These days, so much marketing happens on the web and with search engine optimisation and SEO; if you’re not a heavy internet user, you might still be thinking that television and radio is where most businesses find their customers: not true. Not only is the internet a great way to send a message, it’s also an affordable, simple way to get your restaurant known – not just locally, but globally. Setting up a website or employing online ads doesn’t cost anything like the prices affixed to TV ads, and yet it’ll have the potential to be seen by the whole world.
Set Up a Website
Getting a website up and running is the first step to marketing your business online. Domain names are relatively cheap and easy to procure, and once a website is up and running it takes barely any time to maintain. To attract more visitors to your site, keeping a regularly updated blog can help, but if you’re going to go down this route make sure the content you are publishing is of interest to your customers and isn’t just simply marketing your company.
There are many benefits to having a website for your restaurant. Firstly, it’ll give you a noticeable online presence; having a professional website online will make your local restaurant seem far more professional and reliable. It’s also not uncommon that customers looking for somewhere to eat out will look up the restaurant they’re considering online first, either for opening hours, contact details or menu samples; if your restaurant doesn’t have a website, you’re likely to lose customers like these. Go the extra mile and update your daily specials on the front page each day.
The other great reason to get a website for your local restaurant is that it’ll open you up to the wider world; local restaurants without websites will find that most of their customers are locals and regulars. While it’s important to maintain this customer base, attracting visitors and tourists to your restaurant is an excellent way to boost profits. Whether your restaurant is located in an area with a busy tourist industry or not, there will always be plenty of non-residents looking for somewhere to dine out – make sure you’re on their radar.
Get in Touch with Social Media
On top of having a professional website, creating profiles for your restaurant on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter is also an easy way to market your restaurant online. Facebook pages encourage your customers to do the marketing for you; when a user ‘likes’ a Facebook page, the update will show in their friends’ feeds, and so all of their friends will become acquainted with your restaurant – and even know that someone rates it highly enough to find it on Facebook.
Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are also excellent ways to get news about your restaurant out to regular patrons. Got a new menu up? Extending opening hours? Have a special offer on for Valentine’s Day? Just post a status or tweet on your social media pages and all of your fans and followers will hear the news. If you keep a regular blog on your website, social media sites are also a great way to alert fans to new blog posts.
Invest in Online Ads
Once you’ve set up your website and social media pages, the next step is getting more traffic. Getting more people to view your website will almost certainly mean getting more customers in your restaurant, so traffic is all-important. Social media sites are a great way to encourage people to view your site, but if you need an extra push, online ads are an affordable, cost-effective option that will open up your restaurant to people who would never otherwise see it.
With search sites like google, ads can be targeted at users who are likely to be interested in your restaurant. If you run a pizza restaurant based in London, the ad might only appear for people searching for ‘pizza restaurants London’ in Google; in this way, you make sure you’re not wasting money by advertising to people who aren’t interested. Likewise, Facebook’s ads platform lets you create target groups based on specific interests – how about targeting locals who ‘Like’ a local sports team with a special promotion on match day? Once you start digging into the targeting options you’ll start to come up with lots of creative ideas to target specific groups.
A huge influence in search results these days is location. This is important for local SEO. If Google even thinks that a search query might be remotely related to something where the user is likely to prefer recommendations which are near to his or her location then the local results will kick in. They look at things such as:
•The user’s location when they search
•What the search is for (eg. a type of shop, restaurant, pizza delivery etc.)
•Whether the search specifically contains a location (eg pizza delivery in Cambridge)
•Which version of the search engine they are using (eg google.com for US or google.co.uk for United Kingdom)
If any of these suggest the user is specifically in need of something near to them then the usual results will be over-ridden with results for services closest to their indicated location. Therefore, ensuring that Google knows where you are is essential if you are looking for local customers. There are several ways to do this, including:
•List your address on a contact page on your website
•Get listed in local directories such as Yelp, Scoot and 192
•Claim your Google+ Local profile and ensure it is up-to-date
The Web Isn’t Just For World Wide
It may seem unnecessary at first to have a web presence if you are a local business. After all, you only need to market to local customers, not the whole world, right? Hopefully this article will have shown you how it’s just as important for reaching local customers to be online and that it needn’t be complicated or expensive to do so.