Digital Marketing Strategies Restaurants Can Use to Get Found Online

Not long ago, my wife and I took a leisurely Sunday drive along the Florida coast. Around noon, we got a bit hungry.

My wife asked her smartphone to “find restaurants near me.”

Instantly, we had a list of restaurants to choose for lunch.

“Here’s one with a fun name,” said my wife. “But I can’t find their hours or a menu.”

“Oooh. Here’s another one that got great reviews. It’s open until 2 PM. And this salad on their menu sounds yummy.”

Within two minutes, my wife proved out the success of a solid digital marketing experience. And that salad was pretty good.

Why You Should Make it Easy For My Wife to Find You Online

Because your customers are looking for you—online.

According to data from the National Restaurant Association, my wife and her smartphone has lots of company.

Consumers use their smartphones to look online to make decisions about where to eat.

Take a look at their data for hungry consumers who:

  • Look up restaurant locations, directions and hours of operation: 83%
  • Look at menus: 75%
  • Read reviews: 55%
  • Use rewards or special deals: 50%
  • Order takeout or delivery from a restaurant’s website or app: 51%

How to Make it Easier for People to Find Your Restaurant Online

Now that we’ve seen how important digital marketing strategies are to your online success, let’s take a look at how you maximize your online presence.

Make “Near Me” Searches Work in Your Favor

Google is more than happy to present their searchers with relevant information about your restaurant. But that means you need to provide that information.

“Near Me” searches are local. Search engines want to present local information.

Make you provide accurate addresses, phone number and hours wherever your restaurant is listed:

  • Google My Business
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • OpenTable
  • Tripadvisor
  • Your Website

By the way, as a restaurant, you should be located on all of the above plus local business and social directories.

Of course, your own website is a must. Make it mobile friendly and easily navigable.

Put Your Menu Online

People are looking for your menu and search engines want to accommodate them. Take a look at how Google presents your restaurant information. There’s a spot for a link to your menu.

When you put your menu online, don’t make it a downloadable file. Nothing irritates an online searcher with a smartphone more than having to download a PDF and try reading through the document on their phone.

Instead, have your menu be part of your website (mobile friendly a must). Have it be readable. Include photos (sharable on social media).

Make Sure You’re Sociable

Getting found by searchers is important. Getting discovered online is better. People love discovering new restaurants, especially ones their friends are excited about.

  • Make sure you’re creating content that’s easily sharable:
  • Food and event photos
  • Videos,
  • Weekly specials (what’s on the menu!)
  • Staff profiles, etc.

Ask your customers where they hang out online and start building a presence there. Social media platforms you might want to consider:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Youtube

Become familiar with your social media channel’s feature. Learn which hashtags get the best engagement. Explore advertising options offered by the social media network. Since your customers are already there, this could be a good way to tap into their network of friends.

Leverage Review Sites

Search any restaurant by name, one of the first things you’ll see is a bunch of stars and people’s opinions about food, service and atmosphere.

Reviews carry weight when people are trying to decide where to eat.

Encourage your customers to leave reviews. Monitor reviews daily.

Thank positive reviewers for their kind words and feel free to share positive reviews on your social media channels and your website.

As for negative reviews, be proactive and professional. Respond to the issue and offer to resolve it. While the negative review usually stays online, how your respond online can carry positive weight.

We’re always available to help your business leverage their online presence. Give us a call at (904) 429-4588.

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