6 Ways Smart Restaurant Owners use Local Online Marketing to get More Customers

Google, Facebook, and Apple are pumping billions into the intertwined worlds of mobile and online location. And the savviest of restaurant owners are paying close attention.

Why? Because of all the local businesses on this planet, restaurants top the list of the most frequently searched on a mobile device. And with four out of five smartphone users searching regularly for a local business on their phones, you can bet there’s a hearty amount of online restaurant searching taking place in your local area.

When it comes to social media the figures are just as juicy: 85% of a local business’s total target audience can be found on Facebook for instance. What’s more, the average online user spends more time on social media networks than on Google, YouTube, and Yahoo combined.

So being where your customers are most likely hanging out socially online, makes perfect sense. And reaching them on the device they’ve got at arms length 24-7 (i.e. the trusty mobile) could prove very lucrative.

Unfortunately, when it comes to executing an effective local online marketing strategy, the majority of restaurant owners’ time and energy gets soaked up with what’s happening in the kitchen and on the restaurant floor.

For most restaurant owners, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to additionally commit to what’s going on in the ever-changing local digital ecosystem.

So as the battle for customers’ stomachs and wallets moves increasingly to the local web, here’s my lowdown on what it takes to get more bums on seats today with the power of local online marketing.

Bon Appetit!

1) A mobile-optimised website

Considering restaurants are the most commonly searched local business on the mobile net, having a mobile-optimised website is crucial. I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the most important local online marketing tools for bringing your restaurant more customers.

If your website isn’t mobile optimised, not only will Google punish you in the search engine rankings, but your customers will turn away in droves, too. Figures show that 89% of diners check out a restaurant online before dining (indicating the importance of having your menu online). And if they have to pinch and zoom to read your menu on their mobile devices, 62% are less likely to choose your establishment.

2) Local SEO

In order for restaurant owners to truly succeed in getting more customers online to offline, getting your local SEO right matters a lot.

Think about it: Restaurants are the single most popular search on the mobile web! What’s more, 85% of hungry smartphone restaurant hunters convert, with 64% converting within an hour by either visiting the restaurant or making a call.

Understanding and acting on these crucial statistics can do wonders for your restaurant business.

Optimising your website for local SEO is a consistent ongoing endeavour rather than a set it and forget it investment. But the rewards yielded by restaurant owners who wholeheartedly pursue it can be significant.

So it’s hardly surprising to learn that it was voted as the most powerful digital marketing channel by successful local businesses in a recent BrightLocal study.

3) Reviews

The benefits of reviews are twofold: Firstly they are a vital contributing factor to doing well in the local SEO rankings. The more positive and quality reviews you have, the more Google sees it as a vote of confidence in your business – which in turn leads to higher local rankings.

But aside from their massive local SEO benefits, they’re also a formidable conversion tool in local online marketing. Reviews act like word of mouth on steroids: 88% of us trust them as much as we do personal recommendations.

They fuel many of today’s restaurant visits. And they add to your bottom line. According to Yelp, a one-star increase in your rating can lead to a 5% to 9% increase in revenue.

Also worth bearing in mind is that the more reviews you have in Google My Business, as well as restaurant-specific review sites such as TripAdvisor, and Yelp, the more prominence and visibility your restaurant will have right across the local web. That’s surely worth it’s weight in local gold.

If you want help generating reviews, I’ve got some excellent review-generating products to make the process a lot easier for you.

4) Local content marketing

Another way of boosting your sales and profits with local online marketing is to invest in local content marketing. The ROI can be incredible. Hubspot reported that businesses that blog for instance are 13 times more likely to generate a higher ROI than those that don’t.

In the global market, the web has become increasingly saturated with content. From the beginning of the internet until 2003, man produced five exabytes of online content. Today, more than five exabytes of content are produced every single day!

Luckily for you, on a local level, there is still little competition as most local businesses have yet to cotton on to its ability to drive local leads. Or those that are pursuing it are doing a shabby job. Because they don’t understand how to offer useful and relevant information to connect with their local market. Which means there are some incredible wins out there that are up for grabs!

5) Social wifi

As a restaurant owner, you probably understand better than anyone the need to offer your customers free wifi as mobile phones become increasingly ingrained in our everyday lives.

Social wifi allows you to transform your free wifi offering from a monthly expense into a revenue-generating loyalty platform. It works by offering free wifi access in exchange for your customers’ social media credentials, email addresses, or phone numbers. With the expense of data plans, customers are usually more than happy with the trade off.

Having such information allows you to gather a wealth of data about your customer, enabling you to make better decisions to increase customer engagement and build loyalty.

For instance you can use the analytics to gain insight into how often certain customers visit your restaurant. And respond by sending promotional and informative emails specifically targeted to boost loyalty.

Or you can use it to increase your social media engagement or multiply your social media numbers (at a far lower price than what you would pay to achieve the equivalent with online ads). Or grow a valuable email or sms list that you can then market to increase your ROI.

At Location Edge Digital we have certified Tanaza social wifi installers on board so get in touch, if you’d like to find out more.

6) SMS and Mobile Couponing

The open rate of sms is 99% compared with 33% of restaurant emails (and 95% are read within five minutes of reading them). If you haven’t considered adding SMS text message marketing to your local online marketing mix, the time to do so is now.

SMS messaging offers restaurant owners a personal, direct, and highly targeted way to connect with their customers and boost their revenues with loyalty-building offers.

SMS messages enjoy higher redemption rates than other digital marketing channels such as email at 5% and direct mail at 2%. But to truly boost your redemption rates while strengthening customer loyalty, I recommend incentivising your customer with a mobile coupon.

Mobile coupons have a 10x higher redemption rate than print coupons. Plus, they’re a lot less expensive than what you would end up forking out on a print campaign.

And if that isn’t enough to convince you of their potential, here’s what your customers think about them: 68% believe they build brand awareness and loyalty. And 60% say they love to receive them.

As SMS marketing continues to play an increasingly important part in the restaurant local online marketing mix, the time to get started (if you haven’t already) is certainly now.

If you need a hand with any aspect of your restaurant local online marketing get in touch. Location Edge Digital specialises in using location digital marketing to grow businesses. At the moment, we’re offering free local web audits to show local businesses how they’re leaking money with their current local online marketing efforts.

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