One of the worst-hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic was the restaurant and hospitality industry. With everyone staying inside and refraining from ordering in, the restaurant industry took a serious beating.
The year 2020 was named the most challenging year ever by the National Restaurant Association of the US. The association has stated that the recovery from the pandemic will be prolonged well into 2022.
In a survey of restaurant operators, NRA found that 44 percent of restaurant operators feel that it will take at least a year more for the business to be normal. And 19 percent of restaurant owners feel that the business conditions will never go back to normal.
However, with social and travel restrictions now easing up a little, we can expect some upticks in the business. The conditions in the year 2022 and how the industry recovers will depend on the next 12 months. It’ll also depend on how the restaurant industry approaches the challenge.
One of the key methods to help restaurants get back up on their feet in the post-COVID era is digital marketing. Hiring a good digital marketing agency for restaurants like SideDish Media will help increase awareness and revenue, no matter how popular or small the restaurant is.
Here are some digital marketing tips to build your restaurant brand online.
An Immersive Website is a Must
The most basic step towards building your restaurant brand online is to have a great website. Designing websites these days doesn’t take much and is surprisingly cheap too. There are major web hosting platforms that offer ready-made web design templates for nominal prices.
However, ensure that your website is functional, practical, and informative. The functionality of the website for a restaurant is of prime importance here. It’s possible to change a website into an online ordering for restaurants platform by integrating a point of sale (POS) system or WhatsApp.
Goes without saying that your website must have your details. These include opening and closing hours, address, drinks menu, food menu, and most importantly, the pictures of your restaurant. It’s also a good idea to tie up with online food delivery platforms like GrubHub, DoorDash, and UberEats.
Optimize for Local SEO
Optimizing your restaurant website for local SEO makes it useful for diners to find your dine-in in their vicinity. A well-optimized website for local SEO will show the business on top for every local search.
To illustrate, if you serve Mexican cuisine in your restaurant, your website should turn up on top every time someone searches for ‘Mexican restaurants near me.
The best way to achieve this is by tailoring the website content around the relevant searches and keywords. Below are some other strategies that will help your website utilize local SEO the best.
- Before anything else, create a Google My Business account and enter your accurate information. This will help your business to pop up in ‘Near me’ searches.
- Ensure that your contact information and address are listed multiple times across the web and are consistent. This can be done through your website, local online directories, and Google My Business, among others.
- Make sure that every page of your website has relevant local keywords pertaining to your business.
- Have a blog on your website, which showcases relevant, engaging and interactive content to hook the website visitors. Don’t forget to use relevant local SEO keywords and search terms in the blog.
SEO for restaurants is also very important because it can help improve the visibility of a restaurant’s website in search engine results. When people search for restaurants in their area, they often turn to search engines like Google to find options.
By optimizing a restaurant’s website for search engines, it increases the chances that potential customers will find and visit the website.
Restaurant Influencer Marketing
While influencer marketing is a tremendous marketing tool, it’s more significant for a restaurant business. Bloggers rely on elements like tempting visuals, originality, and a close-knit community of followers. Coincidentally, these are the same ingredients that a restaurant business requires to grow further.
Find out local influencers and bloggers in your area and collaborate with them to reach a larger audience. The best move would be to collaborate with a food blogger on Instagram who already has a good follower base and attractive feed.
The hashtag food is used on around 250 million posts every month and foodies are on Instagram an average of 18 times daily.
Having Instagram food bloggers tag your business in their posts and showcasing your food, will draw more attention than any other marketing tool.
Restaurant Digital Advertising
Digital advertising is one of the most powerful yet economical tools that helps any business get going. Today, you can run sponsored ads on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, and even Google search pages.
Businesses can set parameters like age group, country, interests, and so on for these ads. It’s also possible to set a geographic area for ad targeting from a city to a smaller locality. This helps them reach the set of audiences that would be interested in the cuisine you serve or restaurants in your area.
In a nutshell, building a precise digital marketing strategy for a restaurant might seem time-consuming and daunting. However, the payout and ROI make it worth all the effort. In the end, you accomplish raising awareness about your restaurant, building a loyal customer community, and driving online food orders.