August 3, 2022
As a digital marketing agency that has specialized in helping restaurants grow their business for over six years, we’ve seen firsthand how effective digital marketing can be for increasing the number of customers walking through your restaurant's doors. Digital marketing is a potent tool for driving awareness and interest in your restaurant and, when done correctly, can result in a significant jump in revenue. The problem is, there are so many different tools and options for restaurant owners to choose from when trying to handle digital marketing independently, so which ones should you pick?
In this post, we're here to help you identify which platforms and services you should consider investing in as a restaurant owner to maximize the ROI of your time and money. Keep reading to learn more.
Are you thinking about working with a restaurant marketing agency? We can help. Contact Zambuki today to schedule a free consultation with our team so we can determine the best strategy for your restaurant.
Which platforms are best to run paid advertisements on for restaurants?
For most restaurant owners, there are three primary platforms you should consider running paid advertising campaigns on; Facebook/Instagram, Yelp, and Google (in that order).
With hundreds of millions of Americans using social media every day, it shouldn't be a major surprise that Facebook and Instagram (owned by Meta, their parent company) are our number one recommendations for running advertisements. Running ads on these platforms can be complicated all by yourself, but the potential reach and targeting options make them worth the effort. That's why we're here to help you set up your campaign, target the right audiences, and test different versions of your ads to see what drives the most conversions.
When running ads on Facebook/Instagram, we recommend starting with a basic awareness campaign to get your restaurant's name in front of as many people as possible in your target market. Once you've built up brand recognition, you can move on to more targeted campaigns, such as ads promoting specific menu items or deals.
As a restaurant owner, it's more than likely you're super familiar with Yelp already. But, if you're not familiar with Yelp, it's a website and app where people can find local businesses and read reviews left by other customers. It's become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among millennials and Gen Z, so it's an essential platform for restaurants to be active on.
The most critical difference between Yelp and other advertising platforms is that you have the ability to advertise at a hyper-local level, with zip code targeting and keyword targeting for your preferred customer types. Yelp is the most trusted review resource online, meaning that if you advertise your well-reviewed restaurant to potential customers and they are interested in the kind of food and beverages you serve, there's a very high likelihood they'll choose to come and visit you.
Last but not least is Google Ads. It’s not that Google isn't important, but it's typically the most expensive and competitive among the advertising platforms. For restaurants to stay relevant and rank high on search engine results, they need to be bidding on relevant keywords that potential customers are searching for. If you're in a highly competitive market with other restaurants that are also trying to rank for the same keywords, you could spend quite a bit of money without seeing much ROI. That said, Google is still the most popular search engine, so it's worth considering as part of your restaurant's digital marketing strategy.
In general, we recommend starting with Facebook and Instagram ads since they're less expensive, and you have more control over who sees your ads. Once you've built up a solid foundation, you can move on to Yelp and Google if you feel ready to take your marketing to the next level.
How can I get more customers to visit my restaurant with advertising online?
There are many other ways to increase business without breaking the bank. Here are a few of our favorite methods (plus, we covered some other options in a previous blog post that you can read here):
1. Make sure you're listed on all the major online directories
When potential customers are looking for a new restaurant to try, one of the first places they'll look is online directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. If your restaurant isn't listed on these sites, you're missing out on a ton of potential business. Not only do online directories make it easier for customers to find your restaurant, but they also allow you to show off your menu, hours, and location. Additionally, if you have any positive reviews from past customers, those will be prominently displayed as well, which can help increase your chances of getting new customers in the door.
2. Optimize your website for SEO
Another great way to increase business without spending money on advertising is to ensure your restaurant's website is optimized for search engine optimization (SEO). This means making sure your website is designed to help it rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs) when potential customers are searching for restaurants like yours. Several factors go into SEO, but some of the most important include having keyword-rich titles and descriptions, using alt tags on images, and regularly creating fresh and relevant content. If you're not sure where to start, we recommend working with a professional SEO company like us that can help you get started.
3. Use social media platforms to your advantage.
Even though we recommend using social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to run paid ads, you can generate quite a lot of customers and new business from organic social media activity. What does “organic” mean? Basically, you can increase your restaurant's exposure and reach by posting high-quality content (photos, videos, etc.), using relevant hashtags, and engaging with potential customers regularly.
Additionally, you can also run social media giveaways and promotions to help increase interest in your restaurant. For example, if you run a Mexican food restaurant, you could do a social media promotion around Cinco de Mayo and offer a discount on food or drinks to those who use a particular promo code when they place orders with you online. Staying in touch with your followers on a more personal level can make a significant difference in people sharing your content with friends, family, colleagues, etc., to drum up excitement and buzz about your new menu items, specials, and anything else you want to promote.
Want to work with one of the industry's most professional restaurant social media marketing companies? Look no further than Zambuki! We're here to help make your restaurant an amazing success online so you can keep providing your customers with the best food, drinks, and experience possible. Contact us today to get started.