Digital Marketing Strategies for restaurants in 2019
In this article we take you through a couple of starting points on your restaurants digital marketing strategy for 2019. Scroll down to the end to download your Digital Marketing Checklist now!
A sound digital marketing strategy
When the average person flips through at least two or three online platforms before deciding where to eat, it is clear that just having a landing page and posting every two weeks on Facebook won’t cut it anymore. In 2019 a sound digital marketing strategy for your restaurant will be as important as having food in your kitchen.
A digital journey
You know how it really goes. A scroll through TripAdvisor to check the reviews, then a cross-check with Google ratings, quickly peak into Instagram to look at the photos of the food and the decor and finally land on the website to read the menu. Decision making has become a very long and twisted path in the digital era and it might sound like a daunting task for your business to master, but the multi-channel online world only gives you more opportunity to become your customer’s best friend.
Staying fresh and modern online
Your restaurant might serve the best dishes, use the finest ingredients or have the number one chef, but if your customers don’t know about it, or even worse, don’t have the correct perception of your offer through your online presence, you will lose them right from the start. We often work with businesses in the hospitality sector which have an undoubtedly superior offer compared to their competitors but have not invested in their digital strategy and have to watch the new kid on the block arrive on the scene and steal their customers, thanks to a shiny website and a smashing Facebook campaign. We don’t want this to be you, do we?
Read on to find out some of the most important digital marketing strategies for your restaurant and to download your Digital Marketing Checklist 2019.
“Having a poor restaurant website is like having a bland Bolognese in an Italian restaurant” (Forbes)
Think of your website as your home. You love your home and you want it to be beautiful, clean, comfortable and a welcoming space for when your friends, family, colleagues or acquaintances come over. It is embarrassing when you invite people over and your house looks like a circus, isn’t it? Well, you should feel the same about your business website, as in most cases it is your first form of contact with your potential customers. People are passing judgement and making decisions about whether or not they will visit your restaurant when they land on your website.
We know that 75% of people will at least view menus on their smartphones before trying a new restaurant (Franchise Help) and +80% of people make use of their handheld devices for searching local restaurants or local businesses (Research Engine Watch). Your website should be enticing, easy to navigate and practical. It should attract customers through beautiful visuals and photography and offer all the information such as location, direct link to phone numbers, online booking service, hours of business and even a direct chat option. You ultimately want people to land on your website and make a reservation in the easiest and most streamlined way possible.
Your social media strategy
“Does it even exist if it isn’t posted it on Instagram?”
Every meal made has become a social media sharing opportunity and your social media strategy will either propel your restaurant to the stars or quickly drag it into a ditch. And when we say quickly, we mean in matters of hours, as one social post gone wrong has the power of a thousand Ceres’ (goddess of Agriculture).
Metaphors aside, we love social media and what it can do for your business, if used correctly. An effective, connected and coherent strategy that engages consumers through their online journey is one heck of a powerful tool, with incredible value for money.
Your customers on social media
75% of consumers use Facebook to decide on what restaurant to eat at (Social Media Monthly) and 93% say the visual appearance of a product influences their purchasing decision (Kissmetrics), making Instagram the perfect platform to invest in. Social media offer endless targeting opportunity, giving you the chance to find and target your ideal customers using paid advertising. A proper social media strategy includes defining your target using data, creating dedicated content for different platforms, defining and implementing a content calendar and using both paid campaigns and social media posting.
Thanks to social media and influencers, word-of-mouth is on a whole new level in the last couple of years. If previously one happy customer would talk about your restaurant with five or ten people, now they can spread their message to hundreds or thousands of people depending on their following.
Influencers are people that have a large following on social media such as Instagram, Facebook or on their blog. Their followers are highly engaged and very loyal people, and a study has found that not only do 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations but 40% had purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram. Including influencer marketing in your digital strategy for is fundamental in 2019.
Influencer marketing strategy
A successful influencer strategy starts from the definition of your target, in order to select the best influencers who are considered experts in their niche. It’s fundamental to create a proper format and set of guidelines when briefing influencers, in order to make sure they properly advertise your brand, sending their audience to your platforms and sharing an agreed message.
We have seen way too many brands engaging with influencers without properly sharing guidelines, resulting in zero return as their message and brand was lost in translation. Being a new form of advertising, it might seem less structured and difficult to track, but if managed properly it’s increasingly becoming one of the most powerful digital tools on the market and definitely one of our favourites.
Winning on Google
Every great dinner starts with a Google search (in most cases at least!). If you want to show up on the first page of the Google search results page there are several factors to take into account and make sure they are part of your strategy.
First things first
First of all, you need to ensure that all your information in your Google My Business is correct and accurate. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a second tool to use as part of your plan to ensure your ranking. SEO is a long term game, which requires a dedicated plan, starting by defining the geographic area you want to own. Next, research what keyword terms and phrases your audience uses through Google Keyword Planner or a third-party keyword research tool. Finally, create a content plan which matches your customer’s interest and your restaurant strategy and also ensure regular publishing.
Paid advertising on Google through keywords bidding in Google Adwords is another path to be considered, especially if your restaurant is new. In this case you will again define the keywords you want to focus on and ensure you properly set a budget based on your maximum Cost per Click (how much it will cost your to generate clicks to your ad).
The points in this article are some simple but key digital marketing strategies for a restaurant to succeed in 2019. At Hank we help businesses in the hospitality industry, including restaurant like yours, define what strategy fits their needs and their commercial objectives. We then turn those strategies into successful realities, all while you continue running that special business of yours.