Running a successful restaurant means more than just great dishes and cocktails. It is a business which means putting some focus on a marketing strategy to increase your patronage.Let’s look at 10 ways you can increase sales volume and improve your bottom line. These restaurant marketing ideas will focus on using the internet and social media to reach a wider audience.
1. Restaurant Marketing Social Media Basics
The first thing you should do in your restaurant marketing plan is to set up your restaurant page on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. From there you can engage with customers, ask for dish recommendations people would like to see, run social media contests (like best photo or best caption for a photo), and offer an incentive in exchange for engagement.
A good example of a social media contest is have your staff vote on a social media image submissions. The winning image will receive free dinner for two, or something along those lines.
2. Utilize Local SEO
Search engine optimization has many aspects to it, but if you’re a local restaurant, you’ll need to focus on localized rankings. That means optimizing your Google maps, yelp, Trip Advisor, and more for proper restaurant marketing strategy.
Don’t go after keywords like “Italian food”, go for more specific terms such as “best Italian food in Sedona” –targeting your restaurants type of food and your local area. This will target your local rankings and get you the best results. If you’re not great at SEO you can always hire a company who specializes in SEO.
3. Utilize User Contact & Hashtags
Another great way to execute your restaurant marketing plan is by using content generated by your customers is a great way to keep things fresh and allow more interaction from your patrons. Be sure to follow specific hashtags related to your restaurant and post using those same hashtags when you makes social media posts.
For example, if you’re in Sedona, follow and use hashtags such as #sedona, #sedonafoodie, #sedonafood, and so on and so forth. Also, allow users to post and re-post things related to your restaurant so that you can increase the volume of posts from yourself and actual diners.
4. Use Targeted Ads + Boost Your Posts
You can now use Facebook and Instagram in a paid way as well to boost sales. You can literally boost a popular post to be seen by more people and with these platforms you can target specific demographics, locations, and likes.
A good example of a restaurant marketing strategy would be to boost your post regarding Italian dinner specials to folks who like Italian food in Sedona, (that is if you are an Italian restaurant in Sedona). These social media platforms make it easier than ever to get involved in the promotion your restaurant.
5. Brand Reputation Management
Be sure that your offering the best possible food and service to your patrons. They may post reviews on your social media pages which can swing other folks positively or negatively towards or away from your restaurant.
A few bad 1 star reviews can really hurt a restaurant, so be sure you’re monitoring your social media and providing the highest quality and standards possible. If there is an issue, try to resolve it amicably and thoughtfully with the customer. Inform staff of ways in which they can make things right in the case of a kitchen error. The better your customer service is along with great food, the easier it will be to keep your brand positive and your restaurant in business.
6. Restaurant Web Design + Mobile Friendly
Because people may want to see your menu before coming in to eat, you should not only have social media accounts, but also your own independent website – a crucial aspect of any restaurant marketing strategy. This will increase your local SEO rankings as well as provide a great way to give customers more information. Your website should include pictures of food, contact information, address, specials, catering services, and so on and so forth.
Also, because the majority of users are on mobile phones, your site should also be mobile friendly across all platforms. (it also make Google like you a lot more too)
7. Write A Restaurant Marketing Blog
One great way to increase your website presence is to start a blog. You don’t have to post every single day, even once a week or bi-weekly is fine. Be sure you’re posting about things happening at the restaurant:
- Specials you’re having
- Great events you’ve hosted
- Celebrities who have entertained
- and more…
This is a great way to keep your site relevant and increase your own SEO value. Be sure you’re using tags and categories properly and that you are focusing on a specific keyword per post.
8. Use Instagram and Pinterest for Restaurant Marketing
Another restaurant marketing strategy is to make your photos and posts ‘Insta’ and Pinterest worthy! Good lighting, bold colors, the rule of thirds, and good-looking food can really be very useful. Not only does it set the tone for your restaurant, but also can be eye-popping and mouth-watering for customers.
See what food critics, chefs, and foodies are posting and follow those hashtags. Then use those same hashtags in your own posts. Even more important are the images themselves.
Follow those few rules and mimic other people’s examples and you’ll be on your way to social media pro.
9. Use Email Marketing
Checking every box means also using email as a marketing asset. Have customers sign up for your newsletter which will offer news, menu updates, event schedules, and also special deals for email subscribers.
Offer things like 2-for-1 drinks to subscribers during a certain day or time of the week. Offer a discount on wine or a discount on entrées too. This allows you to engage customers ever further.
10. Utilize Influencers for Restaurant Marekting
Influencers are people who have popular social media handles on Twitter or Instagram. Find some from your local area and offer them a free meal if they’d come and post about it. This is what they do already. When they do, be sure you bring your A-game when they come in. They can immediately send patrons your way with a single post or tweet –Influencers are a great opportunity for your restaurant if you use them correctly.
This is just scratching the surface when it comes to modern-day local restaurant marketing. You can take it further by creating loyalty programs or direct marketing campaigns.
In closing, be sure you’re checking as many boxes as you can for your restaurant’s marketing plan and reap the benefits of a strong social media and web marketing presence.