Get More Customers with 6 Restaurant Online Marketing Strategies in 2021
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Ever feel like your restaurant is stuck in a rut these days? If lesser customers have been a concern for you lately, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The pandemic has affected a lot of people, especially those operating in the food and beverage (F&B) industry.
With a lot more people taking to their homes and life seeing huge changes everywhere, the pandemic has accelerated the use of online marketing in many restaurants and food businesses to help them stay relevant.
Whether you’re a new restaurant owner just starting out or a seasoned restaurant owner looking for new ways and ideas to promote, here are six strategies that can come in handy for your restaurant online marketing.
1. Start running online food delivery (like, right now)
If you haven’t already hopped on to the online delivery bandwagon, now is a time more than ever to do so! A lot more people are staying at home these days, which makes food delivery options very popular, and this is just what you need to continue serving your customers.
On the technical side of things, running a food delivery service is rather straightforward – one way is to sign your restaurant up on food delivery apps. There are plenty of apps out there to choose from, but some of the more popular ones include:
Alternatively, if you’re looking to handle food delivery yourself, you can instead upload your restaurant’s menu to your social media page or any other online platform to receive orders manually. This is especially good if you happen to have your own website or e-commerce platform as you can easily adapt them for use in online delivery.
But of course, it really pays to have a good online menu design while you’re at it as visuals are everything when it comes to online platforms – customers always appreciate a menu that is sleek, simple, and easy to read. If you have trouble nailing a good menu design, you can always resort to Artisense’s professional graphic design service!
As food deliveries have become increasingly popular nowadays, having a way to deliver food to customers is a good strategy for just about any restaurant to get more customers.
2. Build customer loyalty online
In the restaurant business, customer loyalty is king for success. Since they form the livelihood of any restaurant or food business, getting new customers coming in and your existing customers coming back should always be a part of your restaurant online marketing strategy.
There are a couple of ways to build good relationships and rapport with your customers. For starters, sending out monthly email newsletters is a good way to keep customers informed on your restaurant’s latest happenings. The content doesn’t necessarily have to be extraordinary; it can be something as simple as:
- Heads-up on current menu offers
- Launching of new dishes or menu items
- Special birthday discounts
- Interesting news related to your restaurant (like achievements)
While it might not seem as effective as social media at first glance, email marketing can certainly produce favorable results in helping build customer loyalty for your restaurant. Statistics show that as much as 60% of customers make a purchase thanks to email marketing, and this can prove just as true for restaurants too.
Then again, email marketing does require some technical knowhow to be effective, but don’t worry! Artisense has the necessary expertise to provide you with comprehensive electronic direct mail (EDM) marketing solutions that are sure to help you build stronger relationships with your customers. With us, a good email can be all you need to get important customers to keep coming back!
3. Get serious in creating appealing images
If you’re good with photography or creating wonderful pictures, this is your time to shine! In the F&B business, visually-pleasing and appealing imagery is an awesome asset to have when it comes to restaurant marketing, so go take some stunning, Instagrammable food photos!
The reality is, many people enjoy seeing a good, tantalizing photo of delicious food, especially on social media platforms. With a well-presented dish, this makes appealing images or photos the easiest way to get your restaurant noticed by customers.
The ideas don’t just extend to food though! For example, if your restaurant’s dining area or environment is particularly picturesque, your followers will be more than happy to see some wonderful photos of them.
However, regardless of whether you’re taking photos or creating images of your own, both of these approaches require a fair bit of technical skill and equipment to produce high-quality results. For this reason, it might be worth hiring a professional photographer or designer to get the job done if you’re unable to undertake all this yourself.
Befitting of our marketing specialty, Artisense is also more than capable of handling creative design needs. If you’re looking to spice up with some creative designs as part of your restaurant online marketing strategies, we’re here to help!
4. Utilize Google to increase credibility
No restaurant marketing strategy is complete without Google in the mix. Considering how many searches are ran on the Internet, having an online presence on Google is more important than ever before in increasing the credibility and visibility of your restaurant
The reason behind this is simple – Google is a dominating force in online searches for nearby food and restaurants, and this is something you should leverage to your advantage. By putting time into setting up a positive and visible presence, a lot more people will be driven to your restaurant as it appears in their searches, leading to more customers for you.
Fortunately, utilizing Google for business is not necessarily difficult. Here are some essential steps to follow when doing so:
- Set up your Google My Business account: The most important first step, a Google My Business account allows you to promote and manage your business’s presence on Google Search and Maps, which helps more customers find you.
- Add reservation links to your Google My Business: Bookings and reservations are always important for restaurants, but doubly more so for those on Google as this will further incentivize customers to make reservations at your restaurant. Convenience is a big deciding factor for them, after all!
- Encourage reviews: If there’s one reliable way to increase credibility, it’s through customer reviews, so try encouraging your customers to leave you some reviews. If your customers had great experience, this can be super helpful for building a positive and credible image for your business.
Given the number of people that use Google every day, you’ll be surprised at just how effective a good presence on Google can be in drawing customers to your restaurant!
5. Have humanized & engaging content
Having an online presence is only one part of the marketing game, because putting out interesting content is another important strategy to keep your customers engaged and returning. As such, creating content that your customers will enjoy should not be overlooked.
From a customer’s perspective, no one likes a business that seemingly only cares about making money – people like a business that they can relate to, and this holds especially true for restaurants. Since you’re serving customers, why not offer some quality content in addition to your products and services. Here are some ideas worth exploring:
- Show off your staff: Proudly display the human side to your restaurant or food business with the people who run the operations! One good way to do this is by showing off how your staff members perform their favourite duties or how they love to interact with the customers. Nothing says better to customers about a business than happy workers that enjoy their job.
- Tell a story of your struggles: Every business has its origin story, and this can be engaging content enough on its own. If you have a story of struggling early on with the business, go ahead and share it with your customers to let them see how far you have come since you started.
- Promote user-generated content: This works wonders for promoting engagement and also shows that you care about your customers. User-generated content (UGC) can be approached in many different ways, like contests, sharing experiences, or testimonials. This way, customers will see a much more humanized side to your business.
Fortunately, engaging content doesn’t just end there. If you want to generate hype for your restaurant, consider reaching out to food bloggers or related key opinion leaders that can offer their input. With their level of knowledge and influence, a good review by a popular blogger can be all it takes to increase attention to your restaurant!
6. Leverage paid ads
Although it does come at a cost, advertising can play a big part in getting your restaurant seen by the masses, and for good reason! Paid advertising utilizes various channels and mediums to promote your restaurant, making it highly effective in getting new customers.
In practice, paid advertising can be handled in several ways. For an organized approach that’s not too boring, try to plan monthly campaigns that are unique and distinct from one another – they can be based on festive days and seasons in addition to any new offers or menu items you may have. For instance, interesting days to plan your campaigns around are:
- International Coffee Day (October 1)
- World Vegetarian Day (October 1)
- World Food Day (October 16)
Aside from that, paid advertising also opens up the option of geo-targeted restaurant ads that can be run with Google Ads, Facebook, and Twitter. This is quite potent for restaurants as it helps local customers find your business while also being lower on costs.
Likewise, paid ads allow for retargeting ads as well, which essentially helps you reach customers who have visited your website but not make a transaction. As such, retargeting ads are rather useful for following up on your prospective customers.
Even so, advertising can be tricky to navigate without the right skills. If you’re short on time to learn about ads settings and the necessary techniques or just unsure of how to run a successful online campaign, Artisense is more than happy to help you out!
All in all, restaurant marketing has now transcended the online barrier these days, marking it as one of the strongest marketing trends for the future. Like it or not, online marketing is no longer just an option for businesses – it is necessary for businesses of just about any industry to stay on track.
If you have your doubts or concerns, rest assured that Artisense has all the expertise and resources needed to help you reach your marketing goals. With a team of dedicated professionals having your back, your restaurant will be flourishing in no time.