If you’re like most foodservice businesses today, you already use restaurant digital marketing. But are your Facebook posts generating likes, loves, and comments? Are your emails being opened, clicked on, and forwarded?
Many bars and restaurants struggle to create content that engages with customers – and delivers a solid ROI.
That’s why Buzztime teamed up with Main Street Hub. Together, we created a 5-step plan to take your restaurant digital marketing game from good to great. Read on for a recap of a webinar held on July 25th, 2018.
Below are the insights shared by William Foody, Director of Demand Generation for Buzztime and Geoffrey Brown, Regional Development Representative for Main Street Hub, a GoDaddy Company.
Step #1) Post Compelling Content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
The first step in improving engagement through restaurant digital marketing is to revamp your social media content strategy. Use these 8 tips to get started.
Create a 52-Week Content Calendar
- Outline Your Goals
- Plan Out Your Year
- Schedule Content Monthly
- Create Your Posts
The saying goes: if you fail to plan, plan to fail. So, get organized with your restaurant digital marketing on social media. Plan and post your content in advance. Facebook allows you to pre-schedule posts. Or, use a tool like HootSuite to pre-post content on every platform from Twitter to Instagram.
Define Your Voice and Brand
Social media is meant to be a conversation…so know who you’re talking to! That’s a key rule when refining your restaurant digital marketing content. If your sports bar caters to an older crowd, they won’t always “get” pop culture references and internet slang. Your content should resonate with your target audience.
Timing is Everything
Think about the content your followers want to see and when they want to see it. Successful restaurant digital marketing on social media revolves around smart timing. Use Facebook Analytics to see what day of the week, and time of day generate the most reactions and comments. Cater to last minute planners. If it’s mid-afternoon, post a reminder on Instagram that you can offer takeout…tonight.
Show Off Your Team
Get personal and show your staff in action. Personal restaurant digital marketing is a great way to give your employees the limelight. Plus, a Georgia Tech Study found that Instagram photos with faces get 38% more likes.
Keep it Fresh
Vary your restaurant digital marketing content – especially when it comes to photos. Post a wide-angle interior photo of your fully stocked bar shelves one day. Then, share a close-up beauty shot of a mouthwatering meal.
Share Visual Content
Visual content — especially video — has been on the rise since 2015. Video-focused restaurant digital marketing can grab your audience’s attention and keep them on your social media pages. Studies show that people are 6x more likely to retain information if you present it visually instead of in a text-only post.
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook let you search for trending hashtags. Find out what’s hot, then incorporate that hashtag into your restaurant digital marketing. Also, create a unique hashtag for your business – then use it in all your social media posts.
The is one of the best restaurant digital marketing tips. Let your customers do the work of creating compelling content that connects! Reshare a happy customer’s photo or review. That way, you’re sharing an authentic, unaltered view of your business.
Step #2) Capture Customer Attention with In-Venue Digital Signage
Instead of posters and table tents, many bars and restaurants are using restaurant digital marketing signage. Here’s how to bring your content to life with digital signage.
The best digital signage companies offer solutions that are affordable, easy to set up, and often include customizable templates.
Examples of Digital Signage
- Flat Screen Monitors: A dedicated flat screen monitor mounted on the wall, displaying your promotional messages or menu.
- Existing TVs: Some software can even turn your existing TVs into digital signage.
- Tablet Menus: If you offer bar or restaurant touchscreen tablets, you can run restaurant digital marketing messages on those as well.
- Dynamic Billboards: Turn a screen towards the window as a dynamic “billboard.”
The ROI of Digital Signage
- Save on Print Costs: Printing posters, flyers, and table tents adds up! Save big with restaurant digital marketing signage.
- Drive Impulse Buys: A study by Screen Cloud found that 80% of adults noticed digital signage in the past month; 70% made an unplanned purchase because of it.
- Increase Revenue: Take your restaurant digital marketing up a notch…with brilliant photos. A study by Iowa State University found that showing photos of menu items on digital signage resulted in a 90% increase in orders of that item.
Content Ideas for Restaurant Digital Marketing Using Signage
Customer of the Month
Launch a customer of the month program and feature the customer on your digital signage.
Instagram Photo Contest
Spotlight the top 10 best photos on your digital signage and give each winner a gift card.
Run LTO (Limited Time) Offers
A Nielson study found that when digital signage is used at the point of sale (so when guests are in your venue), sales of featured items increased by up to 33%. Run “super” limited time offers, like $2 craft beers for 20 minutes. Or, use restaurant digital marketing on signage to showcase “surprise” discounts only good for the next hour.
Make guests feel like VIPs by promoting events on digital signage before announcing them to the public.
Drive Email Signups with Restaurant Digital Marketing Signage
To encourage guests to sign up for your email list, show a picture of an indulgent dessert or appetizer – and the message “sign up for our emails now, dessert is on us…right now!”
Content from Other Businesses
Sell ad space on digital screens to nearby businesses. Reinvest the revenue back into your restaurant digital marketing efforts.
Step #3) Engage Customers with Restaurant Digital Marketing Email Tactics
Email marketing is a great way to get customers engaged with your brand and your business. Need restaurant digital marketing content ideas for your email? Check out these 9 ideas (plus 5 tips for building your email list).
When launching a restaurant digital marketing campaign using email, there are a few best practices to follow:
- Write an attention-grabbing subject line.
- Send promotions, coupons, and offers to drive immediate action.
- Incorporate photos and graphics.
- Integrate your email restaurant digital marketing with your social media campaign.
Step #4) Extend Your Brand with Restaurant Digital Marketing on Your Website
The National Restaurant Association found that 9 in 10 smartphone users pull up a restaurant’s website on their mobile device when deciding where to dine. Put your best digital foot forward using these restaurant digital marketing tips for websites.
Be Mobile Friendly
This is critical if you want better results from your website and restaurant digital marketing. Your website should look great on a mobile device like a smartphone. That means it must be “responsive”: content and text will automatically adjust to fit the screen. Sounds expensive? It’s not. Use WordPress, WIX, or Squarespace templates – then customize them around your brand.
Restaurant Digital Marketing Should Mirror the Host Stand Experience
- A Warm Welcome: A guest visit to your website should feel welcoming and intuitive – just as a customer feels when walking into your business.
- Prominent Logo and Name: Guests should know they’re in the right place! Ensure your logo appears on all pages in the same spot. This is another basic of restaurant digital marketing for websites.
- Sticky Menus: The site’s navigation menu should be visible at all times on the website – in the same place. This is called a “sticky menu.”
- Key Information (The Big 4): Phone Number / Hours / Address / Menu. This is restaurant digital marketing 101. The “big 4” must be prominent and easy to find ASAP.
Branded Content Ideas for Your Website’s Restaurant Digital Marketing
Start a Blog
Why blog? Bars and restaurants that prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to see a positive ROI! Use these ideas to supercharge your restaurant digital marketing with awesome blog content.
- Kitchen Hacks: Your chef provides secret shortcuts and food storage tips.
- 7 Things You Didn’t Know…: Spotlight your staff and build a bond with guests with posts highlighting 7 fun facts about each team member. BONUS: Your staff will share the post – driving traffic to your website and social media.
- #WineWednesday: Spotlight a different wine each week with a write up on tasting notes.
For big events and promotions, set up a designated landing page as one of your restaurant digital marketing tactics. This a page that includes all details for your event. Use this link to track visits to the page – and gauge effectiveness. The link can be posted to social media and used in emails.
According to a study by RetailMeNot, 9 in 10 people have used an online restaurant coupon in the last 3 months. Put online coupons on your landing pages.
Set up an event calendar at your website using a WordPress plugin. Selling tickets? Add e-commerce to your list of restaurant digital marketing strategies.
Automate the process of acquiring emails. By installing simple code or a WordPress plugin like Poptin or Sumo Me, guests will see a welcoming line of text pop up – asking to receive your emails. Automation is one of the best restaurant digital marketing moves you can make.
Step #5) Extend Your Customer Service with Digital Restaurant Marketing
The last step to improving your restaurant digital marketing content involves customer service.
Let your customers know about your business’s presence on Yelp, Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor. This could be a reminder on digital signage, or include links to these pages on your website and social media pages. That way, customers will be more likely to share their experiences.
Encouraging online feedback is an important part of restaurant digital marketing. It not only increases your engagement, it maximizes your reach. As more fans engage with your page by leaving reviews, you gain exposure to their network. This gets your business in front of new audiences.
Respond to All Reviews
Here’s another rule of restaurant digital marketing. Don’t leave people hanging! Especially those who have left a negative review. Use these 3 golden rules when responding to negative reviews:
- Address people directly
- Be personable
- Keep an open line of communication
A polite, prompt response to online reviews shows your social media community just how seriously you take customer service — both online and in your community.
Cross-Promote Positive Reviews
73% of consumers say positive online reviews instill trust in a local business. So, when a customer shares a positive review on Twitter or Facebook, share their words of praise with your digital audience. That’s word of mouth advertising in action, one of the most powerful restaurant digital marketing methods.
Now, you’re empowered with 5 steps to take your restaurant digital marketing content to the next level. Cheers to creating meaningful connections with your customers – and getting the results you deserve.