9 Most Effective Online Marketing Ideas for Restaurants

In this article, you can find easy to implement tips for restaurants getting started with online marketing.

Restaurants can benefit from online marketing in so many ways. Today, customers search for restaurants online using their mobile phones and receive marketing messages digitally. They use the internet for customer service and research. Additionally, they read reviews of restaurants online to make decisions about where to eat. Finding consumers online is essential to restaurant owners – so they must get involved with digital marketing.

While you can find some benefits in traditional marketing methods, such as handing out flyers, direct mailing, and local newspaper advertising, the world has gone digital. If you don’t have an online marketing strategy, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Please keep reading for our essential online marketing tips for restaurants.

1. Local SEO: Get your restaurant visible on Google

As the name suggests, local SEO means getting your restaurant visible on Google (or other search engines) when people do local searches for restaurants in your area. Suppose you’re new to the world of search engines and search engine optimization. In that case, it cannot be apparent to understand exactly how search engines work and which strategies will work best for your restaurant.

What search result appears when you type “restaurant near me” on Google? Suppose your restaurant doesn’t appear when people look for your type of restaurant in your area. In that case, you don’t exist for potential new customers. So before you use any other restaurant marketing tactic, make sure you have the basics in place that allow you to be visible to potential customers when they search Google.

On Google My Business, restaurants can register their business descriptions, contact info, even photos and videos. 

Menus and online orders are now also available. Google enables you to add a link to your website or reservation system on your profile. This link makes it easy for customers to place a reservation with you from your Google profile.

To get your restaurant visible on Google, set up your free Google My Business Account here

2. Ask your customers to leave reviews

In the digital age, people research restaurants before they book their tables. That’s why it’s important to have reviews for your restaurant on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Client reviews give reassurance to new clients that your restaurant is good. Reviews also help your restaurant rank better on Google, and this is why you should always ask your customers to leave a review.

And be open about why you ask for reviews from your customers. If you have a good relationship, tell them that this would help your business. In most cases, people will help you and write a useful review.

Pro-tip. Use a tool like Trustpilot or Trustmate to help you collect keyword-filled customer reviews.

3. Get more repeat restaurant customers with Email marketing

If you want to maintain relationships with all your customers, consider sending them restaurant email newsletters. Some may think that Email is a marketing tool that has lost its relevance in this age of social media. But they are wrong. Instead, Email can be the most effective means of maintaining customer relationships today.

Getting people to subscribe can be done by offering valuable content like discounts and promotions. Once a customer subscribes, you need to have an automated set of emails ready to go out once or twice a week. 

By accessing your customer data and combining it with email marketing automation, you can create a personalized email marketing strategy relevant to your customers rather than sending a mass email. To get started building a healthy email marketing strategy, begin by researching CRM software for restaurants and restaurant marketing solutions like those provided by Restaurant Marketing Software.

Email marketing has proven to work because it markets to people who’ve already shown interest in or eaten at your restaurant.

4. Social media marketing for restaurants

Yes, social media is essential to your restaurant. But it’s not enough to scroll through an Instagram feed. It would be best if you came up with a clear strategy for your business. Then hone your system and run it consistently.

In recent years, social media has become an increasingly vital part of any restaurant marketing strategy. The following will outline some of the most important tactics for a successful restaurant’s social media strategy.

  • Spotlight your staff-  Use your team to connect with customers over social media
  • Inform about upcoming promotions and special offers
  • Go behind the scenes with video
  • Re-share Customer Content
  • Host Cooking Classes 

5. Make a restaurant tour video for your website and social media

Good customer relationships are crucial for your restaurant’s success. Your clients know you, and they trust you. And hopefully, they also like you. This trust relationship is significant for a restaurant to be successful. 

But what about all the potential new customers that meet you online? Can they still trust you if they’ve never met you? To encourage people to turn from just a website visitor into visiting your restaurant, you need to establish a relationship with them.

And the easiest way of doing it is via video. A video that shows you, your restaurant and your staff is powerful. It doesn’t need to look like a commercial, but it needs to be authentic. It should show your restaurant and its team from the inside.

You can, of course, hire a marketing agency to produce and edit the video for you. But if you don’t have the budget, record a video with a colleague or friend’s help using a later model smartphone. Embed the video on your restaurant’s website; this can do wonders to your website visitors’ conversion rates to new clients. 

6. Enable online restaurant booking and online ordering

Online booking is almost a requirement for many restaurants. It gives you access to thousands of diners looking for places to eat.

Did you know that 35% of consumers prefer to book their restaurant reservations online? At the same time, many restaurants spend costly hours every week administrating reservations manually. If this is you, you need to change. It would help if you got good reservation software that can manage your reservations online and take care of many parts of your business. Having an online booking system for your restaurant eases the burden on busy wait staff and increases customer satisfaction.

In this new digital era, it’s imperative to create a clear call-to-action that customers can easily understand and use. Let them place an order online. By making the process as easy as possible for customers, you will increase sales and loyalty.

7. Create a functional and easy to update online restaurant menu

Your menu is the most looked at area on your website, and it should be part of your digital marketing strategy. Having an easy-to-read and well-designed online menu helps people make a reservation.

Tips for online menus:

  • Don’t bury the menu on a subpage; put it on your home page.
  • Don’t use a PDF menu. They are hard to view, especially on mobile. 
  • Make sure it’s mobile-optimized so people can easily read it on their phones. 
  • Use a font that’s easy to read.
  • Make sure it’s easy to update

Pro-tip. If you have your internal menu in a spreadsheet, like Google sheet, consider integrating it on your website with a tool like sheet2site. Any changes you then make to the menu in Google sheets automatically updates to your website. This way, you can easily keep the menu up to date in an attractive and easy-to-read form without having to log in to your website backend. Click here to see a menu demo page.

8. Partner with food delivery services

Some of the more well-known are GrubHub, DoorDash, and UberEats. These services allow you to find customers in your area and give you the ability to deliver your food to customers without ever speaking to someone. 

Get your restaurant listed in their directory by going to the website and contacting customer service, and they’ll get you started towards generating new business leads.

You might also be interested in our article on Virtual Restaurants and Cloud Kitchens.

9. Have a blog to rank higher on the search result page

The formula for ranking on the first page of Google or other search engines depends partly on how you write your website content. You need to know the best keywords for your content so that people searching from Google and other search engines can quickly find what they are seeking.

In the first tip, you learned how you could register for Google My Business to get your restaurant to show in the search result.

But to get your restaurant’s website to show at the top, you need to put in a little bit more work. Make sure Google understands what you have to offer so that Google shows your website when people are looking for it. 

The best way to do this is to include keywords on your website that describe what you offer. Ideally, it would help if you created a dedicated page for each of your critical services provided. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Just make sure the page title is your service name and then describe the service you offer on the page. Using keywords like this will significantly increase the chances of finding your business when looking for a specific type of restaurant in their area. 

Also check out our guide on 57 Inspiring Restaurant Website Design Examples.

Conclusion

The restaurant business can be one of the more difficult ones to survive in. Small business owners face failure rates of nearly 50 percent within the first five years. We hope this article with online marketing tips for restaurants will increase your chances of success.

Summary of the nine marketing tips that you can take action on:

  1. Local SEO – Get Your Restaurant visible on Google My Business.
  2. Ask your customers to leave reviews
  3. Get more repeat restaurant customers with Email marketing.
  4. Social media marketing for restaurants
  5. Make a Restaurant tour video for your website and social media.
  6. Enable Online restaurant booking
  7. Create a functional and easy to update Online menu
  8. Partner with food delivery services
  9. Have a blog to rank higher on the search result pages