21 – 7 ways to increase traffic to your Restaurant Website

For many Restaurants, the website is the central part of the marketing plan.

We talk about how to compare the traffic for your website against other Restaurant’s websites, so you know how well your online marketing is performing.

Find out how to make sure that the website is optimised for mobile.

How often you are updating the website? You should be able to make changes on your website yourself, so you can do it frequently without being charged by your web developer every time you make a change.

A quick and easy way to grow your email marketing database and how that works with your website traffic.

How integrating with Facebook can help drive traffic and customers to your website.

Using www.canva.com to create great content.

What can Instagram do for your website traffic?

Making sure you capitalise on all of the great Public Relations mentions that you get.

How often you are updating the website?

Have a listen to the podcast and find more ways for how to increase traffic to your Restaurant Website. For most Restaurants, your website is the hub of your online marketing and the start to building a really powerful marketing database. Some Restaurants have databases that generate hundreds of thousands of dollars every month. This can be the start of it for you! Have a listen now, because if your website is working for you, someone else’s website will be working for them and they will be getter all of the traffic, all of the leads and all of the customers!

**This WAS meant to go out before the NRA Show in Chicago. Oops sorry. We didn’t get a chance to upload it. However, we are going to do a Show special ep covering what we saw, learnt and did along with an ep on a very exciting Restaurant visit that we did and the session with Jon Taffer and Robert Irvine from Bar Rescue and Restaurant Impossible. Stay tuned. We will get these ones out as soon as possible (I am still on the road in Taipei, looking at what tech is going to change Restaurants.) Back on deck next week.

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Podcast transcription on episode 21 – 7 ways to increase traffic to your Restaurant website

James Eling: Hey, it’s James from Marketing4Restaurants and welcome to episode 21 of Secret Sauce, the restaurant marketing podcast. Seven ways to increase your restaurant website traffic.

James: Hey everyone, welcome back. How did you go with the 90-day marketing plan before you open your restaurant? We had a lot of interesting questions from that from people who probably have opened a restaurant, probably may have needed to put a little bit of thought into their marketing plan before they actually opened it. So, hopefully there’s a few of you out there, and look, I know that there was a few people who said that they got a lot out of it and they haven’t opened their restaurant yet. That’s who it’s aimed for.

Obviously, if you have opened your restaurant, that’s a perfect time to sort of test and adjust and come up with some ideas about how you can maximise revenue and profitability for your restaurant. So, today’s episode is a little bit different to a lot of the ones that we generally do. It’s a very focused topic. What we’re looking at is how to increase the number of visitors to a restaurant website. Ideally, your restaurant website. Now, there’s a very important reason that we’re doing this. One of the things that we do at Marketing for Restaurants is we take all of the data from all of our customers and we then put it into a massive big database, and then we start sending out information to our customers to give them an idea about how they’re going. So, we actually provide benchmarking. A lot of other people, they’ll send out an email that says, “You got 100 visits last month.” And you’re left with thinking, “Well, is that good or is that bad? I don’t know.” And it’s a big problem for us. The largest website that we own gets 200,000 visits per month. Is that big? Is it a lot of visitors? I don’t know.

For the area that it’s in, I don’t know. We don’t know how that is. It’s not a restaurant one, so just relax there. But people don’t know, so they get this report usually from Google or maybe from their web provider or maybe they don’t even get the report they just have no idea how many people are going to their website. It’s important to know how many people are going to your website, it’s more important to know how do you compare to other restaurants. And so, what we do is we send out an email, it was monthly. I’ve just canned that, we’re going to got to weekly. So, hopefully we’ll get this feature ready before the end of this month. And we’re going to go to weekly. And now, what we’re going to do with that is we’re going to say, “So, you got X number of visitors to your website. You compare, the average is this. You’re in the top 10 percent. You’re below average. You’re average.” And what we’re going to do is we’re going to drive them to this podcast if they want to increase the number of people going to their website. We know that our customers get more traffic than general, because one of the interesting that we do is we’ve also got customers, we get web traffic for people who aren’t out customers. So, and they’re the people who are using Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system (FROLO) or FORBS, the free restaurant online ordering system which grew last month at 30 percent, and FORBS has been going really well, as well.

It’s a much bigger system, been around for a lot longer and it had a 10 percent growth in bookings. And I think people are really starting to understand that they need to be moving into a digital age, they need to be trying to look for those efficiencies, and they need to be building their own database. And they’re having a look at people like Open Table or Dimmi and thinking, “Wow, I don’t really want to be paying for this.” And so, they’re coming across, and particularly FORBS, we’ve had a lot of people signing up for that. It’s been a busy month with FORBS, which has been really exciting and that’s why we’ve had an increase in bookings.

But we get traffic data from their websites, and so we can tell what the difference is between people who’ve got a website with us and people who don’t. And of course, the people who have got a website with us, we’re always looking to increase the first metric, which is the number of people who visit the website. It’s a little bit of a vanity metric, because at the end of the day you can’t make payroll and you can’t pay for fresh fish or produce out of visitor numbers. But if you are doing something like using FORBS then you’ll have a percentage of people who are going to make a booking. And then there’s all sorts of ways that you can increase the numbers of people who are making a booking. This is the start of the funnel, this is why it’s a really, really important metric. And this is why we’re spending an entire podcast on improving that one metric because the more people that you’ve got in that system, the more people going into the website, the more people that you’ve got the chance of getting a booking from them, getting an online order from them.

Or, you know, even just making a phone booking or not making a booking but coming in because you’ve done all of the right things that you want them to be able to do. So, we’re going to be looking at conversions in later podcasts, we’re also going to look at the other metrics. So, we don’t just focus on the number of visitors to the website. We look at pay views. I don’t think page views is really that important and, interestingly enough, one of our test sites doesn’t have a phone number or contact details on it, and that’s one of the websites, when I look at the number of pages for it it has a huge number of page views because people are looking around going, “Oh my god, these people are idiots. They haven’t put their phone number, it’s not a real restaurant.” But it’s one of the things that we noticed that if you give people a good enough reason to actually want to go to the restaurant, they will search for that contact details.

So, we don’t really focus too much on page views, but we will definitely be focusing on how to increase bookings and how to increase online orders. Because they’re the pointy end of your online marketing. That’s where you make money. And so, you know, that’s really exciting. A couple of other things, we’ll look at Facebook interactions and probably phone calls from the website, we’re still delving into our database to see how important that one is. But today, how to increase the number of people who go to your restaurant website. This is a metric that you should be looking at. It’s an important on. And for 99 percent of people, it’s a key part of their online marketing. I always think that for the vast majority of restaurants the website is the central part of their marketing strategy. And by marketing, I mean online and offline. We don’t want to forget offline marketing, it can be really important. But a lot of the time you’re going to be driving people to a call to action, that call to action is, “Do we go to the website.” Because that’s a place that you can control the messaging that you get out there.

So, what is the first thing that you should be doing. Now, obviously SEO, a lot of people, so we handle the SEO for out customers. You want to be making sure that you’ve got great SEO. And a couple of things that you want to be thinking about is what are the niches that you’re targeting. So, do you have vegetarians, do you let people know that, that you have a vegetarian menu? They’re the kind of things that Google really likes. And so, we’re going out for dinner tonight, it’s my son, his birthday was this week. We’re going out, we’re taking him out to dinner and he said, “I’d like to go to this restaurant.” I was like, “Yeah, that’s good.”

And we had a look and I’m having a look at the menu and it’s just got GF. Now, you and I know that GF means gluten free. What does Google think that GF is? Pretty much girlfriend. That’s confusing to Google. You’re making it difficult. So, it’s those little tiny things that you want to be thinking about. Making sure that you’ve got a page for the niches that you cover, and that you’re actually going to be, you want to make sure that all of the back-end stuff has been taken care of. Speak to your web developer, make sure that they’ve got an SEO plug in there, and that’s all sort of sorted out. We use Yost for all of our customers, and we teach some of them how to use that. We’ll often go in there and have a bit of a look and a bit of a tweak to see what there is that we can do to fix that.

SEO’s not really difficult, it’s about the kind of information that you’re going to put in there to SEO, that’s where the art lies. But you definitely want to be making sure that you’ve got lots of text in there that Google can index. We had a customer saying, “We’d love to get a website from you. This is a restaurant, we really love their website. Can you do something like that.” And it was like, “Well, no.” And they said, “But why?” And I said, “Because it’s not very good.” And they were like, “But it looks fantastic.” And I said, “Yup, it looks fantastic. But there’s no text in that, that’s entirely pictures.” And they said, “Well, what’s wrong with that?” There’s no SEO. Google can’t see images. So, it can do a little bit of SEO around it but it doesn’t really understand texts images very well. So, we said, “We have to redesign that significantly because you need places where you can put text in at the top of the page.” All of the sort of good SEO type things that you want to think about. Second thing you want to think about is your website must be mobile optimized.

Now, why is that important? Well, because Google introduced an algorithm change to say that if your website is not optimized for mobile, it won’t send people to your website if they are on a mobile. Now, people say, “How do I know if my website’s optimized for mobile or not?” There’s a couple of things, I’ll include a link in the show notes for a URL that you can go to that Google’s got and you’ll be able to test it to see if it is optimized for mobile. But just have a look at it, you know. Most people have got a smart phone. If you haven’t got one, borrow one from someone and go to the website. What does it look like? And the typical issue that you’ll see is that you have to scroll up and down and sideways to get all of the information. It’s sort of like you’re looking through a key hole. That’s not optimized for mobile. Google’s not going to like it.

Now, and I spoke to someone, which was interesting, I spoke to someone last week and he said, “You know, I don’t think mobile’s that important. Not many people would be going to our website on a mobile.” Got to tell you buddy, it’s more than 50 percent. We haven’t run that report for a while, I might actually talk to the devs (developers) and get that report pulled out. But it’s definitely more than half the people are on a mobile phone, which is really exciting because a lot of those people, and we see a spike in people looking sort of around 11 till 1. There’s a spike in traffic to all of our websites. And then from 4:30 through to 7:00 —there’s a really big spike. These are people who are thinking about where they’re going to eat. They’re making a decision, they’re making a purchasing decision. You want to have the best website, you want to make it easy for them. Where are you? What’s the price? Have a look at the menu. So, you want to make sure that it’s mobile optimized. Because if it’s not, Google’s not going to be sending that traffic to you.

Now, the next one. Update it. Update your website. Make sure that you’ve got current information there. Now, this is important for two reasons. It’s actually important for three reasons. So firstly, people want to see that you’ve updated it. If you’re talking about your Christmas specials and it’s March, no one thinks you’re that prepared. They know that you’ve left it on for last year. That’s a bad thing, so they’re less likely, I mean is the restaurant still open? Why haven’t you updated it? I’m starting to have doubts about whether I should go there. If you haven’t bothered to change that, what else have you missed out on? Doesn’t sound very good, it doesn’t set a very professional image for you. Now, and people will have a look at it and they go, “They’ve still got their Christmas offer up,” and they’re more likely to leave the website. So, the send thing is Google likes it when people update it. Now, has your restaurant gone out of business? Well, no because you just made a change this week. You’ve put up a new offer, you’ve hired someone and you’ve written a little blog article about that or you’ve changed the menu. You’ve come up with a special for Tuesday nights in June, whatever it is. Google sees that and goes, “You know what? This restaurant is more likely to be open, because they’ve just made a change.”

Now, the third reason goes back to the first reason. If they’re using Chrome or they’ve got Google Analytics on it, Google looks at that and says, “How many pages do these people look at?” And the more pages that people look at, the higher it is in the rankings because, you know what, this is a really exciting website. People like to go, they’re having a look at multiple pages, they are the kind of things that help you in the Google rankings. So, you want to be making the changes. And even for your regular customers, you want to be driving them. You want to be giving them a reason to be having a look around. Increases the page views, increases your rankings with Google. Now, I know what you’re saying, “But, you know, I don’t want to be going back to my web developer every month because, you know, he’s charging me.” You shouldn’t be doing that. You shouldn’t be running your website like that. What you need to be doing is you need to make sure that you’ve got a WordPress website, or some other content management system. But I was listening to a podcast today from the people who we podcast with. They were saying that 60 percent of websites are running on WordPress, you know. Just use WordPress. It’s quick and simple, it takes a little bit of time to get the hang of it. Once you’ve got the hang of it though, you’ll be really dangerous. You’ll be making all sorts of changes and it’ll be awesome. That’s what you want to be doing.

You want to have power over your website. I’ve seen people, and we’ve been having a conversation about menu engineering and it’s like, you know, “So, I reckon you’re pretty light on for price here. You probably need to increase your prices.” And they say, “Yeah, we’ve been thinking about it. But, you know, then we’ve got to get a new PDF done and then we’ve got to send it to the web developer and we just wanted to save the money.” That’s crazy talk. Okay, for starters, you shouldn’t be using PDFs on a website, that’s bad. Secondly, you need to have the power. Because the thing I love about WordPress is that you can be driving home from work one night, have an idea, “You know what? We might run this. I might create a page that talks about that.” And you can go home and you can do it. It’s not that hard. You can add photos in, you can do all sorts of interesting things with it. It’s really quite simple once you get the hang of it. And we may even do a podcast or a YouTube episode on how to do that for our customers. Because it really is a powerful capability when you’re making those updates yourself. So, make sure that you’re using WordPress so that you can make those updates.

Now, email marketing, that’s the next thing. So, of course you’re building up a database of your customers, of course you’re collecting their email addresses, of course you are emailing out to those people on a monthly basis with a reason for them to come in. Now, it is, in Australia, we’re heading into winter. I don’t think the first snows are too far off, it’s going to get really cold. And this is the time that your email database comes into its own. This is the time, because I think, you know, talking to a lot of restaurant owners they make good to great money in summer. Autumn and spring or fall, they’re okay. You know, they don’t make a lot of money, they don’t lose a lot of money. And winter is when they lose all their money. We see that the largest number of restaurants closing is just, you know, two or three months out of winter. They’re coming into, you know, it’s starting to warm up but not enough to really increase customer numbers. And the drag on cash flow’s just been horrific and they just run out of cash, and they think, “It’s all too hard, we’re going to close the restaurant.” You need to be fighting really hard to drag people out of their cozy warm homes to come into your restaurant mid-week. You don’t want to be having Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday where you’re looking after two or three people. That is really bad. That destroys profitability.

Email marketing is the number one way that you can do that. So, make sure that you’re collecting email addresses. And the biggest thing that we did was we created the online booking system and now we’ve got the online ordering system. It’s partially to save you money, that’s a good thing. And a lot of restaurant owners talk to us about that, “We’d like to save money.” I get that, that’s cool. This is much more about you building a database of your customers and not sharing it with anyone else. So, some of the companies out there, they will give you the email address, some of them don’t. Either way, both types are sharing those, they’re keeping that email. They’re sending out offers to other restaurants. That’s crazy, that’s madness. That’s the biggest reason for decreased customer loyalty I think in 2016 is the fact that too many restaurants are sharing their customer details with third parties who then go out and do marketing on behalf of other restaurants.

So, you’ve got to have your own database. You’ve got to be pumping that database. And people say, “You know, should I send one out weekly?” I don’t know, I reckon that’s probably getting a bit spammy. I think once a month. And have a think about it. What is your struggle going to be this month? Are you going to be really busy? You know, is Mother’s Day coming up? Is that something that you want to push. Is it going to be quiet across the week, so you’re just going to try and drive to have a couple of decent weekends. Or, are you going to specifically drive people to come in on a Wednesday night? Are you going to do a deal with a local vineyard to get a sommelier in and do a degustation? Are you going to do a special meal on a Wednesday night? When you start doing those things and you start getting a reputation for those sort of things, people are going to join your mailing list because they like those sort of things and it will get easier and easier and easier to fill the restaurant on a Wednesday night.

When you do that, then you can start filling them on four Wednesday nights, and then you’re having a good four Wednesday nights. And one of the important things about being busy on that Wednesday night is that people are going to say, “Wow, what’s going on in there?” Now, they don’t know that you’re running a special event. All they see is the restaurant’s really busy. They’re looking to the restaurant next door and they’re saying, “That restaurant isn’t busy. This is obviously the place to go. I’ll probably come back tomorrow night and I will eat there.” Now, all of this is because you’ve been doing your email marketing and, of course, the email marketing drives people to come to your website.

That’s where you’re going to, so you’ll come up with an idea for a degustation menu, it doesn’t have to be that. It could be, you know, learn Spanish night. Could be a book club, you know. Have you got a special speaker coming in? There’s 101 things that you can do to bring people in on a quiet night. Is it going to be a happy hour offer? Are you going to do some sort of discount? I know we shouldn’t be thinking about discounting but, you know, is it, you know, free glass of house wine? What is it that you want to do? Test and adjust. This is the really important thing about email marketing. Send an email out and see what people work with, you know. If you do the degustation menu with a sommelier and you get four people in, okay. You failed. What was it that didn’t work? Is it the fact that your customers need a bit of warming up, you know? You take pictures on the night. Obviously, don’t take pictures of the restaurant with only four people in it. Take a close up of the people at the table and, you know, get a couple of quotes from them, you know. You might try it again, you know. Persevere. Or, come up with a different idea.

But you’ve got to be doing that email marketing. It drives people to the website. Now, and the interesting thing is, we see that when you do an email marketing campaign, of course you get a massive spike in traffic. I don’t know, there’s nothing in the algorithm that, no one knows what the algorithm is there. But I see a lingering effect for when restaurants generate a lot of traffic to the website. So, you’ve got a lot of people going to the website, I see, and I don’t know but this is my impression and it’s an affect that I noticed about six months ago. People were running campaigns, we run a few campaigns. You get a lot of traffic to the website and you go, “Wow, that’s really good.” And then there’s this afterglow and it’s like, “Wow, that email campaign must be still running.” Or, “The Facebook campaign must be still…” And then you have a look at it and you drill into it, it’s like, “Nope, Google’s just referring 30 percent more traffic than it was last week. Interesting.”

And this is the thing, I think that there is that little halo effect of a lot of people go to the website brings in a lot more people going to the website from Google. Google thinks it’s a good website to go to. So, email marketing partially to drive people to the website, but partially to help Google understand just how important your website is and that people like it and it’s a good restaurant. That’s what Google’s trying to do.

Now, next thing to think about: integrate with Facebook. So, as you know, we introduced our marketing strategy sessions where we sit down with people. One of the big things that we talk about with restaurant owners when they are going through what it is that they do, you have a look at their Facebook page and it’s like they’ve only got a Facebook page. Now, some restaurants only have a Facebook page, which is a bit tough. I think you’re kind of fighting with one hand behind your back. Often, they’ll have a great website that tells an amazing story about how great the restaurant is and, you know, there’s photos there and you’re just thinking, “Oh my God, I’ve got to go and eat there. That looks awesome.” But the Facebook page is running in complete isolation to that and I think that that’s crazy. Because what you want to do is you want to get, Facebook marketing is pretty good, website marketing is pretty good. Put the two together and it can be really, really, really powerful. And there’s two ways that you do that.

One, you’re going to put the Facebook pixel on your website so that you can re-target. That’s the first thing, that’s an easy thing to do. So, when people go to the website you can then pick them up in Facebook. But the other thing is, use Facebook to drive people to your website. We’re not relying on Google to refer all of that traffic to us. Come up with a great idea, a little bit of artwork if you’re so inclined and, you know, we help out customer with some of that and there’s lots of way that you can come up with the artwork. We’ve talked about using Canva in the past, I’ll put a link to Canva in there as well.

If you, you know, take a photo and then want to put some text on it, that’s a nice and easy way to do it. Come up with an offer, come up with a story, come up with something that’s really powerful, put that on your website and then use Facebook to drive people to that. And we talked about that in the online ordering one, driving people to your online ordering page with an offer can be really powerful because you can target really, really well with it.

You might target males 18 to 25 who are living alone because they probably can’t cook and they’re looking for some takeaway food. Then you come up with a special deal specifically aimed for single people, boom. You can make a lot of money out of that. There’s people who are making a lot of money out of that. Now, same same with Instagram. I know Instagram is really hot right now, and a lot of people are really getting on the Instagram bandwagon. But it’s interesting, they don’t, sometimes they won’t have a website, “You know, we just do Instagram.” And it’s like, “Well, you’re missing out on all of that opportunity.” Because Instagram tells a part of the story.

And I think the important thing with all social media is to think about, ignore the media, it’s social. Social means people. It’s the interaction between people. And it’s the interaction between people’s personality types. Now, I’m the kind of person who will see something and go, “That’s awesome. I need to go there.” And I will go there. My wife is one of these people, “How much does that cost? Are they open now? Where are they exactly? How do I get there? Do I have to make a booking?” Now, that’s just the different personality type. There’s a lot of people, and if you’re social media is not allowing for other people’s personality types then it’s like, yeah, because a lot of people will look at that and go, “Yeah, that’s great but there’s not enough information to be able to act on that.” Instagram’s great for hooking them in, the website is great for closing the deal for a lot of those people. So, make sure that you, if you are crushing it on Instagram and a lot of restaurants are, make sure that you’ve got that link to the website there and, of course, you’ve only got that one link.

So, it’s no surprises where you’re going to put that. Although, interestingly enough, some people will actually have a dedicated Instagram page and, you know, “Thanks for finding us on Instagram. Come in and mention that you found us on Instagram and we’ll give you, you know, a free cup of coffee or a free coke,” or something like that. Just so that they get a feel for how many people are actually coming in from Instagram. Now, this one is a little bit of a dark horse but I love it.

Public relations. What is your public relations strategy? Now, in fact, you know what, I’m probably going to do a podcast on that. I just thought right now, we’ll do a podcast on public relations. I love public relations, because if you can get written up in a local paper, that is free advertising for you. If you can get picked up by a food blogger, that is free advertising for you. What are the things that you are doing that make you unique? “We’re a pizza restaurant and we cook really nice pizza.” Yup, everyone else does that. Everyone else does that. Now, Domino’s say that they cook really nice pizzas, it’s the cheapest pizza and it’s not overly great. But they’ll say that the pizza’s really nice. There’s nothing unique there. If you’re going for a PR angle, you need to have something that is unique. “We have an all women kitchen.”

Or, “Everyone in the restaurant speaks Chinese fluently and people come in here to learn how to speak Chinese.” Or, “We have Australia’s largest hamburger.” Or, “This is Queenstown’s hottest Mexican,” you know. What is there something that makes you unique? We’re coming back to this unique selling proposition. What is it that, because you’ve got to remember food bloggers, journalists, they’re looking for a story. Now, they’re very, very pressed for time. So, you can say, “I’m opening a new restaurant.” Well, great, well heaps of people open new restaurants. What’s great about yours? So, if you’re aiming for PR, tell a story, you know. Three or four hundred words, I’ve gone after getting some PR sometimes and I’ve sent an email out and I’ve spent quite a bit of time crafting it up, you know, “This is what we do, this is how we’re disrupting the restaurant industry. This is blah blah blah blah blah. We’ve hit this milestone, that milestone. Exciting, exciting, exciting,” and you don’t hear anything back. And you think, “That’s a bit disappointing, I thought that would have gone really well.”

And then a week later, in fact, not even a week later, I actually saw something we’re written up in a major newspaper, it went online six hours after I sent the email. Never heard back from the journo, you’ve got to understand these guys are really, really, really busy. There’s so much pressure on them to get the stories out. They just go, “Yup, I can use this. Dot point, dot point, dot point, dot point. Yup, beautiful. Good story. Got to put it in the paper.” Bang! And it’s running. Now, we’ve been on, you know, page three of the Thin Review, we’ve been in the Thin Review a few times actually. Lots of really good PR. For you it’s a little bit different, you don’t want to be in a national newspaper.

But what about the local newspaper? What’s a story that’s going to excite their readers? What about food bloggers? What about all of the people who are writing in the local area? What is the spin that you can put on what it is you do to make them want to write about you? It’s critical to have that link in your website. I’ve seen a lot of people who have been written up, particularly like in Australia news.com.au, it will run stories about this guy told someone with a baby to leave their restaurant and he works really hard creating a fine dining thing, and he cracked it and he’s not allowing anyone in with any kids under the age of five.

Now, that happened. That was in news.com.au. What’s that worth? That would have to be worth $20,000 worth of advertising. Now, I’ve seen people who’ve been written up like that and they don’t have a website. So, without the contact details you’re probably missing out on, there’s $20,000 worth of advertising that just went down the drain because you’re not able to capture that. So, have a think about it. So, and I love that story because that is someone who, they kicked these people out, said, you know, “Don’t come back, because your kids were awful and they were yelling and screaming and, you know, upsetting all of our other customers. And, of course, then those people go ton, I don’t know, Trip Advisor or, you know, insert your favourite going-to-have-a-whinge-because-the-world’s-treating-me-harshly type website about how indignant they were that, you know, a restaurant kicked them out because their beloved first-born brat was creating mayhem as is their God given right. And that got picked up. It’s kind have gone viral —bam!

On a website that gets, you know, hundreds of thousands of views—bam! And, you know what, I love that story because let’s talk unique selling proposition. We offer a fine dining experience for people who don’t want to bring their kids and don’t want to see anyone else’s kids. That is a unique selling proposition. And a lot of people said, you know, “I’m never going to go there because, you know, I love my kid to pieces.” But a lot of people said, “You know what, thank God there’s somewhere we can go now where we’re not going to have kids screaming all over the place.” And sometimes you’re reacting to a bad situation and you can turn it into a massive PR win, but always be thinking PR, you know. I think it’s really important.

Next one, directories. Your local council will have a list of local businesses that you can probably sign up for and get a listing in for free. Now, do they drive a lot of business? Possibly. Possibly not. One of the things that we do is we’ll often trawl through our list of where traffic is coming from, just to find the places that can actually generate some traffic. Now, it’s good when it does generate some traffic because, of course, Google seems more people are going to the website, makes it higher up in the ranks. But just the links in general also help Google. If the council is linking to your website, then you’re probably a legitimate restaurant. And this is one of the things that Google worries about, “Is this a legitimate business? Are people going to be excited that they found that restaurant?”

So, a lot of the local business chambers, there’s a lot of if you do gluten free or a gluten free association you can get listed in, what are the directories that you can get listed in? Interestingly enough, we do a report about which websites refer a lot of traffic, and I know Dimmi in the past has said that they refer heaps and heaps and heaps of traffic, they don’t actually. A lot of those websites, they’re desperate people within their own website. So, you know, Dimmi will have a link to your website. Very few people click on that because it’s kind of auscultated, it’s not in plain view and they want people to go trawling through other restaurants, as well. So, just be careful about where you are making a listing because, and you shouldn’t really be paying too much for it. This is one of the other things. I was talking to a restaurant owner last week and they had a rep from, should I mention it, yeah, Zomato. A rep from Zomato came in and said, “You know, we’ll put a link in, you know, we’ll feature you higher than everyone else so that you’ll get this,” I think they were coming up with a, you know, 10 great this or that kind of restaurant. Obviously, you know, you pay to be featured in that, they wanted $10,000 for it. Now, that’s just crazy bananas. Now, the marketing manager quite rightly said, “No way.” And they ended up giving it to them for free just so they could see, and the traffic that they got from it was okay. But certainly not worth $10,000. Just be so careful with that.

You don’t want to be spending huge amounts of money, because that’s just madness. Now, the last thing is, this is aimed at your repeat customers, give them a reason to come back. “This month our special beer is blah. Our featured dish is this. Tuesday nights is going to be insert offer night here.”

Give them a reason to come back, because they’re going to be sitting there thinking, “I could go out for dinner tonight. I wonder what’s on at my favourite restaurant. Wow, they’ve got this offer. Yup, that sounds like a deal.” Now, this isn’t a big, you’re not going to get a large number of customers there. This is really a niche strategy aimed at your regular customers. They’re going to go to the website, if you see something that’s changed and this is the whole strategy. So, you want your website in WordPress so that you can come up with it and say, you know, you sit down with the chef and think, “Right, what are we going to do? Okay, let’s do a duck ravioli. Yeah, that sounds nice. We’re coming into winter, let’s do, you know, a super sticky date pudding.” “Okay, how do you make it super sticky?” “Right, we’re going to put twice as much of the cream and the stuff that makes it sticky.” You can tell I don’t work in a kitchen. “You’re going to twice the amount of the stuff that makes it sticky and it’s just going to oozing everywhere and, you know, big dollop of ice cream on top.”

Now, I don’t work in a kitchen but I know what works on a website. That’s the kind of thing that drives people nuts. “Yes, look at that, it’s just oozing all over the place. I want to eat that, I want to go there. I want to eat that tonight.” That’s how, and so that’s how you can get your repeat customers because you’ve got to remember the big thing is finding new customers and turn them into repeat customers. So, you may do that with an email marketing campaign. You’ve got to remember though that you’re not going to capture everyone. We always look at the concept of the invisible customer. Now, that is the customer who comes in, you don’t know his name, you know he’s a regular, you’ve seen him around a few times. He pays cash, who is that guy or girl? That family? That group of 10 people? Who are they? You don’t know.

And so, the website, and you might be, you know, doing all of the right things, you might be doing Facebook, they might be on Facebook. They may not have followed you, they may not be in the demographic that you’re targeting. If they haven’t given you the email address, they’re not going to be in your email database but they are going to be looking at your website. Because you don’t know who they are, apart from to smile at them because you recognize them as a regular, they know exactly who you are and they’ll be going to the website. And they’re the ones who you want to be getting that message out. So, there is a rapid fire, seven, eight, nine-ish type things that you can do to increase the traffic on your website. So, if you’re just a restaurant out there, then hopefully you’ve got some ideas there. If you’re one of our customers, then thank you so much for being one of our customers and you probably come here because there’s been a link in your email that you get every week saying, “This is how you can increase the number of people who go to your website.”

So, hopefully you’ll be able to, now if you’ve got any questions ping me or, you know, maybe whoever you’re working with, Donna, Gretchen, whoever it is in the team, Christine. Ping us an email, we’ll be able to help you with some of these things if you’re sort of struggling with it, if you need, you know, some help going through with Canva. We do a lot of help for people setting up email campaigns. That can be, you know, kind of tricky to do first time and we’re happy to help out with all of those sort of things.

And lastly, if you are in Chicago hopefully we may catch up at the NRA show, National Restaurant Association. They’re having their big show in Chicago, I’ll be there. Super excited to be heading over there, going to be meeting lots of really exciting people. If you see me running around, I’ll probably be, knowing me, I’ll have some sort of superhero type T-shirt on. Don’t hesitate to say hi, last time I was there I met up with lots of awesome restaurant owners. Happy to have a chat, it’s going to be really exciting. And I’m going to do a podcast while I’m there. So, the awesome thing about going to something like the NRA show is the fact that there’s just so many ideas there. And it’s impossible to go there and not be really inspired with all of the possibility. I think the biggest problem that after you come back from the NRA show you think, “Wow, what changes aren’t I going to make in the restaurant. Whether it’s new equipment to increase productivity. Whether it’s a new food item that you can add to the menu. Whether it’s a new ingredient that you can use, a new slant on cooking an ingredient.” 101 things there, super exciting. So, yeah, I hope to see you there, if you’re in Chicago hit me up and we may be able to catch for a beer or a chat. Apart from that hopefully you’ll have a busy night. Bye.

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