Free ways to improve your restaurant’s visibility onlineAuthor: Gregory Gould
Being online is great, and you know that. You can tell your existing customers about your website and they can go there and order. But what about everyone else?
You need to be good at being found.
This discipline is known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. There’s a world of tweaks and enhancements you can make. Here’s some ideas that will help you get started.
Take advantage of Google My Business
Google My Business (which used to be called Google Places) is critical for being found online.
1. Create a Google account
If you don’t already have one, create a Google Account for your business. Once you’ve set up your account, head on over to the Google My Business page and sign in. Once you’re logged in, click on ‘Create Account Now’.
2. Find your business
If you’ve been operating for a while, there might already be information about your business online. Search for your company name and location.
3. Make sure your details are correct and complete
If you find an existing result for your location, make sure it’s complete. You can do this by clicking on the Feedback link at the bottom right of the result. It’s most important that your address, hours and contact details are correct. Add any good illustrative images that you have.
Linking your business website will direct more traffic to your website. This will help it show up in search results. If you do link your website, make sure that your key details are complete and current there too.
4. Take ownership of your account
You can claim your listing by clicking ‘Own this business?’ — Google will need some information from you. This can take some time to complete.
5. Otherwise, list your business
If you don’t find your business listed, you’ll need to ‘Add your business to Google’. You’ll be prompted to enter some details about your business and have Google verify them.
Repeat these steps for all of your locations to make sure that all your stores can be found easily.
3. Drive traffic to your restaurant
There are so many ways to market yourself online. Here’s a few for you to try.
Buy some local Google ads
Advertisers can bid on keywords in order for their ads to appear with preferential placement in search results.
You’ll need to sign up for a Google Ads account. The actual selection of terms is tricky but there are online resources to help you out. You may also want to pay someone to help. Consider asking around, using Fiverr or Upwork. Do some research and don’t pay too much for these options.
Search ads should include mention of where you are and a reason to engage with your business. You can target ads specifically to mobile users in a very close radius to your store and generally for people who are local so you don’t need to show the ads to people who aren’t likely to be customers.
Make sure your ads are set to show on the search network only. This will keep your total cost down.
Make sure that when you invite someone to have access to your business accounts that you revoke their access once they’ve completed what they were hired to do.
You need to be on Facebook and Instagram
Social media is important for hospitality businesses because food is visual and shareable.
- Create accounts for your business: Create Facebook and Instagram Accounts for your business. Yes, you need to sign up for both.
- Link your accounts together: The content doesn’t need to be different between your Facebook and Instagram accounts. You can link them up and just use one.
- Post regularly: Add pictures, post often and use stories.
- Encourage your customers to tag you: This will help you generate content and increase your reach.
Printed flyers are great, but don’t break the bank
Print small, cheap flyers with your website address to give to customers. You can convert customers to ordering directly from you by letting them know about your ordering, and offering a voucher code to encourage them to change over.
Get your customers to come back, more often
Be generous to your new customers. Increasing your customers lifetime value should be a priority. Something as simple as a digital stamp card could be enough to get you started.
Encourage customers to sign up for your newsletter. Use the information the customers have provided when ordering to encourage them to return.
You can email your customer mailing list:
- When you do something new
- to spread the word on a special deal
- to encourage lapsed customers to return
Consider adding vouchers to your email list to get customers back in-store. You can make it easy on yourself and use pre-made templates with the likes of Mailchimp to re-engage lost or stalling customers.
MOBI has an integration with Mailchimp that makes this easy.
It’s worth spending some time or money on photography
Be professional about your content, take nice photos and make it look appetising. Most importantly, consistency is key — you can do one photoshoot and have that content last you a month.
Bad food photography will stand out, more than good photography will blend in.
Keep an eye on how it’s all going
Once everything is humming, and you have new customers visiting your website regularly, you should look out for what’s working and what’s not. Using your existing Google account, sign up for
Google’s Digital Garage – also accessible with your Google account – offers training on all the Google tools mentioned in this post, as well as tips for digital marketing and more.
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