What does it take to be an effective restaurant marketer? To successfully manage your restaurant online, you must learn what works and what does not. Managing an online presence is key to a successful business because all aspects of a restaurant's online presence are, in some sense, advertising.
As the popularity of online ordering continues to grow among your customer base, the quality, consistency, and reliability of your online ordering system can open the door for customers to interact with you in new ways that will be essential to future business growth. Whether it’s a website, review, Google business listing, or even a Facebook page, every piece of your online presence is a way for people to know your restaurant, and to some extent, yourself.
To help you make the right choices when it comes to online marketing for your restaurant, we offer this list of do's and dont's from those with experience in the industry:
Customers use Google listings to find services more than any other online platform. Often created through crowdsourcing, this online directory provides quick references and links to businesses.
Initially, you do not have control of your Google listing. However, it can be given to you through a simple verification process. Various companies can assist you in completing this process, and help you more effectively use the information the listing provides.
Whether through desktop or mobile, nearly half of all searches are specifically for location-based information and services. This means when potential customers search your area, your restaurant has the opportunity to be at the forefront.
Online ordering providers work to help you gain control of your Google listing without adding extra costs. Your Google listing is a form of advertising; by controlling which links are most prominent, you can direct traffic to the services that benefit you the most.
Google listings are free, and control of them can be obtained without having to pay anyone. There is no reason to pay for advertising you can’t track.
All of the tools for understanding where traffic goes, and what you can do to prepare for it, are available for free. It is simply a matter of finding and taking control of them.
In addition to a Google listing, reviews function as free advertising; good reviews, or even bad reviews, can serve to boost your presence and entice new customers if you handle them correctly.
How can customers displaying public complaints be a good thing for your restaurant? Easy. The ability to resolve a bad review in a public setting with a calm, measured response can transform the situation into positive advertising.
Taking time to address a customer complaint shows you’re committed to running a good restaurant. Even when things go wrong, you want to understand how to do better. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. How we address our mistakes is far more important than whether or not we make them.
It’s important to note that resolving a complaint does not always translate into free food or store credit. While these are all great solutions in selected situations, sometimes all that is necessary is a gracious response and the sense that you are paying attention.
Regulars sustain the industry, and are crucial to a restaurant’s survival. The more you can make them feel supported, the more loyal they will be. The nature of online customers is very different. A customer who orders online may be a regular without ever walking inside your restaurant. Ensuring loyalty from those who order online is just as important as the people filling in seats.