Smartphones are one of the most important marketing tools in your restaurant’s arsenal. In fact, as Constant Contact reports, in the past six months 81% of consumers have searched for a restaurant on a mobile app. And what’s more, 75% of those customers often choose a restaurant based on those search results. Clearly smartphones are an essential part of bringing in customers—but how can you use them to increase business and boost sales? Here are a few ways your restaurant can use smartphones for marketing.
By now, you’re probably familiar with QR codes. You know, those squiggly little designs that you see on your mail, in magazines, or on in-store advertisements? QR codes are so effective because they take customers straight to your website without even having to type in your URL. All they have to do is scan the QR code with their phones! The secret to making QR codes work is in using them effectively. Simply putting them all over your promotional materials and asking people to visit your website won’t do the trick. Why not place one on your menu and ask customers to check out your website to learn more about the nutritional profile of your meals or see a video of your chef preparing the food? Or, you might put a QR code on a table tent promoting an upcoming event at your restaurant. Customers can scan to the code to learn more about the event and RSVP. No matter how you use QR codes, they can be a great way to drive customer engagement and get diners more involved.
Just think about it—how many of your customers are checking out your restaurant while they’re on their phones? They may be at work, on the bus, or out shopping. They might decide to search for restaurants in their area and come across your website to check out your menu. But if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, this might be a problem. A website that isn’t intended for mobile use might have too-small font and difficult-to-navigate layout. A recent survey shows that when customers encounter a website that isn’t mobile-friendly, 48% feel frustrated and annoyed. Customers might just give up and decide to go somewhere else! When designing your website, keep smartphones in mind. Your website is one of your most important marketing tools because it’s often the first impression your customers have of your restaurant. Make sure it’s not a bad impression!
There are tons of restaurant apps on the market. Many of them, like Yelp and Urbanspoon, help customers learn more about your restaurant by reading reviews. Some, like OpenTable, help customers make reservations at your restaurant. Many help customers find your restaurant, find coupons for your restaurant, or pay the check at your restaurant. Some restaurants even have their own apps. For customers who are in your neighborhood and using their smartphones to search for nearby restaurants, an app might be their first introduction to your restaurant! It’s important to make sure that your business is monitoring current apps to make sure that customers can find you.
Smartphones are more than just important for your restaurant—they’re an essential tool when it comes to marketing!