Whether your restaurant has an actual mobile restaurant marketing app or just a mobile-friendly, search-friendly website, the right digital marketing can be a revenue generator by giving new visitors reasons to visit and loyal customers reasons to come back.
5 Restaurant Digital Marketing Darlings Boost Customer Attraction and Retention
Like it or not, the battle for the hearts and minds of restaurant patrons might be won online as well as in the kitchen. Here are five ways to engage local consumers using digital restaurant marketing tools so you can grow your restaurant faster.
Once a ‘set it and forget it’ type of placeholder for many restaurants with a job of doing nothing more than displaying contact information, directions and a menu, today, restaurant websites and restaurant apps must be constantly updated and be designed to attract and engage local customers.
The more your restaurant’s website (or restaurant app) is optimized to attract local consumers via online search, intrigue them upon arrival and give them reasons to subscribe to updates and visit again, the more likely they are to become first time, then repeat and then long-time loyal restaurant customers.
When it comes to improving your website, including how it displays on mobile devices (which are all important in the restaurant industry, where consumers often take action within minutes after searching for a restaurant online) it’s all about two things:
1. What does the site visitor want to do? and
2. What do you want the site visitor to do next?
Making it easy for restaurant website visitors to do what they want to do is paramount if you want to bring more of them in the door. But landing a new customer is not the end-game, it’s the beginning. Once you have them on site and they got the information they were looking for, what’s next?
Your answers to the first question will get them in the door. Your answers to the second question will determine whether they become repeat customers, leave reviews, subscribe or follow your restaurant’s social pages, recommend your restaurant to their networks, develop loyalty and so much more.
If your restaurant’s website is still in placeholder mode or your restaurant app doesn’t seem to be helping you attract new customers, now could be the ideal time to improve your digital marketing game with these five restaurant marketing ideas.
Attract and Retain Customers with these 5 Restaurant Digital Marketing Ideas
Use Your Vibe to Entice
Google My Business and most restaurant ordering apps give you the ability to post photos (and sometimes even videos) that give customers a peek at the action going on in a given restaurant in real-time. You might not want to post a live stream of your restaurant online (but you could if you wanted to), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t post real-life photos on your restaurant app or website showing happy restaurant customers to entice website visitors to become real-time visitors themselves.
Allow for Online Check-In and On-the-Way Notifications
Allowing regular customers (customers who are members of your loyalty program) to check in online or notify you they will be arriving soon could be a great perk for customers who patronize your restaurant frequently. During busy hours this could help push your most loyal patrons to the front of the line, reinforcing the relationship and affinity they have with your brand. You can also make updates to your website or restaurant app in real time showing any wait time.
Reward Social Payments
Every time a happy restaurant customer posts a photo of their favorite entrée or to-die-for cocktail online, they are paying you with a social signal. Use your restaurant marketing app to generate more social shares and check-ins by rewarding customers for these online endorsements, such as entering each into a prize drawing, sending them exclusive offers or upping their loyalty rewards. One great way to track these activities is to promote use of a unique hashtag that applies to your restaurant. Tie rewards for social payments to your loyalty program as another way to reward your biggest brand advocates.
Trending Menu Items
While some restaurant goers like to stick with one or two favorites, many would probably come out more often if they were looking forward to trying something new each time. One way to highlight things on your restaurant menu customers might not have tried yet would be to show a trending menu items page or app on your website and social networks showing which appetizers, salads, cocktails, entrees or desserts are popular in your restaurant right now. Besides helping to suggest something new, it also essentially provides social endorsement.
Test Market an Item of the Week
If you are introducing new menu items or tweaking old favorites, promote awareness of these changes on your website, social networks, and in email and text marketing with a test marketing program. Allow customers to ‘opt in’ and give them the option of trying the new item with a special offer or a free tasting with their meal.