Online marketing has come a long way from the days when all you needed was a website for your restaurant. Even then you probably wondered if that was worth it. Remember those days?
So much has changed in the last 10 years and the rate of change has been staggering. Your restaurant marketing opportunities have gone from just getting a website to deciding what mix of online tools are going to work for you and how to combine them into an effective online marketing strategy.There's no doubt, things have become more complex.
With all this change you might be wondering where your website now fits into your overall marketing strategy. The answer is simple - right in the middle! Your website is now your most important aspect of your overall marketing strategy, even more so now than in the past. No matter where your potential customers first learn about your restaurant, your website is where most people will end up just before they convert into a customer or decide against frequenting your restaurant. Your website is no doubt the most powerful online tool you have, but if you want to really maximise its potential, then consider doing the following:
Step 1: Make sure your website really converts visitors into customers
Have a look at your current website - does it showcase your restaurant effectively? Put yourself in the shoes of someone who hasn't ever visited your restaurant. Are you persuaded to make a booking? What attracts you to learn more? Is your website missing any information (like trading hours location, or phone numbers)? What 'call to actions' does your website contain?
Step 2: Restaurant directory site - profile and link building
Search for your restaurant name online and include your suburb in your search. Notice all the dining guides that appear. Does your restaurant have listings in all of them? It should do. Dining guide listing are a huge opportunity to build trust online and showcase your restaurant to the hundreds of thousands of people that search for restaurants online every month. Make sure you add a link to each guide back to your website. This is no only great for your website ranking, but very importantly moves visitors from the 'uncontrolled' space of the dining guide to the 'controlled' space of your own website.
Step 3: Don't forget to link your other restaurant marketing
Whatever other marketing you choose to do, whether online or more traditional forms, always think about how you can get people to visit your website. In many cases, other forms of marketing don't have enough space to convert people in the first instance. Take a flyer for example - why not consider adding a link to a promotion on your website so people can visit and redeem that promotion.
The overall idea is to step people towards your restaurant door. Some people will only need one step - these are the people that convert from your first connection. But for every one of these people, there are many that need more encouragement - so having a great website where visitors can view menus and see stunning photos of your offerings, not to mention your latest news, events, promotions etc, will only lead to more customers at your door.
Check your links
If there is a weak link in the chain, be it an under-performing restaurant website, an unconvincing dining guide listing that fails to build trust, or incorrect contact information then your entire online marketing strategy can under-perform and you'll be leaving money on the table, or worse still, losing money unnecessarily.