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Digital Marketing for Restaurants: 13 Effective Strategies for 2022

Kit Jenkin
24 Oct 2022

All businesses need to know the ins and outs of marketing. Whether you're a large, multi-national corporation or a small business with just a few employees, marketing can make or break the future of your company.

Restaurant owners, though, have a particularly hard time marketing. They have to deal with tight margins and potentially high operating costs, so there's not always a lot of cash left over to promote the establishment. However, if you do it right, you can market your restaurant very well without breaking the bank.

Most restaurant marketing these days is done online. It's often cheaper and more effective than traditional marketing techniques. If you want to promote your restaurant, you'll want to go digital and identify the best online marketing channels.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with digital marketing for restaurants.

1. Start with a strong website

Your website is the storefront of your restaurant online. It's the first place potential customers will go to learn about your restaurant, so you need to make sure it's as good as you can make it.

Make sure your site is attractive, easy to navigate, and informative.

Since your website is your digital storefront, there are some basic things you can do to make the experience as pleasant as possible for the user.

  • Attractive: No one likes an ugly website. There's nothing worse than trolling through a website for information when you don't like what you see. Make sure the design of your site is in tip-top shape. You may want to engage a design agency to make sure you get the design you want and that will attract customers. You'll also want to include photos of the food you serve to make your product as appealing as possible.

  • Easy to navigate: You want people coming to your website to find the information they need as quickly as possible. A bad user experience of a website will turn off potential customers and may lead them to think that you're not organized or commercially savvy.

  • Informative: Include all the information a customer may want on your website, including menus, contact information, your address, and your hours.

Make sure your website is mobile friendly

Digital marketing for restaurants can be tough if your website isn't mobile friendly. Most of your potential customers will be searching for restaurants on their mobile devices. In fact, 61% of diners say they use their mobile phones while they're looking for a restaurant. If your website isn't mobile friendly, you're missing out on a lot of customers

Make sure your website is responsive and easy to use on a mobile phone. Test your site's layout yourself to ensure to process is smooth and the user experience is good.

2. Use social media marketing

Digital marketing for restaurants these days relies heavily on using social media. Social media marketing is a powerful tool that can help you reach a large audience with minimal effort. Create profiles on all the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and start sharing photos, updates, and special offers.

Be sure to interact with your customers and followers regularly to build relationships. You can also use these platforms to run paid social media advertising for your restaurant. Getting on social media is also a great way to get into influencer marketing.

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3. Get listed on online directories

Another tool that's great for digital marketing for restaurants is online directories. Online directories are a great way to get your restaurant's name and information out there. Customers use them to find restaurants, so you want to make sure you're listed. Google My Business is a good place to start, but there are other platforms as well, like Yelp and Zomato.

Listing your restaurant on online directories is also a great way to get your restaurant up the search engine rankings. Be sure to include many links to your restaurant's website as well.

4. Use email marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most effective digital marketing tools available. It's incredibly cheap to implement and potentially can reach thousands of people.

You can collect emails from customers when they make a reservation or sign up for your newsletter. Then, you can send them updates, special offers, and invitations to events. Just be sure not to bombard them with too many emails or they'll quickly become annoyed and unsubscribe.

You'll also want to do some market research on your customers to make sure your email content is the type of content they want to see.

If you're using an Epos Now POS system, you can use popular apps like Mailchimp to set up email marketing campaigns, segment your audiences, and get the most return on investment for your digital marketing activities.

5. Run targeted online ads

Online advertising is a great way to reach customers who are already interested in what you have to offer. By paying for ads, though, you're more likely to get traffic to your website than by simply hoping your website appears in organic searches.

You'll also be able to target your ads to certain types of people based on the kind of establishment you have. You can target your ads by location, age, gender, interests, and other factors to make sure you're reaching the right people. Paid advertising can be done on most social media platforms as well as through Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising.

Be careful, though. Most digital ad campaigns run automatically, and it's easy to overspend on your ads. Make sure you work out a budget and put caps in place to ensure you're not spending too much.

6. Use digital coupons and discounts

Coupons and discounts are a great way to entice more customers, both new and old. You can promote your coupons and discounts through social media, email marketing, and online directories. Make sure the offer is attractive enough that people will want to take advantage of it but not so generous that you're not making any money.

You can also use a digital loyalty program to reward customers for their business. This encourages them to come back and continue doing business with you.

Many POS systems have built-in loyalty programs that make it easy to track spending and offer rewards. If you choose an Epos Now system, you can take advantage of apps like LoyaltyDog and Loyalty to get your customers back through the door.

Just be sure to keep an eye on your bottom line. Too many discounts and you'll start to eat into your profits. Find a happy medium that entices customers without breaking the bank.

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7. Implement SEO best practices

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making sure your website appears in your customers' search engine results on search engines like Google.

This can be done through optimizing your website content, building backlinks, and using the right keywords. Many content management systems have plugins that can identify the SEO health of your content.

It's important to do your research when it comes to SEO. You want to make sure you're using relevant keywords that people are actually searching for. But you also don't want to stuff your website with keywords. This will make your site look spammy and could get you penalized by search engines.

There are a number of digital marketing agencies that specialize in SEO. They can help you identify the right keywords to use as well as help you implement other digital marketing strategies.

8. Focus on local SEO

The key to restaurant digital marketing is to optimize search engines, but there is another dimension to consider: SEO that focuses on the local area.

Local SEO is a subcategory of SEO that focuses on making sure your website appears when people search for local businesses in their area. This is important for restaurants because most customers won't travel far to eat.

There are a few things you can do to improve your local SEO. First, make sure your website is updated with your correct address and phone number. You should also include your city and state in your website title and in the headers of your website pages

9. Create a blog

Blogging is a great way to show your customers that you're an expert in your industry. You can use your blog to talk about the latest trends in the restaurant industry, share recipes, or give tips on how to run a successful restaurant

Make sure your blog is well-written and includes relevant keywords. You should also promote your blog posts on social media and through email marketing

If you're not a great writer, you can hire a freelance writer to help you create content for your blog. Just be sure to edit the articles before you publish them to make sure they're error-free.

10. Analyze your data

No matter what digital marketing activities you're undertaking, it's important to track your results. This will help you see what's working and what's not.

There are a number of digital marketing tools that can help you track your data. Google Analytics is a free tool that gives you insights into how people are finding and interacting with your website. You can also use tools like Hootsuite Insights and SocialFlow to track your social media metrics

Don't forget to track your sales data as well. This will help you see how your digital marketing efforts are impacting your bottom line.

11. Encourage people to review your restaurant online

Online reviews can have a big impact on your restaurant's digital marketing. Customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so it's important to make sure your business is getting positive reviews.

The best way to encourage people to review your restaurant is to make it easy for them. Add links to your Google, Yelp, and Facebook listings on your website. You can also send follow-up emails to customers after they eat at your restaurant and include links to review sites.

Make sure you're monitoring your online reviews and responding to both positive and negative feedback. This will show potential customers that you care about customer service. If you only respond to positive reviews, it will look like you're only interested in praise. It's important to analyze negative reviews for any potential useful feedback, and respond in a measured and respectful manner.

12. Develop a smooth reservation service

One of the most important aspects of digital marketing for restaurants is capturing customers at the right points within your sales funnel. When a customer has identified your restaurant and is inclined to try it out, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to make a reservation.

You want to keep your customer in the same medium that they discovered you in. For instance, if they discovered you online, you want to offer an online booking service. If you do not have an online booking service, and they are forced to call your restaurant to make a reservation, they will be less likely to do so.

There are many online reservation services available, such as OpenTable and Resy. These online reservation services will allow customers to choose the date and time for their reservation, and also include any special information, like allergies, along with their booking.

13. Reach out to influencers and restaurant reviewers to promote your restaurant

Influencer marketing is a tactic in digital marketing for resturants that should definitely be on your radar. Influencers are people with a large following on social media who can promote your restaurant to their audience. Their large social media followings are a treasure trove of potential customers that could be encouraged to check out your restaurant, if only they saw you on their favorite feeds.

Restaurant reviewers are another great group of people to reach out to. Their tastes are respected enough that they feature in publications like news sites and magazines. If you can get a good review from a popular reviewer, it could lead to a significant bump in business.

Reach out to potential influencers and reviewers and offer them a complimentary meal at your restaurant. This will allow them to try out your food and get a feel for your atmosphere so that they can accurately review or promote you to their audience.

Final thoughts

Digital marketing for restaurants is a great way to reach new customers and grow a restaurant business. By following these tips, you can craft your restaurant's digital marketing campaign so that it's tailored to your budget and your needs. With a little effort, you'll soon see an uptick in business. Bon appetit!

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