26 Aug How To Get Your Restaurant Noticed Online
Successfully running a restaurant is a difficult task. From dealing with suppliers and managing staff, to satisfying guests and ensuring providing a great atmosphere, it’s no wonder restaurant owners are exhausted. When you consider the reality that effectively marketing your business online is becoming more and more vital to your long-term success, the whole thing can seem a bit overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. In this 3-part post, I will unpack some vital tips on how to set your restaurant apart from the myriad of others online.
Part 1: Establishing Yourself Online
Google Places Listings
You know those local listings at the top of the google search results? These are affectionately referred to as Google’s “7-pack.” Your restaurant needs to be listed here. If you haven’t already, go toGoogle Places for Business right now and create an account. Keep in mind that it’s very important for you complete all the available fields, and upload as many pictures as possible. Once completed, you’ll have to request a PIN from Google to verify your business location. Typically these arrive within several days, but there’s lots you can do to optimize your page while you’re waiting.
First things first. Put a link on your website to direct visitors to your Google Places page. This will be helpful in providing guests an easy way to add a review for your restaurant. As you well know, reviews can make or break you, so stay up on these. I’ll cover how to ask for reviews, and respond to negative reviews in my next post, but following the steps above are vital for you to begin earning great opportunities in the first place.
This may seem obvious, but surprisingly many restaurants are not using local directories to their fullest extent. When setting up these directories, make sure your information is consistent across all channels. Your NAP (Name, Address, & Phone number), must be identical. This is very important as providing inconsistent information will confuse Google and hurt your ranking in the organic results. Again, be sure to fill out all the available fields in every directory. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for people to find you, and for the search engines to rank you. I’ve seen restaurants new to online marketing quickly pass more established restaurants in the search results simply by not leaving blanks in any field, and uploading high quality pictures.
Once you’ve completely finished your first profile, do it again. And again. And again. There are dozens of web directories and restaurant apps out there, and it’s important that you build a profile, complete with great pictures, on as many of them as possible. This can be a tedious job, but using services like Yext can help minimize the hassle.
It’s amazing how many restaurants still don’t have an active social presence online. Yes, I said active. Most (although certainly not all) restaurants have awakened to the necessity of having a Facebook or twitter page, but many don’t engage with their fans regularly. To do this, you need to be providing captivating content, and growing your network on a daily basis. This also gives your guests the ability to “check in” at your location, which automatically updates their entire circle of influence with their whereabouts. You should consider posting a sign in an obvious (but not tacky) place in your restaurant letting them know you’re on Facebook, and encouraging them to check in.
A word of caution about Social Media: Be careful. Unless you have asocial media system in place to handle this for you, it’s easy to become consumed with building online interest at the detriment of your existing guest experience. I want to emphasize though, for a restaurant to be successful today, it’s not an either/or question. It’s a both/and proposition. Consider your options, leverage your resources, and engage – not only with those in your dining room today, but with the guests you want to fill it with tomorrow.
In the next part of this series, I’ll be talking about how to get more reviews, and how to handle negative reviews when they happen. If you have any questions between now and then, please let me know. I’m always here to help!
Also, if you’re in the Metro Detroit area, sign up for my FREE event, where I’ll be giving local small business owners 4 tools they can implement immediately to increase revenue and grow their business.