Powerful Marketing Ideas For Your Restaurant
This is going to be an eye opener and the “secret sauce,” to give you guidance in the right direction to include: SEO, The importance of your website, how to improve guest counts in your restaurant and more importantly, building your brand.
Take these relevant ideas and the sky’s the limit for your success.
WEBSITE DESIGN – Simple is better
The website is the primary communication for the customer who doesn’t know the first thing about you.
It is very important to give them a virtual tour before they come in.
Getting a professional photo shoot done is absolutely the most important thing you can do for your website. Especially in the restaurant business.
People have this mindset that they have to make this work of art website; that has to be perfect. That has to be so visually stunning it will just blow people away when they find it.
So their downfall is that they don’t put any money into Search Engine Optimization. So people will never ever find this awesome work of art website that they have done. We’ll get into that in a minute.
When it comes to your restaurant website (web presence) your marketing dollar for this shouldn’t cost more than fifteen hundred dollars. That is the going rate. Preferably WordPress (as your platform) because it is a powerful tool with many marketing plug-ins.
If your designer is trying to talk you into a five thousand dollar platform, run! You do not need it. Your marketing dollars need to go into SEO. If you are spending more than the recommended fifteen hundred dollars you are doing it all wrong. It doesn’t need to be all things to all people. It is not necessary. You are making your website into being found.
Statistics show that by 2020 websites will be irrelevant. Because Google is providing so much information without even getting to the website.
When you type in a restaurant there is a knowledge panel. Which is the map, pictures and hours to the right? That piece is getting more and more robust. Most people are going in to get your contact information, or your hours, or a couple of photos or your YELP reviews.
The website is becoming less and less important. But by all means, have a website. The point here is, it doesn’t need to be that “work of art,” people have been misled to believe.
When you have professional photographs that make up the majority of your content, that does tell a story. That gives them the virtual tour of what the place is going to look like. What the vibe is about. What the food is about. You obviously get a great food photo shoot and put all the stuff together. So they are not guessing. By the time they walk in the door, they have a great idea of what the place is. You are able to show it off. The great thing is not that many restaurants are utilizing high-resolution professional photos. So you will automatically look better than your competition.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
You need to put in 90% of your budget into being found. So your SEO is absolutely crucial.
SEO is very complicated, to most people, it is such Voodoo they don’t even understand it, and we don’t blame them.
The main approach you need to take with your SEO expert is this.
You have to find a keyword that has a lot of monthly clicks. A lot of traffic, yet not a lot of competition. That’s the sweet spot.
Find a very good blend of the two
For example: Type in: “Restaurants near me.” Gets 11 million searches a month. That’s the most competitive key word out there. So if you are just going for that word, you are going to be up against every single other restaurant out there. Of course, it has to do with if your GPS is on in your phone. Then it is going to pick up the closest ones to you. Then you could get lucky.
Another example: “Restaurants in Cape Coral, FL,” where we are. Then you are up against some even more serious competition.
Try: “Cape Coral, FL patio restaurant.” We found that the word was getting 6K searches per month and there was no competition. So optimize with your expert for organic wording like that. So there’s a hint that may allow you to get to the top on Google in 30-60 days (which is tough). Usually, SEO is a very long-term approach.
Allocate a monthly budget. It is a monthly maintenance. It is not something you do once and forget about it. It goes on and on forever.
The organic search results are called organic for a reason. They are always changing. They are always evolving. You could be number one day, and number ten the next day It is really all over the board. It’s the SEO expert that puts the most attention and constantly working SEO that excels.
BACKLINKS (listing syncs)
Find an expert who offers listing syncs. Backlinks, it is the number of other websites and directories and other platforms (have a link) that point towards you. If you have a link on your Facebook page, Instagram, Trip Advisor, Open Table, and Yelp. List yourself with at least 50 directories at least, and lock into it. Because Google is watching. If you aren’t on top of it then Google thinks: “Well okay, if nobody else cares about this website, why should we.”
Once you have 50 different directories pointing to your website, all of a sudden Google’s algorithm sees it as: “Ohhh this is a very important site, people care about this. We are going to put it at the top of the search results.
One of the things that Google and Facebook have both opened themselves up to lately is users generated content or what they call: “SUGGESTED EDITS.” It is a very terrible idea, but it is what it is. Stay informed!
Have you ever been somewhere (the restaurant’s in particular) and gotten a notification from either of these two? We have and used it. It pops up and asks you: “Hey are you at ABC Restaurant?” If you hit “YES,” it will ask you: “Are these hours correct?” As a customer, you can change the hours of a restaurant you are sitting in. It is completely insane. Then it will ask: “Is this the address?” Honest consumers will hopefully give true information. Because most would think it would go into a pending mode for 90 days and they are going to aggregate it with a bunch of information and make a decision. We got a notification from Google within 45 minutes on one of our client restaurants. It says: “Your changes have been applied.” We looked on Google and sure enough, our changes were applied. Get someone who knows what they are doing to lock consumers from doing this to you.
Statistically, 85% believe online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member. Online reviews (next to word of mouth) are the most important thing for driving new traffic.
Word of mouth brings new faces to your restaurant. Word of mouth is king. It is 2/3rds of new people walking through your doors. The second one at 22% is online reviews and the third is Google.
Almost all restaurants approached don’t have a pulse on their online reviews or they don’t optimize them and they don’t work them to their advantage.
These reviews are so easy to respond to and to actually have a presence on there. But what we found is very few restaurants do this. It is so important, yet so missed. It truly blew our minds here to discover these online reviews were being neglected.
The reason you should respond to ALL online reviews or hire someone, or delegate someone in your restaurant. No excuses. Recommendation: respond publicly to all reviews, good and bad. Think about it this way, if you are just responding to negative reviews you send a message to the positive: “You are not important enough to get a response unless you are pissed off.”
You want to thank your fans and invite them back in. Put your contact information on every single response to include: Name, email address, and cell number, every single response. You may think your phone will blow up or that your phones going to ring nonstop, thinking you will just get bugged by everyone. It will not. Every single response.
Your contact information is out there. You will probably get one phone call a month. Or better yet, when your establishment isn’t reachable you will find people calling asking to book a table and you get them in touch with the right person in your restaurant. You will be amazed it fields that review from the individual who was just about to give a one-star review because maybe they had a terrible experience you were unaware of.
Devote time to monitor and respond to every review because it is critical. You have the big four review platforms. Google, Facebook, Yelp and Trip Advisor it is time-consuming. There are systems out there (platforms) that will aggregate everything into one platform. Use the tools available, systems that are all in one, coming in a big feed through a dashboard. Worth every penny. You must respond within 72 hours to be effective.
We want to show you how to shift the mindset or paradigm of the average restaurant owner/ operator. You are spending very little money at all if any money at all on things that have the greatest impact on customer traffic and building your brand and using your staff to become brand ambassadors for your business. If you show your customers a good time, you can be sure they will be telling their friends and family: “You have to go to that place.” “The service was amazing.” “The food was amazing.”
But so many people that are in the restaurant business continue to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the traditional radio, print, tv and direct mail stuff. Stop it, you need to remember this is 2018 and work on your internal marketing. Start working on your restaurant’s online reviews, it is free marketing. All it takes is the time and the creativity and putting your best spin forward to give your customers an idea of what’s great about your restaurant. And responding to any negative reviews too.
INFLUENCE STAR FACTORS WITH INTEGRITY (More 5 Stars) Yelp has really strict terms and conditions when it comes to soliciting reviews. You are not allowed to solicit reviews. But you are allowed to ask for a review and not reward someone. You are not allowed to manipulate good or bad.
Here is a big secret we will share with you. ZenReach.com it is a wireless router that goes into the restaurant. Any customer that hooks up to your guest Wi-Fi, it will capture their Facebook or email address for use of your wi-fi. One step for them, easy. It captures that real-time information for you and creates a database of all the emails. These are the most highly valued (customers that have been in your door).
What it does that is awesome it sends smart emails out automatically on certain schedules. So the first time customer after they leave within three hours. (Note: It will say whatever you want it to say). The default sends a generic you will want to change: “Hey thanks for coming into XXX, hope you had a good time.” Terrible message. You can use their reputation management and put: “Thanks for visiting, how did we do, 1 to 5 Star rating. Rate your experience.”
When they choose that 1 to 5-star rating
If it is a 1 to 3-star rating it will email you and pull that email in internally. This gives you time to respond to that customer and make it right before it winds up on Yelp. It is amazingly effective. If they give you a 4 or 5-star rating it will say: “Thank you, please share your message.” Then redirects them to Google, Trip Advisor, Yelp or Trip Advisor.
But it gets better, these smart emails give you the First Time Customer, the Regular Customer (we recommend five),then the Loyal Customer (been more than 10), then a Lost Customer (that’s been there 2 times in the last 30 days, but not again), then it has Birthdays. You can tailor different offers to these people based on their visit frequency.
This is a legitimate way to manipulate those numbers, you are welcome!
Regardless of what the reason or for any season; gift cards are the perfect gift.
On the off chance that your business doesn’t offer gift cards, it might be the ideal opportunity for you to think about it. Retail and restaurants alike benefit immensely.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, what better way to show your appreciation than with a gift card?
Have you ever at any point received a gift that just didn’t fit? So what do you do with it? Do you set it aside someplace where it will never be used again? Do you re-gift? We have all been there. Be a trendsetter.
Gift cards are also the perfect marketing tool to get people into your business. Get creative, if someone spends $25.00 in your establishment give them a $5 gift card to come back and shop. If you’re a restaurant, consider discounting a $50 gift card to $45 that really makes the purchaser feel as if though they are getting more bang for their buck.
As a business owner another thing to consider is what is known as breakage. Breakage is when the business sells a gift card that doesn’t get redeemed Talk about, “FREE MONEY”! This happens more than you think.
Gift cards are no longer just your standard plastic cards. Of course that is one way to sell them, but now businesses can take advantage of technology and sell them on their website, Facebook and even via text.
Even more reasons to offer gift cards:
- Customers shopping with gift cards are less price–sensitive and often pay full price
- Compete with national brands
- Create new business and increase sales today
- Reward your current customer with a gift card. Visible gift cards can increase sales by 35%-50%
In addition to Mother’s Day coming up, you’ve got Graduations, weddings, baby showers and birthdays, etc. Consider offering gift cards in your business.
No matter who your target market is from Baby Boomers, Gen X or Millenials gift cards are the most sought after gift.
With that in mind, give us a call and we can help with a simple, economical solution for your business to carry gift cards or even a loyalty program……Look for yourself.
E-commerce sales comprised 9.1% of all U. S. retail sales in the third quarter of 2017, according to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce. Up from 8.2% in the same quarter of 2016. In the next three years e-commerce sales are expected to total $708 billion, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.
The big box retailers are consolidating and closing their brick and mortar stores in record numbers. They are putting their resources into their e-commerce sites to try and capture a market dominated by Amazon and primarily directed by Google. Will you follow their lead?
What can you do today to enhance your e-commerce site?
6 simple steps to boost and optimize your e-commerce site:
- Create a Mobile Friendly website. First and foremost even if you are not selling your products or services online, you need to be found online today and in a mobile friendly way. 77% of American’s have a smart phone and are looking for your product or service right now. Is your site mobile friendly? If not, stop everything you are doing and call someone who can help you create a mobile friendly e-commerce site today.
- Collect Customer Data. Make sure you collect as much data as you can through your Point of Sale (POS) or on your site. It’s never been easier to collect your customer’s email or phone number at the POS. There are so many systems to choose from today that do this with ease at the cashier or checkout level. With more and more people using smart phones and going green, you can email receipts, notify of upcoming sales, and simply market your service to them with this collected information.
- Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program to collect the basic data of your clients and prospects (company name, contact, address, email and phone number). It’s time to drill down to interests, birthdays, colleagues, spouses, children, education, how and why the customer started the business or anything you can discuss. In fact, every time you talk with your customer, note their file. People love to be remembered and this is your powerful insight into your customers needs and wants. Listening to these needs not only builds a strong loyal relationship, it saves everyone time and money by not discussing or pushing out topics that have little or no interest to them or their business.
- Develop a strategy to engage your customers. How do you get your message out to your valued customers. Email, blog post, mail, phone or social media? Quite frankly, you should use all of these to connect and on a regular basis. Use the same information on all platforms as it is unlikely your client will visit all. If they do, great because it takes 5-7 touches before you sell an item. Just begin with one and take baby steps. Remember…”A good plan … now is better than a perfect plan … next week” – General George C. Patton.
- Reward your Customers. Do you have a rewards program? If not start one today. If you have one in store, great. If it isn’t online then talk to someone who specializes in gift cards and rewards programs that will work with your e-commerce site. It doesn’t matter what type of business you own, there is something you can do to reward your clients. Even if it is just a cup of coffee, a $5 gift certificate or maybe a discount on a future purchase. Birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, are all great, but what about something more original like an anniversary with you or just to thank them for their business? Think out of the box and send an e-certificate. If they don’t use it, it’s no loss to you.
- Optimize your payment process. Accept Apple Pay and the many new digital wallets to speed up the check out process. Shopping abandonment is a constant battle for e-commerce clients. Make it easy and fast for your clients to buy. Check into the many credit card software systems that not only reach out to clients to pay, for example, Electronic Bill Presentment and Payments (EBPP) but give your customers the ability to finance their purchases.
All in all, e-commerce has evolved and will continue to do so in the coming years. Take advantage of the many tools available to grow your business.
What are you waiting for? Like Nike says “Just do it” and do it today!
What About Blog?
If you are a small to medium sized business owner, you may have a blog included in your current website. Everyone says blogging is great for my business and will drive traffic to my site! How does this work? What am I supposed to do? Writing a blog can appear to be complicated when you’re not sure exactly your supposed to be doing and what results you are looking to achieve. How much content needs to be there? What should it look like? How often should I blog?
Creating An SEO-Friendly Blog
Wait a minute! What is SEO? Simply put it’s an acronym for search engine optimization and is the process used to get natural or organic traffic from search engines like Google, Bing!, Yahoo and others. Terrific “editorial” content encourages people to click on your stories, in turn proving to the search engines that your content is engaging and authoritative. While some are good at throwing words on a page and ideas flow naturally, others need some guideline to help us wade through what seem to be complicated writing techniques. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s look at some tips to create that blog post.
1. Think about what you’re going to write!
Is there a purpose to your text? Is there a question you want to ask your readers to think about? How do you want your readers to respond? Should there be a specific call to action for what you are going to write about? Best practice is to write these questions down and answer them before sitting down to write, those answers will help you focus your content on your questions.
2. Create a consistent structure for every post.
- Determine how you will format the introduction to your topic. Will it be a headline or possibly a short paragraph that previews the upcoming article, maybe even a slideshow of photos with captions? You are the industry expert, and it’s up to you to understand what type of content your users will engage with best.
- The body or main content of the blog should stay on topic and focused. If you need to change focus start a new paragraph. For instance, I like to try and keep paragraphs to no more than 150-200 words.
- Summarize your important ideas and create a strong call to action asking your reader to perform a particular behavior after reading.
- Are you going to use photos? How many? What will they be?
Now that you’ve determined the structure, the fun starts! Get to writing!
Make sure when using paragraphs that your thoughts make sense and are complete. There’s no need to start a new line for the sake of vanity (making the page look nice), and new paragraphs should have a reason. Sticking to your paragraph’s topic or main idea will keep your writing flowing, and the reader should be able to grasp your main idea in one sentence. Need more sentences? Create additional paragraphs to explain further details in your content.
Headings have multiple uses but are critical in structuring your page. They make content easy to read and help with that dreaded SEO we spoke about earlier. These allow the search engines to grasp your main topics and serve results accordingly. Readers can also use headings and sub-headings to quickly scan your post looking for the sections that are most relevant to them. Make an attempt to sprinkle your keywords into some not all of those headings to boost SEO for those search terms.
5. Use transition words
Use of these types of words will help a reader quickly understand the main idea of your content. Here are some examples:
- You’re writing about the three main reasons someone should choose your product/service; In the first place, secondly, and finally
- Give your reader a clear signal of your expertise or superior product with terms like; definitely, surely, indeed
- Make a clear conclusion using; in summary, therefore, in closing
These transition words are important to giving your content structure and readers a clear, concise direction.
6. Get a proof-reader
Before publishing ask for some feedback from a trusted resource. Do they understand the main idea? Can they help you correct grammar errors, typos, and sentence formatting?
7. Just how long should my article be?
The general recommendation for article length is a minimum of 300 words. While there may always be bits of information that take a little more or a little less, the general rule I like to use is somewhere around 750-1200 words. Not too long and not too short. Longer content allows for the use of multiple keywords, where shorter content allows the post to be more focused on a single search term. My rule of thumb is to mention the keyword or search term 4-6 times per 300 words.
8. Using links
You’re website already sets you apart as an authority in your industry, be sure to link to that historical content within your blog posts. Linking within your site to older relevant content adds authority to your newly published content on the same subject. Be sure to use this to your advantage, as readers may be interested in learning more. In this situation, I like to use product pages in my call to action so the reader can find more information about what I have written.
Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it! If you’re posting multiple times a day, shorter content around that 300-word mark may be more appropriate as not to overwhelm your readers. I like a 2-3 time per week posting schedule that allows for some time to research new ideas and spend an appropriate amount of time writing and researching new content. Try to find a few categories and stick to those when you’re writing; it’s hard to be an expert on everything!
10. Use writing tools to become a better writer
No one can know everything about writing and hit the bullseye every time, that is why it’s important to find tools that work for you regarding ease of use and affordability. The two tools that I am extremely fond of are Yoast for SEO and Grammarly for correcting misspellings, incomplete sentences and proper word usage ( a personal proofreader). Both tools offer a free and paid version and are worth a test drive.
In closing, this formula should provide you a great head start to creating SEO friendly blog posts each and every time. Blogging may seem like a lot of work, although it gets easier and faster every time you create a new blog post. Great content is where it’s at and leads to more readers, social media likes, and shares. No matter what approach you choose be sure you are creating EPIC content for your audience and the SEO friendliness will soon become second nature.
If you need help with your web presence we have the tools and resources to help!
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Gift Cards will once again be the #1 seller and the hottest product this year.
Consumers do not have time to shop, they now order from their mobile devices.
Are you capturing this market?
- Gift cards outsell paper certificates 10 to 1
- Builds brand awareness
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