15 Restaurant Marketing Tips for Success, Revisited

Woman holding open sign in cafe.A while back in 2012, we wrote an article, 14 Restaurant Marketing Tips for Success Online and In the Restaurant. However, as with everything on the internet, a lot has changed within these last five years. Just like in the last blog, this article is designed to help you look at your marketing plan, blow off the dust, and make sure you’re putting your time and resources into the strategies that will help you reach your hungry customers. Below you’ll find our marketing tips, revised and expanded, to reflect the current trends of both the online and restaurant communities.

1. Get a Social Media Presence

As a restaurant, your most powerful tool for an online presence is interaction with your fans on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it: set up your restaurant’s page and post regularly. Show pictures and talk about the passion you and your customer’s share: food.

2. Have a Functional Website

A functional (and attractive) website is the glue that will hold your online presence together. Not only is this strongly recommended for search engine visibility, but is also important to your fans reaching out to you, from online orders to reservations to event planning.

3. Stay Current

Trends and technology are constantly evolving, and you must keep up. This applies not just to the voice and imagery you use, but also your technology, including new services, apps, and website design and functionality.

4. Engage with Your Audience

A common mistake is to think about social media and your website only as a place for announcements – they are a place to have conversations. Make sure to interact with your audience, from responding to comment on social media, to replying to private messages and website form entries.

5. Monitor and Manage Your Online Reputation

Part of engagement and online presence is also your online reputation. Reviews on social media, review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Business are your lifeblood. Make sure to check and engage with reviewers and respond to reviews and comments, both good and bad.

6. Engage in Best SEO Practices

Remember that website? Make sure it’s good to go with the basics, so it shows up in searches: meta titles, descriptions, keywords, and now – as a modern addition – an SSL certificate. Still ranking poorly? Check out our blog, I’ve Owned This Domain Forever, and It Still Ranks Poorly – Why?

7. Enlist Local Food Influencers

A fantastic way of getting your food out there is to partner with social media influencers, bloggers, and other businesses with an established online presence. Many will visit your restaurant to take photos of your food and share their experience on their personal social media accounts or blogs in exchange for the meal.

8. Use Online Restaurant Tools

Your website doesn’t just have to be another place for your menu. Integrate it with an online restaurant reservation tool. Don’t have in-house delivery? Think about getting listed on a third-party delivery service such as GrubHub or UberEats.

9. Retain Customers Electronically

Start building and growing an email database, and use it to send out newsletters. Remind customers of your presence, extend offers and coupons, notify them of upcoming events, as well as updating them of menu and hour changes. From new locations to special events, keep making them think about you.

10. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

Social media platforms and online presences tools are constantly changing. Be open-minded about trying new things, as well as stop using things that aren’t working. If you’re already on Facebook, but not on Instagram, give it a shot: you might be surprised how easy it can be.

11. Incentivize Your Customers to Come Again

Your social media presence can help build a community around your restaurant, but you also need a way of bringing clients back. As mentioned about, newsletters with offers, coupons, and events are a great start. Also think about creating and implementing a customer loyalty program to incentivize people coming back, again and again.

12. Give Your Menu a Makeover

As anyone with daily special knows, people will come back for their favorites, but also for something new. Make sure to overhaul your menu on a yearly basis, not only changing what’s on the menu but as a part of continually updating your brand.

13. Talk to Your Customers

Between social media, review sites, and website forms, you’ve got a lot of chances to interact with your customers. If you want to know about what you’re doing right, what they want, or what they think of something: ask them! Knowing what makes you stand out, and what you can improve, makes for a better interaction, as well as opportunities to have them share you with friends and family.

14. Give It Time

Trying out a fresh marketing strategy? You’ve got to give it time to build momentum and grow to really see the difference. Establishing an online presence takes time and work. Things don’t happen overnight, and many increase slowly at first. From Facebook fans to newsletter mailing lists, give it time.

15. Be Creative and Know Your Brand

Marketing is not a one-size-fits-all plan. Not every tool will work as well for every brand, and it’s up to you to know your brand, do your research, and use the tools in a way that fits your restaurant. For example: have food that isn’t photogenic? Use the image-heavy Instagram to show behind-the-scenes instead.

We hope our newly revised blog on restaurant marketing tips can help you succeed in the ever-changing world of online marketing. Just like five years ago, Vision Advertising is a full-service internet marketing company, ready to help with your online presence, website design, and branding. Contact us today to get started.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by his background, Alex writes “social media content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to whitepapers and beyond. In addition, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision’s clients, along with social media advertising for others. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, compiles tabletop roleplaying system conversions, and cooks a mean Chicken and Dumplings avec Peas. A videogame enthusiast, he is also developing his first video game with the startup game studio, Pretty Weird. He is terrible with plants*.