The world we live in is digital: today our lives are bound to social networks, apps, hashtags and a need to document everything as we go through it and share it with others. The marketing of any brand, place or product can no longer remain in the old strategies, it necessarily has to include the internet in its scope.
Gastronomy has always been a business whose main marketing strategy was the word by mouth promotion. Today that remains the same, with the only difference that now clients will spread their opinions and reviews on the internet for everyone to see it. The Internet is now the best tool for marketing; from showcasing your restaurant to having a direct contact with potential clients, creating the right content for your audience is the key to popularity. Therefore, to have a successful restaurant, its presence cannot remain only in real life: it has to have a spot on the net.
A way to approach the almost infinite options to promote your restaurant online is having an integrated strategy. Why sticking to just have a website when your restaurant can have a presence everywhere on the net? The possibilities available are endless and they’re all just one keyboard away:
- Brand it. To promote something on the web you first need that Create a brand for your restaurant and don’t stick just with a logo, your brand has to have a strong and well-thought identity before getting to the social networks.
- Target your audience. It is necessary to know who your target audience is. If you don’t know it yet then it’s time to start doing some research. Once you are sure what type of readers is your content directed to, step away from advertising and remember that potential clients are always in the search for online content that is quick, accurate and straight to the point.
- Promote your networks. Once you’ve established and planned your restaurant’s branding, it is time to hit the web. Use your local space to promote all your social network profiles and integrate your client to the experience.
- Google it. More than a search engine, Google is your ally. With Google Places, you can geo-tag your restaurant and have it available on Google Maps for anyone on the hunt for food. On Google+, creating a profile for your place will let your clients review it and show up alongside your address in Google Maps when people search for your place on the internet. The best way to secure the first positions in the search engine is using all of their available tools as they will showcase those before even showing your website.
- Use food directories. Apps and webs such as Foursquare, Yelp, Tripadvisor, UrbanSpoon and others will be your first-hand contact with clients’ opinions and reviews. Be attentive and positive with all the good and negative comments, always answer your clients and be present. An abandoned profile in these sites will give the feeling that perhaps the restaurant is no longer open or out of business.
- Go Social. Facebook and Instagram can be your best friends. Use Facebook to reach a more general audience and promote discounts or special services to integrate your community of followers. Create visual content and post it on Instagram, use hashtags, stories and take advantage of the business features this app now offers. Be witty and responsive on Twitter and have direct conversations with potential clients. When it comes to social networks, more is always more.
- Deliver it. There are tons of online delivery services available all around the world. Study your area and community to know which one is the most used and partner with it.
- Create quality content. Content creation is a subtle art. Do it in a way that your readers would not even realize that you’re promoting your restaurant. This will actually build credibility around your sites and boost your visits. You’re not selling food; you’re selling an experience. Tell stories about your staff, your restaurant, your clients and humanize your brand.
- Get visible. If you successfully used Google tools, social networks and food directories you will be creating a web presence for your restaurant. After that, you need to go the extra mile and be sure your content is visible. SEO is the feature that Google uses it to determine which websites are relevant enough to show them as first options when we search on the internet. If your clients actively share, comment and link your content, Google will consider your sites relevant and increase their rank position. Aim for it.
- Email newsletters. Create special promos, celebrations for holidays or All You Can Eat offers every once in a while and share them with your clients through email newsletters. Make sure the content you send is interesting and don’t spam your audience.
Nowadays, if you’re not on the internet, it’s almost like you don’t exist. Invest some of your time on taking care of your restaurant’s online presence and it will pay off. Start connecting with your clients today and boost your restaurant’s popularity.