3. Creative and engaging content

Content for restaurants needs to be authentic and true to the brand. You'll need to think from the audience's perspective and get to know what interests them. Would they want to read recipes or see behind the scenes videos from the kitchen? Maybe your audience wants to see how your restaurant is involved in the local community.

To be engaging, try asking questions or invite your followers to be brand evangelists. For example, Which Sandwiches recently asked its followers to vote on what's the best part of their new Ultimate BLT sandwich. It worked because they got feedback from customers and the customers had fun in the conversation. Do you have promotions in at your location? You can ask your graphic designer to resize those printed promotions for social media or you can use Canva and do it yourself.

4. Use video in your digital marketing

Video has become more and more important in digital marketing. Here are just a couple of statistics that show how critical it's become:

  • Out of all internet traffic around the world, video will account for 80%.
  • Videos are shared 1200% more than text and images on social media.

A video does require planning to ensure the messaging and stories are consistent with your brand. Restaurants who use video can create the experience of what it's like to be at the restaurant. Focus on who you are, rather than what you do. Otherwise, you'll miss the point of using video as part of your digital marketing solutions. When using video, remember that the first 10 seconds matter the most. Research has shown that up to 20% of viewers stop watching within the first 10 seconds. You'll have to be creative to hook viewers right away.

How can you incorporate video in your content marketing? Start by setting up a YouTube channel. After all, it has over 1 billion users. Also, use video in your Facebook posts and use Facebook Live for streaming. If you have a local videographer, consider reaching out to them. Otherwise, here are a couple of ways to do videos on your own.

  • Create a Facebook Live of a dish coming out of the restaurant.
  • Film the bartender make a flaming drink.
  • Create a video of your chef sharing recipes that viewers can create at home
  • Share the experience of being at the restaurant. Share the views, walk through the kitchen and restaurant.

A great example of this is Primo Pizza and Wings. Every week, they have videos of sports events, behind the scenes looks at the kitchen and fundraisers. Restaurants that use video effectively focus on telling stories about who they are to facilitate an emotional connection with audiences. They are authentic and human. That's what people love and relate to.

5. Add local SEO strategies

When people want to find a restaurant in their area, they'll search online and on their mobile device. Out of those searches, up to 98% of users will contact businesses that appear on the first page. How can you make sure you're on that first page? By using smart SEO strategies. The first thing you can do is to claim and update your Google MyBusiness Listing. There are two reasons why you want to update your listing.

The first is that search results are dependent on your businesses location relative to where the user is searching. The closer your restaurant is to a user, the more likely you are to appear at the top of search results. The second reason is that Google has integrated the ability to make reservations through Open Table or Dimmi within the search results. A potential downside is that people will make reservations through these outlets instead of going to the restaurant's website. If you're not sure what you can do to boost your search results, it may be time to hire a local SEO company.

6. Social media & online reviews

The final digital marketing solutions we'll cover are social media and reviews. Now that you have content such as images and video to publish, where do you publish them? That depends on your target audience. For example, if you target 30-49 year olds who make over $75,000 a year, you'll find them on Facebook. Instagram is another useful tool that restaurants can take advantage of because it is so visual. It is a simple to use platform which allows you to showcase not just your amazing dishes and cocktails, but also company culture, and features like ocean views on a sunny day. We've said this before, and it's worth saying again. What you publish on social media needs to have consistency. The message, look, and the story needs to be consistent with your brand.

Something else that’s not to be overlooked are online reviews, these can often be the deciding factor between someone visiting your restaurant or going elsewhere. We’ve mentioned it before, but Google My Business is a must as these will show up on a local search or a search done on Google Maps. If you are in a holiday location, make sure you keep your TripAdvisor profile up to date. Though strictly not a review platform Facebook is commonly used for this purpose. With each platform make sure you are keeping an eye on them and respond in a timely manner. Remember that if you get a negative review you can use this as an opportunity to publicly resolve the issue to show off your customer service skills. Reviews can be daunting, and people do have the habit of only leaving a review when things have gone wrong, so why not ask them to leave a review after they’ve had a good experience, or even offer them a discount for next time if they have left you a review?

Digital marketing solutions for your restaurant

The restaurant business is challenging enough as it is. Why make it more difficult by guessing which digital marketing solutions are right for you? The team at Digital Beanstalk has extensive experience in branding, digital marketing, and design. Let us take care of the work for you with a full-service package. That will allow you to focus on what you do best--providing your customers with a high-quality dining experience.

Contact us today for a consultation.