Most restaurateurs are aware that customers are frequently researching restaurant menus online before visiting the outlets in person. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, and if your restaurant isn’t equipped to take advantage of digital marketing strategies, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to grow your business.
What’s often lacking is an understanding of how to properly market a restaurant’s online menu. More specifically, how to properly engage with potential customers who are researching your menu online. Many restaurants fall into the trap of trying to use the same tactics that work for other types of businesses, which often backfires and hurts their online reputation rather than helps build it.
To this end, here are a few tips on how to market your restaurant’s online menu:
Create A User-Friendly Menu Website
Restaurants that don’t have a decent website, or don’t update it frequently enough, are missing out on a great opportunity to attract customers. With a mobile-friendly menu website that’s easy to navigate, you can ensure that your site is always available to potential customers. Additionally, creating a mobile-friendly website means that more people will be able to experience your menu stories, discounts, and special offers.
If your restaurant doesn’t offer online ordering, then creating a simple to use and navigate menu website is a good place to start. By creating a user-friendly website, you’ll not only be able to attract customers, but you’ll also ensure that they have a good experience when they do visit the site.
Use Keywords For Your Menu Titles And Descriptions
As mentioned above, creating a user-friendly menu website is a good place to start. Since people are frequently searching for restaurants in their area online, it makes sense to incorporate relevant keywords into your site’s content.
This will not only make the content easier to find, but it can also help your site rank higher in search engines, resulting in more traffic to your site. In general, restaurant keywords are a great place to start, but don’t limit yourself to these terms alone. Think of other words and phrases that describe your menu items, and incorporate these as well.
For example, if you offer Caribbean cuisine, you may want to add other keywords like Island Fresh, Caribbean Cuisine, or even just Fresh Food, to attract potential customers.
Customize Your Menu And Make It Available For Offline Access
Another great way to attract potential customers to your restaurant is by making your food and drink menu available for offline reading. Today, customers can research virtually any type of business or brand online, including restaurants. For this reason, it’s essential that your restaurant’s food menu is easily accessible, and in some cases, available for offline reading.
Since people can’t taste your food until they visit the restaurant in person, it’s crucial that you do everything you can to ensure that your menu is prominent and accessible whenever a potential customer goes online to research your restaurant.
Use Social Media To Get The Word Out
Another effective way to market your restaurant is by posting relevant updates to social media. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, as long as you have a social media account, you can contribute a great deal to getting your name out there. By posting regularly, you’ll ensure that your name keeps popping up in people’s feeds, and they’ll start to associate your business with good food.
Additionally, you can use social media to engage with your customers. If someone has tried your food and liked it enough to leave a review, you can respond by thanking them or offering a discount or deal. Even if you don’t have a review to respond to, you can still use social media to engage with customers via status updates or encouraging posts. Remember: social media is ultimately a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you post, the more your followers will engage with you, and in turn, promote your business to others. Don’t hesitate to post about food topics, industry news, or anything that relates to your restaurant’s brand.
Make Sure Your Restaurant Is Pro-Active On Social Media
If you’re a restaurant owner or manager and you’re not already active on social media, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to engage with customers and build a following. Since potential customers can access your menu online before visiting the restaurant, it’s essential that you do everything you can to make sure that they have a positive experience when they arrive.
Pro-active customers on social media can help increase your restaurant’s visibility online, resulting in more customers and brand awareness. If you’re not active on social media, then it’s time to start building a following.
Incorporate Video And/Or Multimedia Content
Since customers can’t try your food until they visit the restaurant in person, videos and other types of multimedia content are a great way to show them what your dining experience will be like. People love watching videos of restaurants, so if you’re not already using video content on your site, then it’s high time that you started.
Instead of just text, use video content to highlight key points of your menu, explain the types of cuisine served at your restaurant, or show customers the kind of service they can expect. Be sure to include a call-to-action in each video in the form of a hashtag or URL that encourages users to connect with you online. For example, let’s say that you want to highlight the unique dishes that you have prepared. Instead of just having text on your site, which doesn’t provide much information, you can incorporate a video. This video can then become a tool for interested customers to reach out to you, or it can be used to encourage customers to visit your restaurant.
Videos can also be used to show potential customers what to expect. For example, you can use a video to show customers how the food is prepared, or use a series of videos to demonstrate to customers the different courses that they can expect to find at your restaurant. Videos help customers visualize what they’re reading about online, and it’s often even more effective when applied to digital marketing strategies than just using traditional ads. Videos make customers more receptive to the information that you’re trying to get across.
Use Search Engine Optimization To Get More Customers
Creating a user-friendly and mobile-friendly menu website is a good start. However, to ensure that your website gains the maximum exposure possible, you should also be optimizing it for search engines. To this end, you can use a variety of tools to develop a strategy and set performance goals. After you’ve done this, all that’s left is to implement the strategy and track results.
With these tools, you’re not limited to searching for restaurants in your area. You can also enter specific keywords that relate to your restaurant’s niche, and ensure that these keywords are incorporated throughout your site’s content.
For example, let’s say that you’re the owner of a Thai restaurant and you want to attract customers from Los Angeles. Your first step would be to develop a strategy for SEO, build a benchmark, and then implement the strategy. With these tools, you can track the results of your efforts in real-time, and determine the effectiveness of your strategy in obtaining website traffic. Additionally, you can use these tools to find the keywords that are most suitable for your content, and then incorporate these keywords into your site’s copy.
Make Sure Your Restaurant’s Hours Of Operation Fit The Online Research
Since you can’t truly know how well a restaurant will do unless you try it out for yourself, it’s important that you check the hours of operation carefully online. If your restaurant’s hours don’t fit the research that your customers are doing online, then it’s time for you to change them. To start, you can use an app like Google My Business to see what hours of operation your restaurant is listed as, and if these aren’t beneficial to your SEO strategy, then it’s time to change them.
For example, if you’re looking for a Mexican restaurant that serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, your search results may show restaurants that are closed on Sundays or only serve dinner.
Additionally, if you want to attract customers from Sweden, then making sure that your restaurant is open on Saturdays between 2 and 9 p.m. will help you achieve this goal. Since most people in Sweden eat dinner early, setting your restaurant’s hours properly can help expose it to customers in a way that will benefit you.