Online Marketing for Restaurants: What You Need to Know

Restaurants are a key part of any city. They usually provide essential services for the local community, whether it’s a quick bite to eat or a gathering place for friends and family. Although they are a key element of a city, many restaurants feel isolated and misunderstood by marketers. This blog post will give you a better idea of what online marketing for restaurants is and what you need to know.

The Rise Of Online Marketing

Not too long ago, restaurants had to rely on word of mouth advertising, flyers in local newspapers, and pop-up flyers on web pages to attract potential customers. While these tactics are still effective, they have been drastically altered by the digital age. With the rise of online marketing, local restaurants can now target potential patrons with online campaigns that combine digital marketing tactics, social media, and email marketing. These marketing campaigns allow restaurants to communicate with prospective customers through informative web pages, social media profiles, and email newsletters.

Why Are Restaurants Embracing Online Marketing?

Since restaurants are a vital part of any community, many cities have passed laws that allow restaurants to stay open later and closer to meal times, thanks to online marketing and delivery apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub. These apps make it easy for customers to find and order restaurants near them, which in turn, encourages companies to develop late night and weekend menus. Additionally, many restaurants offer special promotions and discounts through social media, which can be an effective way to attract new customers and retain current ones.

Restaurants also need to be mindful of what kinds of marketing strategies work best for them. For instance, do they need to focus on attracting millennials with food truck events or do they need to stick with classical marketing tactics like print media and radio ads to attract more mature audiences? The answer is usually both. Having a mix of marketing strategies is important because it means you’ll be reaching the right audience with your ads. While print media might not be going anywhere, digital marketing is constantly evolving, so you’ll want to be smart about which platforms your restaurant is using to reach your target audiences.

The Different Forms Of Online Marketing For Restaurants

Depending on your budget and the depth of your engagement, you can create different types of online marketing for your restaurant. There are four primary forms that online marketing for restaurants can take:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Improving your search rankings in the organic results of major search engines like Google.
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Using paid advertisements to promote your restaurant on search engines like Google.
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM) – Marketing your restaurant on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
  • Email Marketing (email marketing)

Since Google is the most popular search engine, SEO is the most essential form of online marketing for restaurants. The better your SEO, the better your search rankings, which means more customers, more sales, and more margin – all important figures to a restaurant’s bottom line. To put it simply, good SEO will get you lots of customers, and customers will leave you lots of money.

SEO Vs. Organic Search

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, which stands for “getting found on search engines”. When a potential customer types in a keyword or phrase into the search bar of a search engine, the results that appear on the site will be tailored to their needs. If you want to rank highly in organic search results, you have to do the following:

  • Create content that is valuable and adds value to your potential customers’ lives. This could include creating an informative blog with useful tips or hacks for restaurants.
  • Use the right keywords in your headlines, descriptions, and even the text of your content.
  • Make sure all of your links are highly relevant to what you are marketing and that they lead to content of value.
  • Monitor your competition regularly to see what they are doing and make sure you are not getting copied.
  • Build a community around your brand, and participate in relevant forums.

On the other hand, organic search results are the results that appear when you don’t have any ads displayed on the page. When a potential customer types in a keyword or phrase into the search bar of a search engine, the results that appear on the site are usually displayed in order of relevance, popularity, and trust. When designing your SEO strategy, you should always aim to appear in the top three organic results for your chosen keywords.

Keywords And Phrases To Include In Your Content

The better you are at using keywords and phrases in your content, the better your SEO will be. In order to optimize your content for the web browser itself, you will often need to look at the keywords and phrases that customers are using to find your content. Since you can’t control what customers type into the search bar of a search engine, you have to put yourself in their shoes to see if what you are typing is appropriate. For example, if you are optimizing content for the phrase “best burger in London”, you will want to ensure that your content is relevant to that phrase. You should also make sure that your chosen keywords and phrases are used consistently throughout your content. If you want to increase the odds of your content being found by customers, use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to find the best suitable phrases for your content.

Create A Plan For Growth

As a small business owner or manager of a restaurant, it’s essential that you have a growth plan in mind. Are you planning to open a second location soon? How are you going to expand your online presence and digital marketing strategies to cover the new restaurant? Having a plan in mind will help you achieve your goals and understand what needs to be done to reach them. You should also be planning on increasing your online presence via affiliate marketing, which we will discuss in detail below.

Affiliate Marketing

Since SEO is focused on gaining free traffic and social media marketing is used to gain followers, the next step to developing an online presence for your restaurant is to learn about affiliate marketing. When an individual clicks a link or buys a product that is promoted by an affiliate, the vendor will pay the affiliate a commission for the lead. There are several great affiliate marketing platforms, such as Shopify, Insta-gram, and Facebook, which can be used to set up your affiliate marketing program. When someone clicks an affiliate link or buys a product that is promoted on your website or social media accounts, you will earn a commission.

The reason why restaurants are so interested in affiliate marketing is because it’s a great way to earn revenue without having to spend a large amount of money. Most affiliate marketing programs don’t require a lot of effort, and you can earn passive income from them. If you go the extra mile and build a following on social media, you can eventually become an affiliate marketer for various companies.

An Unexpected Revenue Stream

One of the main reasons why many restaurants are interested in digital marketing and online marketing is because they can eventually develop an endless stream of revenue. Thanks to the rise of online marketing, local restaurants can now gain a global audience that might decide to visit the location or purchase the food online. Local restaurants might even decide to open a second location in another city, which could lead to even more revenue streams.

Global audiences might not always be the best audiences for restaurants, but they can certainly be a source of revenue, which is why digital marketing and online marketing are so attractive to restaurants.

Key Takeaways

Hopefully, this article gave you a better understanding of online marketing for restaurants. Since SEO is such an essential part of any business’s online presence, make sure to invest in good SEO practices, and continue reading the blogs and resources available on our SEO blog. Also, make sure to participate in relevant forums and build a community around your brand, as this will greatly benefit your SEO strategy. If you are looking for more information on how to market a restaurant, check out our guide to marketing for restaurants or our guide to SEO for restaurants.