We aren’t having a go at Tunnel Bar-B-Qs ad. This ad ran in 1986 and Tunnel Bar-B-Q is still going. They must be doing something right!
For 99% of restaurant owners, the good old days are gone where a Yellow Pages ad, a bit of word of mouth and good old fashioned customer service was enough to make your restaurant successful and profitable are gone. People go online to find and book a restaurant and if your marketing plan isn’t set up for this, you are missing out on a large part of the market. Your website should always forms the central part of your online (and offline) marketing plan.
We are often asked what a restaurant website should have to be competitive. Here is our check list of what we see restaurant owners using to increase the number of new customers they find and to turn them into repeat customers. If you aren’t ticking off on all of these points, then maybe the marketing for your restaurant is a little old fashioned.
- Search Engine Optimisation: The internet is like the Yellow Pages of last century, except there is no index, no alphabetical listings and no way to see what your competitors are doing. Search Optimisation is one of the key ways to dramatically increase customer numbers. We have customers with great strategies getting thousands of visitors every month. This is especially important in tourist areas and areas with high density housing.
- Facebook Integration: Your online marketing works best when it is integrated. Show people how many people like your restaurant, who many of their friends like your restaurant and get them to like your Facebook page on your website. This is quick and simple marketing that gets you the social validation that is so important with Word of Mouth.
- Sign up for Newsletters: Your business is your database, so you want to be trying to capture customer details at every opportunity. You website operates 24/7 and it should be building your database for you 24/7.
- Email marketing database: There is no point having a great database if you don’t have a way of reaching out to your customers. For many restaurants, email marketing is the quickest and easiest way to dramatically increase the return from their marketing. Your email marketing should be tested and measured and also you need to ensure that you are compliant with antispam laws.
- Online Bookings: Taking bookings online is a brilliant way in increase your customer database, save time on the phone, decrease the number of errors in booking and make it easier for your customers to deal with you.
- Optimized for Mobile: 36% of all visitors to a restaurant website are on a mobile phone, less than half are on a desktop, and there rest are on tablets. The vast majority of restaurant websites aren’t optimised for tablets or mobile phones, making it harder for customers and potential customers to deal with you.
- Edit your own content: Online marketing is all about testing and measuring and keeping your content fresh. A new offer this month? It should be on you website. Changes in the menu? Should be on your website. Making changes on your website is something that you should be doing, not sending it through to a web developer and receiving a bill 3 days later when it finally gets updated.
- Automated Birthday Campaigns: We are all very busy, with not enough time in the day. Automated email campaigns, like birthday campaigns allow the marketing to continue, even if you forget or don’t have time. This is the simplest way to run your marketing!
- Great images: Your website does the marketing and your menu and photos do the selling. How good are the photos on your site? We’ve spoken about some great ideas to get awesome photos for your website and we see restaurants every day uploading great photos that make people want to make a booking and have a meal with them. Get your cameras out people!
- Comparative Analytics: We often ask restaurant owners how hard their website is working for them and we often hear responses like, “Our website is great, we get 200 visits a month!”, which is great except many of our customers get over 200 visits a week and some are getting 200 visits a day. We feed back to our customers information on how well their online marketing is working and what areas they need to improve – based on what we see working across Social Media, Search Engine, Email and Websites.
Many of our customers run brilliant restaurants. They have the secret recipe – Great Food, Great Value and they provide their customers with a Great Experience. We provide the Great Marketing. You don’t want to be running the best restaurant that no one has ever heard of! Our restaurant website packages start from just $495 setup and $49 per month and cover off on all of these points. If you are missing out of more than 3 points on our checklist, you need to do something today to make sure you aren’t losing customers to your competitors.