The modern restaurant has plenty of competition, including other local restaurants, franchises, and the biggest national chains. Standing out and attracting more customers means focusing more on marketing. It’s easy to say you need to work harder on your marketing strategies, but aside from the all-too-common vague generalizations, how do you make sure those strategies are practical?
If you’re looking for ways to up your restaurant marketing game, here are the practical steps you should take in 2022. Do them right, and footfall should increase, and your sales could be a big improvement over previous years. .
Master the Basics
Chances are you already have some understanding of the basics. Having a website, learning a bit about search engine optimization (SEO), and completing your Google My Business (GMB) template should all be something you already have in place.
If not, your first step is to settle down.
Create and optimize your website
Whether you’re on-site only or offer delivery, you won’t get far in 2022 without a well-designed website. If you don’t have one yet, now is the time to create one. While it’s unlikely that a proactive restaurant in 2022 won’t have a website, some outlets lack this essential tool. Luckily, there are plenty of website building platforms out there that make building a website (even from scratch) incredibly simple.
If you already have a website, you need to make sure it loads quickly and is easy to navigate. One of the most common mistakes for restaurants is to have a menu available only in PDF format, which must be downloaded. It must go. Your menu is one of your most crucial web pages. It should be visible to casual browsers who simply won’t take the time to download information that should be easily accessible. Take a look at some examples of the best restaurant websites in 2022 for inspiration.
Learn some SEO basics
Having a website is not enough if you want potential customers to find you before your competitors. SEO is a big, sprawling, ever-changing topic, but don’t panic. You don’t have to learn everything about SEO. Just learning something about the basics can take you far to the top of a local Google search query for local restaurants. It’s not as technical as you might think, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time either.
However, SEO can get very complicated very quickly, so stick to the basics of SEO to get started. Learn what keywords are and how to use them, the importance of content for generating income, and how to monitor your search engine rankings. These three elements as an SEO base will be enough to start improving your online visibility.
Use your GMB profile
Google My Business is a free profile offered by the largest search engine in the world. It’s a great resource, but far too many small businesses neglect to fill out their contact information. This is extremely important because you can easily earn free earnings when it comes to local searches. When someone asks Google for a local restaurant near them, a GMB listing means you’ll be found much faster and easier. This search engine query turns into a website visit, which can then turn into a table reservation.
Don’t overlook the importance of mastering your basics. Build the right foundation and the rest of your restaurant marketing strategies will become much more powerful.
The importance of Instagram
Social media platforms will play an equally important marketing role for restaurants in 2022. Facebook continues to dominate but is rapidly losing young consumers, while Instagram remains the most important social platform for restaurants.
Today, consumers are empowered by technology, and technology has become an extension of it. That’s why your customers want to be able to take pictures inside your restaurant and share their experiences with their followers. The idea of “instagrammable business” is not new, but in 2022 it will be more important than ever. This will mean:
- Use unique decor
- Ensure that every plate that comes out of the kitchen can be photographed and shared.
Presentation matters more than ever, and every second your customers spend in your establishment can be tailored to make it more shareable on the social platforms your target audience uses.
Marketing with your customers
Putting your customers in charge of your marketing is one of the easiest ways to manage your marketing strategies. It can also be extremely valuable, especially if you’ve exhausted yourself dreaming up new marketing ideas. User-generated content will be one of the biggest marketing resources for restaurants in 2022, and it’s likely to become a marketing thing for the foreseeable future.
By involving your customers in your marketing, those customers align more closely with your brand. When brand awareness leads to brand loyalty, you earn more sales from those customers. Make them feel part of your brand story, and you have a potential customer for life.
So use testimonials, post good and bad reviews on your website, and share photos customers have taken of your best dishes. Make sure all of your user-generated content is highly visible. After all, customers created this content voluntarily. Using it won’t cost you anything, and if it attracts even a single table reservation, your return on investment is meteoric.
Not so long ago, the idea of email as a valuable marketing tool was dismissed. The rise of social media saw email newsletters fall out of favor, and they were generally frowned upon by all but the most savvy marketing teams. More than ever, having an email newsletter marketing strategy is one of the most valuable ways to reach your audience.
People protect their inbox, which makes it extremely valuable marketing real estate. It’s a direct line into the daily lives of your loyal customers. It’s inexpensive and stands out from other marketing methods used in 2022. Every person who subscribes to your emails did so because they love what you do.
These people could be past customers who might just need the right special offer to entice them to book their next visit. Or your most loyal customers who need the right email at the right time to get them thinking about your brand and picking up the phone to book. The good news is that there are thousands of email marketing guides online that focus entirely on the restaurant industry. Learn as much as you can and you might be surprised at how effective email marketing is.
The influencer question
The rise of the “influencer” has been the subject of much criticism. There are many examples of so-called influencers causing brands more trouble than benefiting them. However, there’s a reason influencers continue to be a vital marketing option for restaurants: they work.
Forget about your celebrities with a social media management team that posts content and interacts with fans. They may have millions of followers, but you won’t get much impact from these big names and the price they will charge for a brand mention. Instead, look at macro influencers. These are the social media accounts run by real people and usually have less than a thousand followers.
This smaller audience gives them an authenticity you can’t beat when it comes to expanding your reach. Macro influencers may have fewer followers, but they engage with them. This authenticity isn’t something you can buy, and it’s an extremely powerful way to get more people to see your brand. Macro influencers won’t be the diva you see screaming about exposure. Instead, they’ll promote your restaurant, usually with no payment required other than a free meal.
Restaurant Marketing in 2022
These are the best and most effective ways to ensure your marketing strategy in 2022 helps your business grow. From mastering the basics to refining your marketing channels, the need to work on it has never been greater. And those aren’t your only options, either. Real-world marketing – like billboards and radio ads – still has value, especially at the local level.
However, the practical strategies above are the ones you need to focus on if you want your restaurant to stand out and be remembered in 2022. Marketing takes time to work well, but give it some focus, and it pays for itself. Just remember that not every strategy will resonate with every one of your clients.
Experiment and monitor, making adjustments as you go. Start with the simplest marketing strategies and learn more as you develop a deeper understanding. There is no shortage of fresh and original marketing ideas. Take the time to think things through, use the right channels, and you could be heading into 2022 for faster growth than you ever thought possible.