In this day and age, digital marketing is vital to any business, no matter what its industry, field or sector may be. But to a service-oriented organization like a restaurant, this type of online promotion is even more vital.
Just think: As the number of Millennial “foodies” grow, so does the opportunity to reach more and more potential customers via the web. In fact, according to recent stats, a whopping 31 percent of all Millennials snap regular food pics, sharing them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and even on their blogs.
On top of all this, 83 percent of all smart phone users rely on their phones to help them make dining decisions. That means they’re checking review sites, making Google searches and scanning social media to find where to eat – right this very moment.
All in all, digital marketing amounts to a shocking 926 million restaurant visits per year. Take digital marketing seriously, and you could find yourself with hundreds – even thousands – of new customers in just a few days. Let it fall by the wayside, and your competitors could be the ones reaping the benefits.
Still not sure digital marketing is worth your time or effort? Here are the five major reasons your restaurant needs to hop on board – and fast.
1. To build up customer loyalty
One of the best things about digital marketing (and social media) is that it’s much more immediate and more personal than traditional methods used to be. Instead of shouting out promo messages to customers, you can instead interact with them via email, text message, on Facebook and more. This allows them to build a rapport with you – to feel comfortable with you and like they’re a part of your brand. Over time, this amounts to repeat business, loyal customers and long-term relationships that can be very profitable.
2. To reach new, local customers
Digital marketing can help you bring in new customers in dozens of ways. First off, search engine optimization can ensure your website is found when potential customers are searching for dining options in your local area. It can also ensure you show up on maps, in review apps like Yelp and in other areas of the web where they might be searching. Additionally, digital marketing can also encompass online advertising, and according to Food Tech Connect, 64 percent of all smart phone users have tried a restaurant based on a mobile ad alone.
3. To allow for easy referrals
Digital marketing, and social media in particular, make referring your business a breeze. Customers can tag you on Facebook, share your updates or forward your email to a friend in no time. Even if they don’t do it intentionally, sometimes a current customer’s interactions with your brand can be seen by others in their social networks; so that’s like a referral, without any work required at all! It’s a win-win for everyone.
4. To spread the word about promotions and new items
Have a new menu item? Launching a new special or sale? Digital marketing is the perfect way to spread the word – and fast. Start a Google AdWords campaign, share a coupon on Facebook, or run a Yelp special and reach customers quickly, easily and affordably. It’s a great way to get results fast.
5. To keep their online reputation intact
Reputation management is a huge part of digital marketing. This involves managing and protecting your online profiles, reviews, ratings and more, so they portray your business in the absolute best light possible. Sometimes, this requires responding to not-so-good reviews, offering incentives or freebies when customers are displeased, or just replying to happy customers, in order to thank them for coming, encourage brand loyalty and keep them coming back.
The fact of the matter is, digital marketing is no longer optional – particularly for a restaurant. Not only does it offer unparalleled opportunity for expansion and growth, it also allows you to better manage your business, cultivate long-term customer relationships and get the word out about changes and promotions going on at your location.
Want to learn more about how digital marketing can help your restaurant improve business? Contact Spot On Digital Marketing today.