Powerful Marketing Ideas For Your Restaurant
This is going to be an eye opener and the “secret sauce,” to give you guidance in the right direction to include: SEO, The importance of your website, how to improve guest counts in your restaurant and more importantly, building your brand.
Take these relevant ideas and the sky’s the limit for your success.
WEBSITE DESIGN – Simple is better
The website is the primary communication for the customer who doesn’t know the first thing about you.
It is very important to give them a virtual tour before they come in.
Getting a professional photo shoot done is absolutely the most important thing you can do for your website. Especially in the restaurant business.
People have this mindset that they have to make this work of art website; that has to be perfect. That has to be so visually stunning it will just blow people away when they find it.
So their downfall is that they don’t put any money into Search Engine Optimization. So people will never ever find this awesome work of art website that they have done. We’ll get into that in a minute.
When it comes to your restaurant website (web presence) your marketing dollar for this shouldn’t cost more than fifteen hundred dollars. That is the going rate. Preferably WordPress (as your platform) because it is a powerful tool with many marketing plug-ins.
If your designer is trying to talk you into a five thousand dollar platform, run! You do not need it. Your marketing dollars need to go into SEO. If you are spending more than the recommended fifteen hundred dollars you are doing it all wrong. It doesn’t need to be all things to all people. It is not necessary. You are making your website into being found.
Statistics show that by 2020 websites will be irrelevant. Because Google is providing so much information without even getting to the website.
When you type in a restaurant there is a knowledge panel. Which is the map, pictures and hours to the right? That piece is getting more and more robust. Most people are going in to get your contact information, or your hours, or a couple of photos or your YELP reviews.
The website is becoming less and less important. But by all means, have a website. The point here is, it doesn’t need to be that “work of art,” people have been misled to believe.
When you have professional photographs that make up the majority of your content, that does tell a story. That gives them the virtual tour of what the place is going to look like. What the vibe is about. What the food is about. You obviously get a great food photo shoot and put all the stuff together. So they are not guessing. By the time they walk in the door, they have a great idea of what the place is. You are able to show it off. The great thing is not that many restaurants are utilizing high-resolution professional photos. So you will automatically look better than your competition.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
You need to put in 90% of your budget into being found. So your SEO is absolutely crucial.
SEO is very complicated, to most people, it is such Voodoo they don’t even understand it, and we don’t blame them.
The main approach you need to take with your SEO expert is this.
You have to find a keyword that has a lot of monthly clicks. A lot of traffic, yet not a lot of competition. That’s the sweet spot.
Find a very good blend of the two
For example: Type in: “Restaurants near me.” Gets 11 million searches a month. That’s the most competitive key word out there. So if you are just going for that word, you are going to be up against every single other restaurant out there. Of course, it has to do with if your GPS is on in your phone. Then it is going to pick up the closest ones to you. Then you could get lucky.
Another example: “Restaurants in Cape Coral, FL,” where we are. Then you are up against some even more serious competition.
Try: “Cape Coral, FL patio restaurant.” We found that the word was getting 6K searches per month and there was no competition. So optimize with your expert for organic wording like that. So there’s a hint that may allow you to get to the top on Google in 30-60 days (which is tough). Usually, SEO is a very long-term approach.
Allocate a monthly budget. It is a monthly maintenance. It is not something you do once and forget about it. It goes on and on forever.
The organic search results are called organic for a reason. They are always changing. They are always evolving. You could be number one day, and number ten the next day It is really all over the board. It’s the SEO expert that puts the most attention and constantly working SEO that excels.
BACKLINKS (listing syncs)
Find an expert who offers listing syncs. Backlinks, it is the number of other websites and directories and other platforms (have a link) that point towards you. If you have a link on your Facebook page, Instagram, Trip Advisor, Open Table, and Yelp. List yourself with at least 50 directories at least, and lock into it. Because Google is watching. If you aren’t on top of it then Google thinks: “Well okay, if nobody else cares about this website, why should we.”
Once you have 50 different directories pointing to your website, all of a sudden Google’s algorithm sees it as: “Ohhh this is a very important site, people care about this. We are going to put it at the top of the search results.
One of the things that Google and Facebook have both opened themselves up to lately is users generated content or what they call: “SUGGESTED EDITS.” It is a very terrible idea, but it is what it is. Stay informed!
Have you ever been somewhere (the restaurant’s in particular) and gotten a notification from either of these two? We have and used it. It pops up and asks you: “Hey are you at ABC Restaurant?” If you hit “YES,” it will ask you: “Are these hours correct?” As a customer, you can change the hours of a restaurant you are sitting in. It is completely insane. Then it will ask: “Is this the address?” Honest consumers will hopefully give true information. Because most would think it would go into a pending mode for 90 days and they are going to aggregate it with a bunch of information and make a decision. We got a notification from Google within 45 minutes on one of our client restaurants. It says: “Your changes have been applied.” We looked on Google and sure enough, our changes were applied. Get someone who knows what they are doing to lock consumers from doing this to you.
Statistically, 85% believe online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member. Online reviews (next to word of mouth) are the most important thing for driving new traffic.
Word of mouth brings new faces to your restaurant. Word of mouth is king. It is 2/3rds of new people walking through your doors. The second one at 22% is online reviews and the third is Google.
Almost all restaurants approached don’t have a pulse on their online reviews or they don’t optimize them and they don’t work them to their advantage.
These reviews are so easy to respond to and to actually have a presence on there. But what we found is very few restaurants do this. It is so important, yet so missed. It truly blew our minds here to discover these online reviews were being neglected.
The reason you should respond to ALL online reviews or hire someone, or delegate someone in your restaurant. No excuses. Recommendation: respond publicly to all reviews, good and bad. Think about it this way, if you are just responding to negative reviews you send a message to the positive: “You are not important enough to get a response unless you are pissed off.”
You want to thank your fans and invite them back in. Put your contact information on every single response to include: Name, email address, and cell number, every single response. You may think your phone will blow up or that your phones going to ring nonstop, thinking you will just get bugged by everyone. It will not. Every single response.
Your contact information is out there. You will probably get one phone call a month. Or better yet, when your establishment isn’t reachable you will find people calling asking to book a table and you get them in touch with the right person in your restaurant. You will be amazed it fields that review from the individual who was just about to give a one-star review because maybe they had a terrible experience you were unaware of.
Devote time to monitor and respond to every review because it is critical. You have the big four review platforms. Google, Facebook, Yelp and Trip Advisor it is time-consuming. There are systems out there (platforms) that will aggregate everything into one platform. Use the tools available, systems that are all in one, coming in a big feed through a dashboard. Worth every penny. You must respond within 72 hours to be effective.
We want to show you how to shift the mindset or paradigm of the average restaurant owner/ operator. You are spending very little money at all if any money at all on things that have the greatest impact on customer traffic and building your brand and using your staff to become brand ambassadors for your business. If you show your customers a good time, you can be sure they will be telling their friends and family: “You have to go to that place.” “The service was amazing.” “The food was amazing.”
But so many people that are in the restaurant business continue to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the traditional radio, print, tv and direct mail stuff. Stop it, you need to remember this is 2018 and work on your internal marketing. Start working on your restaurant’s online reviews, it is free marketing. All it takes is the time and the creativity and putting your best spin forward to give your customers an idea of what’s great about your restaurant. And responding to any negative reviews too.
INFLUENCE STAR FACTORS WITH INTEGRITY (More 5 Stars) Yelp has really strict terms and conditions when it comes to soliciting reviews. You are not allowed to solicit reviews. But you are allowed to ask for a review and not reward someone. You are not allowed to manipulate good or bad.
Here is a big secret we will share with you. ZenReach.com it is a wireless router that goes into the restaurant. Any customer that hooks up to your guest Wi-Fi, it will capture their Facebook or email address for use of your wi-fi. One step for them, easy. It captures that real-time information for you and creates a database of all the emails. These are the most highly valued (customers that have been in your door).
What it does that is awesome it sends smart emails out automatically on certain schedules. So the first time customer after they leave within three hours. (Note: It will say whatever you want it to say). The default sends a generic you will want to change: “Hey thanks for coming into XXX, hope you had a good time.” Terrible message. You can use their reputation management and put: “Thanks for visiting, how did we do, 1 to 5 Star rating. Rate your experience.”
When they choose that 1 to 5-star rating
If it is a 1 to 3-star rating it will email you and pull that email in internally. This gives you time to respond to that customer and make it right before it winds up on Yelp. It is amazingly effective. If they give you a 4 or 5-star rating it will say: “Thank you, please share your message.” Then redirects them to Google, Trip Advisor, Yelp or Trip Advisor.
But it gets better, these smart emails give you the First Time Customer, the Regular Customer (we recommend five),then the Loyal Customer (been more than 10), then a Lost Customer (that’s been there 2 times in the last 30 days, but not again), then it has Birthdays. You can tailor different offers to these people based on their visit frequency.
This is a legitimate way to manipulate those numbers, you are welcome!