In every city there are thousands of people search Google for terms like “best restaurants near me” – thousands of people you could convert to new customers.
And 50% of people who did a search visited a local store as a result of that search within 24 hours. The best part about those searches is that they’re already looking for what you’re offering – a great dining experience – so it doesn’t take a lot of conviction for them to choose you. But you have to get their attention first, so they show up.
The question is, how do you get people looking for restaurants near you to find you? There are over 90 factors that influence which restaurants are seen first in search results, but three in particular are easy to implement and have the greatest benefit.
1. Complete your Google My Business page
The first and most important factor is filling out your Google My Business page and making sure it’s correct. It only takes a few minutes, but makes a huge difference in the traffic you receive from search engines, as it signals that the information you are posting is correct. Want to know the best? It is easy and free.
2. Create binding signals
The second most important factor leading to more exposure and more rankings is building link signals. Sounds complicated, right? Do not worry; the concept is actually very simple, even if it takes a bit more time. IThis basically means that you need to have other websites linking to your website. This signals to the search engine that you are relevant and useful to others.
The best way to do this is to make sure you’re listed on all of the top 20 restaurant directories, like Yelp and Zomato, and contact publications in your area to write about you. That’s it. Building links takes a little longer, but is generally easy to do.
3. Create online reviews
Not only are reviews essential to increasing your search traffic, but they are also important on their own. In reality, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and every 1-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
Powerful stuff, right? The question is, what is the best way to create online reviews? The most reliable way is to provide a customer experience worth considering – an experience that surprises and delights your customer, rather than being ordinary. AAs a restaurateur, you probably already know this. What are the ways to increase your number of reviews?
• Place reminder cards on each table asking guests for feedback. Most people will leave a review online if asked, so why not ask their table directly? A simple card thanking them for choosing your restaurant and asking them to share their experience on Google is enough. If thousands of people visit your restaurant every year and even 5% leave an online review after seeing your reminder card, that’s a huge bonus that will put you ahead of your competition.
• Expand your customer database. Expand your customer database. Expand your customer database. Expand your customer database. I could spend all day repeating these words and it still wouldn’t be enough to emphasize how important this is to your success. Not only will this allow you to text, email and send review reminders from past customers, bBut you can also target them with ads all over the internet using their names, emails, phone numbers, or addresses to stay ahead.
What is the best way to grow your customer database? Create a list of SMS subscribers that your customers can join. Consider adding aanother card on each table inviting customers to text a number and sign up for a free cookie. OOnce they’ve signed up, you’ll have their number and the ability to reach them at any time.
Why is it better than social media and email? Because the the opening rate for SMS is 98% against 20% for e-mails. So, is being able to reach past customers to get them to leave Google reviews and keep coming back worth less than a dollar a cookie and an SMS will cost you? Yes! See why customer databases are so powerful?
I wish I could tell you that implementing these three restaurant marketing ideas was instant and free, but the truth is, they take time and effort. You can ask your team to help you implement these initiatives, but they’re too important to your success to delegate and forget about them altogether. Jhe best way to take advantage of these opportunities is to assign a trusted employee to do them and set aside an hour a week to make sure they’re done right.
Remember this is a process. Moreover, each of these three components is extremely powerful, even when running alone. Progressing on just one a week is enough to increase your chances of success. But putting them all together can really create a revenue-boosting edge.