Okay, so you have a small cafe. Your neighbourhood claims that you serve the best coffee and chocolate chip cookie in town. The quality, as well as the presentation of your food, is undeniably something that can be featured on TLC. Your hip cafe, adorned with industrial light fixtures, rustic chic tables and chairs, and neon signages, looks Pinterest-ready too.
You’ve got everything it takes to bring in loyal customers from different walks of life, from coffee aficionados to teenagers who love discovering Insta-worthy places. However, people who absolutely have no idea that your restaurant exists won’t always discover your place by accident – you need to work on your online presence.
That’s why digital marketing is necessary. If you want to market your restaurant online effectively, here are 10 awesome digital marketings tactics that never fail.
1. Create a stunning website
Gone are the days when people go to a restaurant first then browse their menu. Now, people look for menus online first before deciding whether or not to visit the physical store. Since a majority of customers go online to search products and services, they’re likely to judge a restaurant’s value and credibility based on their website.
Your official website must be functional, user-friendly, and professional. Customers should be able to navigate seamlessly to find things like menus, business hours, address, contact details, and pictures of your food, staff, and restaurant space. The website should also be optimized for mobile devices.
2. Leverage local SEO
Simply put, SEO is all about increasing the quality and quantity of organic traffic to your website through organic search engine results. When people type “coffee shops near me” or “coffee shops in X city”, you want your restaurant name to be one of the first to pop up.
Make sure your website’s SEO makes you a local hotspot. You can improve your SEO using the following strategies:
- Create a blog on your website, and make it engaging, relevant, and informative.
- Do keyword research and make sure every page of your website utilizes the best local keywords.
- Educate yourself about link building
- Create a Google My Business account
3. Start a blog
“Content is king” – this is arguably one of the most overused lines in digital marketing.
Create a blog that features fresh and engaging content. Aside from writing a post about your restaurant per se (like your menu items and upcoming events), you can write relevant and informative blog posts about cheap dining hacks, cooking tips, secrets only restaurant insiders know, how-to articles, and more. You may also use photos and videos to tell stories.
Use attention-grabbing titles and attractive feature images. Promote your blog on your website, and share them on your social media profiles. Create something so good people will share it without telling them to do so.
4. Be active on social media
Have you ever browsed your newsfeed and then a random photo of a bowl of ramen made you stop scrolling and intensified your cravings? It’s all about getting your message across to the right people at the right time.
Social media is one of the most powerful and cost-effective platforms you should invest in, according to a digital marketing agency in Dublin. Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you have a couple of video materials, create a youtube account as well. Regularly post relevant and engaging content, including product shots, announcements, and even memes.
Next to gaining followers who are likely to be customers, social media also provides great networking opportunities. You’ll have plenty of advertising opportunities, both paid and free.
5. Keep online engagement high
Engagement (clicks, likes, follows, shares, comments) is the key. One of the best examples of a free marketing strategy is hosting competitions or raffles, offering free meals, gift cards, and other interesting prizes to winners. You should also encourage your patrons to post about their experiences and tag you in their photos.
6. Improve your photo quality
Now that we’re talking about social media, let’s talk about content, shall we? Posting high-quality, drool-inducing photos of food are undeniably the best way to promote your restaurant online. Hire a photographer who knows the different aspects of food photography, including the best lighting, angle, props, and post-processing techniques.
7. Show off your restaurant ambience
Of course, people go to a restaurant not only for the food but for the overall experience. Aside from delicious-looking food photos, you may include high-quality shots of your well-designed restaurant space, the joyful crew at work, and other content that will show customers how it’s like to visit your place.
8. Take advantage of testimonials
Confident about the quality of your food and service? Encourage customers to rate your restaurant and leave a review about their dining experience on Google, your website, review sites, and on your social media profile. Reviews are powerful enough to influence someone’s perception of your place.
9. Use influencer marketing
Looking for a larger target audience? You may invest in influencer marketing. Social media influencers are personalities who have already established credibility in their chosen field or industry, and often have thousands or millions of followers.
You may reach out to them, invite them to your restaurant and give them free food. If they like theIr dining experience, you may come up with an influencer marketing contract, paying them a fee in exchange for them to create a piece of content or post about your business.
10. Develop your brand identity
Does your business target customers who are into nutritious meals? Or does it target folks who love comfort food like wings, burgers, and cold beers? Understand your target audience first and then build your brand identity around what they can relate to. Reflect these interests in your promotional materials.
Lastly, remember that consistency is important. It’s not enough that you create a website and a business page on social media, and forget about them. You need to update them regularly, post new content a few times a week, and hype up new specials on your menu.