It’s a cutthroat business world these days. While there are more opportunities for the ordinary working person to start a small enterprise, this also means that more and more people are becoming entrepreneurs in their own right.
You will face a lot of competition when you delve into business, especially if you’re in the food industry. Food is the most straightforward product you can offer to consumers because it’s a basic need.
Most of the time, entrepreneurs start by selling food products online and delivering them to customers’ homes. The next level after that is to open a restaurant to cater to people who want to eat the food right away.
If you already have a restaurant or are planning to open one, you have to ensure that your business stays solvent enough to pay for your employees’ wages and overhead costs, which come with running a physical store. The best way to do that is to boost your brand’s online visibility through digital marketing.
Here are the ways of getting your restaurant seen by more people:
- Join A Business Directory
A business directory is a website that’s dedicated to posting the names and information of businesses for a particular niche or industry. Similar to a traditional telephone directory, web users can visit that site and search for the best companies in a specific area. More than that, it also includes customer reviews on a particular enterprise, which can help potential buyers make purchasing decisions.
MerchantCircle is one example of a business directory. It provides a platform for entrepreneurs to promote their restaurants and shops to consumers. Customers, on the other hand, get an easy hold on the list of best merchants in their city or town. Learn how to add a business to MerchantCircle here.
Aside from boosting your online visibility, the benefits of joining a business directory include:
- Attracting New Customers – The primary advantage of listing your brand in a business directory is that you get to introduce your restaurant to new customers. You can expect a surge in sales if more and more people try out your food.
- Increasing Engagement – Engagement is any action that consumers do involving your brand. When you join a business directory, you spark consumers’ interest. This can lead them to inquire about your products, whether through phone or chat.
- Building Your Credibility – Most online directories display customer reviews. A lot of business owners are daunted by the idea of getting negative feedback. However, as long as you handle these testimonials well, it can boost your reputation and show consumers the human side of your brand. Positive reviews and addressing negative reviews will also help to keep your customers coming back again and again.
- Improving SEO (Search Engine Optimization)– Joining a business directory is also an effortless way of improving your website’s SEO. People will be using your brand name organically on reviews, and this can add points to your Google ranking.
- Boost Brand Recognition
Brand recognition or awareness pertains to the ability of consumers to identify a product or service through a brand’s logo, packaging, tag line, or ad. With this, whenever customers see your logo online, they will remember your restaurant’s name instantly. You may have noticed this phenomenon with established companies like Coca-Cola and Starbucks.
One of the best things you can do to boost brand recognition is to create a distinct logo for your restaurant. Use it in all of your content, whether printed like packaging, or digital like your social media profile picture, to aid people in associating the image with your brand.
You can also create and promote a tagline, but it’ll require more work. Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan has successfully boosted its brand recognition, so much so that even when you just hear the phrase, you can immediately associate it with the shoe company.
- Optimize Your Website
All businesses nowadays need a website to reach their consumers. Think of your site as your digital address. If you have a brick-and-mortar restaurant, then your web domain is its online counterpart.
Consumers should be able to gain more information on your products and services through your website. It’s also an excellent place to talk to them about your brand’s advocacy and why you started the enterprise.
To reach your target audience, you have to ensure that your website is optimized for search engine crawling. SEO helps you increase your website’s visibility by ranking high on search engines, such as Google and Bing, for relevant keywords.
For instance, if you run a donut shop in Temple City, your objective is to get to the first page of search engine results for queries like “donut shop in Temple City,” or “where to buy donuts in California.”
There are three primary aspects to your website that you should check for SEO:
- Technical – This part of your site informs search engine crawlers on what your domain is all about. The XML sitemap is like the table of contents of your website. It helps ensure that all your pages are indexed by search engines, which, in turn, makes them accessible or searchable to web users.
Another factor to check for the technical side of your website is the page speed. This aspect influences your ranking on Google because the search engine wants to deliver the best results to users. If your site loads slowly, people are most likely to abandon your domain and look for another website, which implies that you aren’t providing them with the right answers to their queries.
You should also make sure that your pages are mobile-friendly. This means that your website design must look good no matter what screen size your consumers are using to view your site. Using a responsive design can ensure that potential customers can see all the details of your menu or catalog.
- On-Page – On-page SEO is the aspect that most people are familiar with. It focuses on your content, particularly the keywords that you sprinkle throughout your web pages.
Keywords continue to be a factor in how search engines look for the best results to provide to web users. After all, people use words or phrases to find solutions to their problems, so it makes sense that Google and Bing check a page’s content, including the URL, headings, and meta description, to know what a website is all about.
- External – External SEO factors are aspects that you have minimal control over, but these still influence your ranking on search engines. One of these is backlinks, which are links that direct people to your site and play a significant role in SEO. Getting many backlinks will show Google and Bing that your website is a trusted source of information. It’s also important to get your backlinks from quality websites that are related to your business for an extra boost in relevance and trust.
- Engage Customers On Social Media
Social media is one of the best restaurant marketing tools for engaging with your loyal and future customers. Most consumers can be found on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, so it makes sense that you reach out to them through those channels.
Although creating viral posts on social media won’t necessarily help your website’s SEO, it can provide a significant increase in your brand recognition and recall. Compelling content can boost the chances that customers would share or retweet your post, which introduces your restaurant to their subscribers.
You can also build a reputation as a brand that cares through social media to generate new and repeat customers. Most customers give honest reviews on their profiles about the restaurants and products that they’ve tried. Find posts containing your brand and thank them for their feedback, regardless of whether they’re favorable or not.
Then, use that information to improve your product or service. You can even give an update to the one who complained about it to show that you are listening to what your customers have to say.
- Maximize Your Profile For Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a feature or section in the search engine results pages (SERPs) that provides comprehensive information about a company or organization. It’s located at the Knowledge Graph part of the SERPs, which is found at the right side of the page beside the top answer for your query. Your GMB profile can also be shown in Google’s Local Pack and Maps.
Try searching for your brand name and see what Google displays. Often, the search engine pulls up relevant details from your website and shows it to web users, such as your opening hours, directions to get to your restaurant, and contact information.
The primary benefit of managing your GMB profile is that your restaurant would pop up when people search for restaurants in your area. Going back to the example above of a donut shop in Temple City, your establishment will be displayed for queries like “donuts in Temple City” or “Bavarian donuts Temple City.”
You have full control over the details that will be shown on your GMB profile. You simply have to register for administrative features and manage your account on the Google My Business website.
Then, you’ll be asked to type in the name of your restaurant and address. Take note that you have to tick a box if you can deliver goods and services to customers. You also have to select a business category as well as add your contact details and website URL.
Some tips to optimize your GMB listing:
- Don’t Forget About Keywords – Keywords continue to play a pivotal role in your GMB profile. Treat it the same way as your website and sprinkle the right terms and phrases to boost SEO for your brand.
- Ensure Accuracy Of Opening Hours – Make your customers’ lives easier by keeping your opening hours accurate. While most restaurants operate on a consistent schedule daily, there are individual cases when you have to shut down temporarily for renovations or a global pandemic. Keep your loyal clients informed by updating your GMB profile.
- Include Photos And Other Media – Add images and videos to your listing so that customers can get a more comprehensive idea of where you’re located. Include a picture of your storefront and your neighboring establishments to make it more straightforward for diners to visit your restaurant. Try out Instasize to create enticing visuals for your restaurant.
- Manage Customer Reviews – GMB also allows web users to write reviews on your products and services. Make sure that you respond to each one and listen to what your customers have to say.
- Create An Affiliate Program
An affiliate program is a form of performance-based marketing strategy through which customers can receive a reward or incentive for promoting a business’ products and services. Think of it as the digital form of word-of-mouth advertising.
For this strategy, your affiliates will have a unique link and share it with their followers on social media. Then, when one of those subscribers purchases or orders something off of that hyperlink, that transaction will be recorded as your affiliate’s referral.
The best thing about this strategy is that you have the final say on the reward. You can opt to give them discounts for every successful purchase of their referrals, or a commission for each sale. You’ll need specialized tools to track the number of people who buy off of their link, though, so take that into consideration for the costs of this strategy as well.
- Develop A Mobile App
Almost all consumers are on their phones nowadays. They prefer to browse and shop on their mobile devices. That’s why you should also have an app developed to boost your restaurant’s visibility.
More than just showing your menu, take your app to another level by allowing customers to order straight away on the software itself. Some modern restaurant computer software will have this feature built-in, so online orders are sent directly to your POS. This convenience can significantly boost your sales and build your reputation as a tech-savvy establishment.
You can also have your restaurant listed on food delivery apps like Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash. Some restaurant POS systems will have this feature integrated as well. With this, you promote your restaurant on the food delivery platforms to increase the chances of gaining new customers.
With most consumers inhabiting the online world today, you have to maximize the use of digital marketing to make your restaurant more visible to potential customers. Join a business directory, which serves as a website that posts names and information of different companies and organizations in a particular niche or industry. You should also boost your brand recognition by using your logo throughout various platforms.
Your website, social media channels, and your Google My Business listing are also valuable tools in reaching new customers and engaging with your loyal diners. Other ways to make your restaurant more visible is to create an affiliate program, as well as develop a mobile app that’s exclusive for your business.