1. Have a Plan.
The competition among restaurants is fierce, and investing resources in marketing is critical to your success. Before you dive in to traditional or social media, it’s critically important to figure out which marketing channels are best for your business. To do this, you’ll need to step back, get clear about your business goals, and understand how you will go about achieving them. Once you have a focused plan, it will guide you in choosing where to target your marketing dollars in order to reach your ideal audience.
2. Invest in Content Marketing.
Creating content that answers your customers’ burning questions or solves their problems is the cornerstone of any smart marketing plan. The time and energy invested in serving valuable information to your customers is as vital as the effort you put into the quality of the food you serve. What better way to differentiate your business from your competitors than by positioning your restaurant as the industry leader and your team as the go-to authorities?
3. Claim your Google My Business Listing.
Everyone in the industry knows the power of Yelp, but there are other tools you can use to reach local customers. Verifying your business through Google My Business not only lets Google know that your location information is accurate, it helps prospects find you more easily by increasing your chances of being shown in local searches. For instance, if someone is searching for a sushi spot and your restaurant has a verified listing nearby, Google is likely to show your page higher in search results. If your listing is not verified, you have a decreased chance of showing up in results. You’ll also want to claim your business category and personalize your brand by showing off your storefront, uploading videos, or showcasing signature dishes.
4. Optimize your Website.
The art and science of optimizing your website so that you get more traction and visits is called search engine optimization – or SEO. In today’s digital marketplace, having a website that is not optimized is like having a dinner special and not telling your customers. All website projects should begin with a thorough understanding of your target market and the search terms they are using. While you may think you know the right keywords intuitively, I suggest utilizing Google’s keyword planning tool to get real data on what your customers are searching for. This will power your website to generate leads and bring in new business.
5. Be Smart with Social Media.
In the competitive food industry, restaurants with a strong social media presence as part of their marketing plan are the ones that fare the best. That said, many businesses go into social with the attitude that it’s a “must do” without really understanding why. This leads us back to Tip #1. Have a clear and focused plan for your social media. Before you even create a Facebook business page and a Twitter account, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish with my social content?” Be sure to align your social media goals with your website, email, and content marketing plans to ensure a seamless brand experience for your customers.
6. Harness the Power of Video.
There are over 1 billion people on YouTube on a regular basis. According to HubSpot, video in an email leads to a 200 to 300 percent increase in click through rates, and including video on your website landing pages can increase conversions by 80 percent. Even Facebook acknowledged the power of video by launching Facebook Live. Think about the unique ways that video can connect your restaurant with your customers, and include a smart strategy for using this effective tool in your marketing plan.
7. Measure, Measure, Measure.
Small business owners often launch marketing campaigns, get busy with their day to day, and then wonder whether their efforts are tied to new business. Without a proper measurement plan in place, you are operating in a vacuum. In order to fully understand the value of your marketing – and know what’s working and what’s not so you can shift gears accordingly – you must carefully measure your efforts. This is the only surefire way to know where your customers are coming from.
Lack the time or resources to do it all yourself? Consider outsourcing to a professional. Hype’s Virtual Marketing Team will help you plan, budget and execute a smart marketing strategy to support your unique business goals. Give us a call!