Marketing is always an essential asset to the business. But half of the world is going on a cloud while the rest are trying to figure out how. Businesses need to take the same approach to meet the consumers. In the F&B industry, restaurant owners, alongside upgrading their food, need to up their marketing as well.
When it comes to marketing, every individual is a customer. That is especially the case when it comes to food. However, people may be slightly skeptical towards food that comes from a relatively new restaurant. Traditional methods of marketing have been the ideal ways to draw in more customers in the F&B industry. However, with technology taking over, one needs to find newer ways of getting visibility.
To make sure that you get the most out of both worlds, one needs to work with digital marketing for restaurants as well as traditional marketing. Hence first, let’s see why digital marketing will be ideal for your restaurant business.
What is Digital Marketing?
In layman’s terms, digital marketing refers to any kind of marketing that is performed through digital mediums. This entails marketing and advertising over online platforms, social media platforms etc. Marketers use such methods and strategies to bring more potential customers and promote their brands to enhance visibility among consumers.
There are many ways of advertising over the internet. Many use email marketing, applications and website advertising to push brands and reach out to customers that would be ideal for the brand.
Result of Effective Digital Marketing for Restaurants
Traditional marketing has proved to be very effective in the past. Marketers have produced some exceptional campaigns that are still in people’s minds. One of the most prominent marketing campaigns is Burger King’s against McDonald’s, saying ‘Never trust a clown’.
Thus, creative marketing can win over hearts and minds, whether it be in traditional marketing or digital marketing. In restaurants, owners can own digital marketing with creative campaigns and jumping over trends that float across social media platforms. Some of the benefits of having digital marketing strategies are mentioned below:
- Quick Access to Customer Reviews
Given any restaurants where people may visit, they usually do some homework. People now like to put their money and get its worth. One of the benefits of digital marketing for restaurants is that a restaurant would have faster access to feedback. When restaurants are proactive in replying to their customers, it builds trust that encourages people to return to the restaurant.
- Damage Control
Just as there are good reviews, bad reviews or criticism is also a huge part of a business. Social media messaging for restaurants allow people to openly criticize if there is a slight inconvenience. With that in mind, should a customer be unhappy with a service or food, with digital marketing strategies, restaurants will be able to reach out to them, and offering their regret. This indicates that mistakes happen, and people are willing to take responsibility for it.
- Hike the Sales
When a business incorporates digital marketing strategies into their model, the world becomes an open pool of potential customers. This is a game of patience and hard work which one has to build over the social media and digital platforms alongside maintaining offline credibility. Once this is done, it forms a chain reaction of users across all the digital platforms, thus hiking the sales.
- Less Expenditure on Marketing
Another fantastic benefit of digital marketing is that there is more room in the annual budget. Since every advertising and campaign is digital, traditional marketing budgets can be cut short. This means that the money can be put to different uses while getting similar visibility, if not more.
11 Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Restaurants
There are an n-number of ways that digital marketing services can save a dying business. If that is a possibility, there are even more ways that digital marketing for restaurants will boost an existing conglomerate.
Every industry serves its own niche and caters to its respective target audience. Hence learning about the market is the first step toward creating a suitable operation plan. This plan becomes a baseline for the strategies that will provide excellent visibility to a restaurant. That said, one also needs to be flexible enough to twist the existing plan according to the trends in the Food and beverages industry.
Digital marketing strategies, when implemented in the right way, prove to be helpful to businesses in many ways. It provides more visibility and grows sales but, more importantly, seamless communication between consumers and providers. Here are 11 digital marketing strategies for restaurants that you may use to keep your customers happy.
1. Make a Simple Yet Elegant Website
The new generation has a tendency to research before they put down their money. One of the first things that a consumer would check before reviews are your website. Thus, ensure that your website reflects the restaurant’s personality with severe authentication.
Needless to say, one must have their website up to date as well as functioning. Since the industry is not very tech-driven, restaurant owners tend to overlook the functionality of their websites which results in broken pages, thus losing credibility.
Your website is the first step toward social media marketing for restaurants. It is also the first peek at your restaurant. Usually, your website is the moment of truth. Thus, ensuring that you have most of the information in a simple yet elegant format is ideal for encouraging more traction. This includes menus, pictures and ambience with your mission and vision.
2. Strong SEO Engagement
While digital marketing is relatively new, it has been used by businesses for a long time to help them expand. In the F&B business, the idea is still difficult to execute without professional help. To reach out to the target audience, restaurant owners may get professionally clicked images of the food. However, good pictures also need to be paired with proper SEO marketing.
With proper SEO marketing, restaurant owners can bring their business to light. The keywords, such as ‘fine dining restaurants near me’, will give you more visibility. Tools for SEO marketing for restaurants are available avidly which can be of assistance to effective keywords for websites and blogs.
Websites and blogs need to be updated with regular posts to gain easy visibility. The advantage of SEO marketing is that one can add backlinks to more posts to their websites. Additionally, adding embedded pictures and metadata with regular blog posts increases the chances of gaining organic traffic. Thus, the more traffic there is, the more customers to the outlet.
3. Send Smart Promotional Messages
Everyone can form promotional sentences and send them to consumers. But the goal is more than just sample text message marketing for restaurants, it also needs to build brand recollection.
This may only be possible with smart message marketing. One of the easiest ways to do so is by staying up to date with pop-culture references among the generic promotions. This works effectively when you also maintain consistency with your texts.
Grofer’s Blinkit or Swiggy are some of the best examples for promotional messages. They are up to date with the current trends and indulge them with their promotional messages. Thus, even if the customers are barely interested in buying products, most people open their notifications.
4. Be Prompt with Reviews
The next step to creating effective digital marketing strategies for restaurants is to keep a close eye on reviews. You must remember that not everyone likes everything so that you may get negative comments.
This is where you must shine. People make mistakes but whoever handles them gracefully takes the prize. It is not ideal to let a comment sit for long. Thus, be prompt with replying to comments and handle the bad ones with care.
However, all things considered, not a lot of people are encouraged to leave reviews on the site unless they criticize. But good reviews demand good food in the industry and thus develop credibility. Hence, if one is new to creating digital marketing strategies for restaurants, encouraging people to leave good reviews is the first step.
5. Wifi Marketing
Digital marketing for restaurants could not get easier with wifi marketing. It is easier to lure consumers into your business when you serve free wifi along with coffee. The young generation is a sucker for connectivity, and you may use it to your advantage.
With free wifi, you can promote a buy one get one offer when they connect to your server. For example, when people pass through a restaurant and get connected to their wifi or hotspot, they may send them promotional messages instantly, perhaps offering a small discount.
Additionally, you can use this opportunity to set up a customer database which will help you in the future. It could be used to create personalized ads or even for email/SMS marketing.
6. Email Marketing
One can consider email marketing as modern cold calling. While calling is very effective yet traditional, email marketing makes the consumer pool narrow. Digital marketing for restaurants is incomplete without email marketing for restaurants. The idea is to send out newsletters to the customer regularly. This could be anything new on the menu or a discount offering.
For effective email marketing for restaurants, one needs to set up the database first. The fastest way to make a database for interested clients could be to make them subscribe to newsletters. The trick in digital marketing strategies is that everything is connected.
For example, a website of particular restaurant posts regularly and advertises it over social media. When it starts getting attention and traction, they might ask people to subscribe to their newsletter, which may come out every month. When people do that through their emails, they can use the data to send out cold emails, thus inviting people over for discounts and events that may be planned.
7. Limited Period Offers and Loyalty Programs
As a comprehensive digital marketing solution for restaurants, you can use the customer database to promote loyalty programs and limited offers. A small cashback or a free dessert at the end of the meal or their next meal brings back 80% of the customers.
The great thing about social media marketing for restaurants is that you do not have to wait and establish a marketing campaign to reach out to your customers. This also allows you to be the first to reach a trend.
Thus depending upon the trend and perhaps an occasion, limited offers are a great way to attract customers. Announcing happy hours or having a Christmas-themed entree gives an opportunity to explore and play with new dishes that the customers may find appealing. You could also host live concerts/music shows in your restaurants to keep your guests entertained. Karaoke has become another fun activity in restaurants after 9 pm on specific days in the restaurant.
The aim is simple – keep the customer happy.
8. Tell your Story
When a restaurant has built decent credibility for themselves, people want to know more about them. The background of the outlet of the business itself makes customers feel close to the restaurant. Hence, people tend to become regulars there.
While one can always record interactive videos as a clever digital marketing strategy for restaurants, a better way would be to make the best out of both. For example, one way would be to host an event that would be dedicated to the restaurant’s history, perhaps on an anniversary.
The event would tell the story of how the business owner came up with the idea of opening a restaurant. The mission and vision of the business could be conveyed through food and theme. To become the cherry on top, the entire event could be live streamed on social media. Thus, people who attend get a great experience and people who do not wait for the next one.
9. Communicating Through Social Media
Social media is one of the most effective tools that can bring a business closer to a customer. Twitter and Instagram are leading in the platforms where the user database is the highest.
Effective social media marketing for restaurants results in building a community and thus enhancing credibility. More than that, one can build collaborations with prominent pages. On doing this, the restaurant pages will get more visibility and add more followers on their pages resulting in a bigger crowd in the outlet.
Moreover, digital marketing strategies in social media prove to be more effective when you engage the audience so as to keep them coming back to you. This can be done by educating them about different dishes. For example, there are many ingredients that are unknown to the untrained eye. A good engagement strategy would be to make videos and elucidate on ingredients and the various ways that one can use them.
10. Influencer Marketing
With Instagram becoming the biggest platform after Meta took over, influencer marketing for restaurants is massively booming. It simply started with people posting about their lives and gaining followers. What started as just another platform like Facebook became an effective platform to build and expand businesses.
In the F&B industry, influencer marketing can bring a huge crowd to a restaurant. For example, on the occasion of Valentine’s day, one can organize a themed event and invite influencers. This can be done on simply a barter basis, like offering limited dishes or simply on a monetary basis.
Influencers tend to post them on their social media platforms which gives visibility. However, finding the correct market of influencers is the key. One cannot expect more turnovers if they call for beauty influencers. Since their audience is more from the beauty industry, the turnover may be minimal. Hence look for the idea market who cater to the F&B industry and helps you publicize your restaurant.
11. Partner with Third Party Apps and Websites
Now saving the best for the last, third party collaborations are key to your restaurant’s growth and eventual success. To be visible in the public eye, get featured on third party apps like Zomato, Swiggy, Dineout etc. Add beautiful photos of the ambience and the food while ensuring stellar customer reviews since they can affect the rating of the restaurant. Allowing for food delivery services can be another great way to build income while increasing the reach of your restaurant.
You could also get guest posts written on different websites or try to get featured in websites that feature new places or great restaurants like LBB. This can help you get in the public eye.
Also Read: 10 Ways To Boost Sales to Your New Restaurant Business (Ultimate Guide)
Growing your business is risky and can have a lot of competition. Having digital marketing strategies handy is a great way to be prepared against competitors. Unfortunately, marketing is very strategic these days rather than in older times. Once upon a time, one would simply have some great recipes and open a restaurant. Now, one needs operation plans, budgets and strategies to get a business up and running successfully.
While there are many disadvantages to people being on their phones all day, it also exposes them to great products. Using this to establish your place in the market is a wise man’s work. Digital marketing strategies for restaurants are bringing the producers and consumers into the same pool. These 11 strategies are sure to help you get into the digital world and crush your goals.