Did you know that 89% of internet users research restaurants online prior to choosing a place to eat? Your online presence is the new word of mouth when it comes to dining out. A good online presence can drive new and repeat traffic into your restaurant but first, you have to be found by hungry internet users. Here's how to do that.
Invest in a modern website. Believe it or not, this internet thing is here to stay. No matter the industry, a website, particularly one that is mobile friendly, is a must. It is a direct representation of your brand and should reflect your restaurant's atmosphere as well as the experience visitors can expect. Visitors should be able to find information easily. Most likely they will seek menus, hours, and location information so make sure these are easy to find.
Successful restaurant websites tend to be highly visual. There is no denying that high-quality, hunger-inducing photos work wonders when someone looking for a bite to eat visits your website. Taking high-quality photos is not as easy as your friends make it look on Instagram so hire a pro.
Utilize on page SEO. SEO is all about making sure search engines properly index your site, increasing your chances of being found by hungry people. When evaluating your site's SEO, check that the page's titles, meta descriptions, headings, and URLs accurately describe what each page is about.
Utilize online directories. Yelp, Urban Spoon, and Zomato are a few of the many platforms people can use to post restaurant reviews online. More importantly, many people use these directories to decide what they are going to eat. In fact, an astounding 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Taking advantage of this traffic is crucial. Most directories allow a restaurant to claim their listing. Doing so allows you to post photos, respond to reviews, buy ads, and edit your business information. The directories also drive traffic to your site by allow you to link your menu.
Stay active on social media. Social platforms offer the unique opportunity to showcase your business on a more personal level as well as interact with followers. Social media is great way to get your followers excited about specials, new menu items, or share relevant content. Share photos of a new dish, positive reviews from bloggers, or share photos followers took at your restaurant.
Use geo-targeted ads. Most people actively perusing Yelp (or similar) are looking for someplace close by to eat. Cue geo-targeted ads. These ads are displayed to users whose GPS location is within a set radius of your restaurant. There are several options available when buying geo-targeted ads. Google AdWords, Facebook, and Twitter offer geo-targeted ad options at no extra cost.
Getting found online doesn't have to be time consuming. Getting your website and SEO set up correctly up front will take care of a big chunk of the work for you. There are several tools available that make managing your online presence easier. While traditional word of mouth is still incredibly important, the new word of mouth (your online presence) is going to take your restaurant to the next level.