The competition amongst restaurants is ferocious. Increasingly, restaurants must embrace digital marketing to succeed. But businesses often hear a lot of conflicting advice regarding promotion.

To help we have compiled our 26 best restaurant marketing ideas to help make your restaurant a success.

  1. Make Your Website Simple and Responsive.

89% of restaurant-goers now research a restaurant online before eating out. Therefore, you need a functional website with an effective design to successfully market your restaurant. Prioritising your website is essential because most marketing strategies rely on having a functional website to direct customers to. A user-friendly website will have the most relevant information presented first.

  1. Ensure your business tops search results.

One of the first steps to topping search results is to ensure your business is listed in as many online directories as possible. Use Yext to discover how well your business shows up in local searches.

 

  1. Update Your Details.

With most people now looking up restaurants online it is essential to keep your details up-to-date, including name, address and phone number. Google rewards businesses who have consistent information across different websites with a higher search engine ranking.

 

  1. Utilise Social Media Platforms.

If you are not yet using social media, you are losing business. Most of your customers will be on Facebook every day. Post content with keywords relevant to your target audience and use Facebook ads.  

  1.  Embrace Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram and Pinterest have become the most effective channels for showing off your storefront. Encourage your customers to take photos and share their experience through Instagram. Pinterest has also been growing rapidly recently, post eye-catching pins of your establishment to increase traffic to your website.

 

  1. Influencer Marketing.

Influencers are at the forefront of contemporary advertising. It can often be the most cost-effective form of social media marketing. Reach out to social media figures with large followings in your industry to help promote your brand.  

 

  1. Set Goals for Your Social Media Marketing.

Set result-orientated goals for your marketing campaigns. Each ad should have a specific call-to-action. The more specific the better.

 

  1. Send Out Email Newsletters.

Use your social media marketing campaigns to encourage users to sign-up to your mailing list. Remember not to spam your users. Prioritise quality over quantity. Showcase your successes, discuss new menu items and share discounts.  

 

  1. Use Yelp.

Like it or not, Yelp still has tremendous influence in the restaurant industry. Reviews on Yelp can do wonders for your business. Be proactive and engage with Yelp as much as possible.

 

  1. Set Up a Google+ Account.

Setting up a Google+ account is as important as setting up a Yelp account. When you search for a restaurant on Google, Google’s Knowledge Graph provides the restaurant’s details in the sidebar. Google’s Knowledge Graph gets its information from Google+. So, having a Google+ account is essential. It is also free. Also, encourage customers to review you on Google+.

 

  1. Set Up Google Alerts.

Google Alerts notify you when your restaurant appears in new online content. It simplifies the process of keeping you updated on your online presence.  

 

  1. Respond Positively to Online Reviews.

Small restaurant owners often ignore or respond inappropriately to their online customer reviews. Reviews on Yelp and Google+ can have a huge impact on your business. Respond to negative reviews promptly and apologetically. A thoughtful response demonstrates a level of customer care that we all want to experience when eating out.

 

  1. Start a Blog.

Starting a blog is a great way to engage with your customers. Share your personal experiences and again prioritise quality over quantity. Blogs can dramatically improve your rankings on search engines.

  1. Write for Industry Publications.

Writing content for both online and offline publications is an effective way to establish your restaurant as an authority in the industry. Be creative and come up with topics that publications’ readers will find impressive.

 

  1. Partner with Other Businesses to Cross-Promote Each Other.

Consider businesses that are near the restaurant or share a similar audience. For example, partner with taxi companies to offer discounts to their customers.

 

  1. Create a Loyalty Programme.

Creating a reward programme will encourage repeat customers. There are several online apps available that offer digital loyalty programmes for a small fee.

 

  1. Offer Coupons and Discounts.

Likewise, providing coupons and discounts for your restaurant is another easy way to encourage repeat customers. Advertise coupons through Groupon or offer discounts to your email newsletter subscribers.

 

  1. Partner Up with Delivery Services.

In the contemporary online-driven environment, ease of use is essential. Online delivery services such as Deliveroo streamline the ordering process. Some customers might even discover your restaurant for the first time through such services.

  1. Use an Online Reservation App.

Invite your customers to make reservations through apps like OpenTable. Online reservation tools make it easier for both your customers and your business. Again, some customers might also discover your restaurant through this service.

 

  1. Geo-targeted Ads.

For most restaurants, it is essential to prioritise local customers. You will optimise your return on investment by investing primarily in geo-targeted ads. Most online advertising services, such as Google AdWords and Facebook and, offer geo-targeting advertising options for no extra investment.

 

  1. Build a Buzz with Local Media.

Ask local publications to come for a free meal and to review your restaurant. Be selective about who you invite because reviews will appear on each publication for their entire circulation.

 

  1. Use Contests to Encourage Repeat Business.

Keep your customers engaged by offering contests and promotions with prizes. Be creative and promote your contests through your online channels.

  1. Get Involved in Local Events.

Give the locals and those visiting the local area a reason to choose you. Get involved in local food festivals and fundraising events to showcase your cooking and to raise awareness. Have fun and immerse yourself in the local community.

 

  1. Develop a Mobile App.

Mobile apps are becoming easier to develop and more affordable for small businesses. Mobile apps can promote your restaurant through push notifications, exclusive rewards and integrate with existing loyalty programmes.

 

  1. Hire an Expert to Improve Your Digital Marketing.

A lot of small restaurant owners do not have the time to commit to a comprehensive digital marketing campaign. Make your advertising budget go further by hiring expert help.

 

  1. Deliver Outstanding Customer Experiences.

This is by far the most important component of a successful marketing strategy. Direct word of mouth and social media interactions are the best driver of new customers for a restaurant. Focus on creating an outstanding experience and you will succeed.