I used to be in the restaurant business and in 2009 I wrote an eBook on restaurant marketing. It was an overview with on and offline advice and systems: Now it’s time to get an update…
Independent businesses in general can play a smart game of marketing against big brands. No more so than independent restaurants. SEO for big business is expensive, time consuming, difficult to track results and can take a long time to have an effect. Most SEO companies will tell clients that they have to work for 6 months before any discernible results will appear. For a small business this is not a viable option.
However there are ways to get fantastic results with little investment or time. AND you will see the effects in a lot less time. In 2010 Microsoft did a study that showed smartphone users are much more likely to convert from searches. This year a Nielsen study shows that 64% of Smartphone searches for restaurants converted inside of one hour. That is an amazing statistic.
In the 80’s we had no mobile phones. Now there are 4 billion smartphones in the world and current estimates say that by 2016 there will be 8 billion smartphones in use globally. If we have a question we ask our smartphone. Everything from a pub quiz conundrum to where to stay or eat.
How do you get your restaurant to the top of the list in your area? Well one thing to consider is that restaurant chains mostly market the brand and not so much the locations. So be sure and make your restaurant known as the place to eat in your town and your street.
People looking for Italian restaurants may get Jamie’s as top of the list. However if they search for Italian Restaurants in Bristol (or BS1) you have a great chance to beat Jamie’s to the top (if you are in Bristol).
Step 1… Be sure and get a full listing with the following sites:
- Google places (Free)
- Bing Local (Free)
- Yahoo Local (Free)
- Yell Local (Free)
- Thompson Local (Free)
- Hotfrog.co.uk (Free)
- Smilelocal.com (Free)
- Get on any other maps and citation sites you can (a full list of the top 50 UK (And US) sites can be seen here – http://wwwsearchenginland.com?top-50-citation-sources-for-uk-us-local-businesses )
These reviews and citations don’t even need to have a link to your site in them (although that helps). A diner reviewing your restaurant would not include a link normally anyway. Google is very smart and can read citations and review counts. The more reviews the more chance of showing up on top.
Remember that this is all for local searches so be sure and have your address, with post code, on every page of your website, clearly visible. Add a map (Google for example). Make it really easy to find your business. Be street specific in some of the text. “bijou Italian restaurant in Park Street, Bristol…”
Now the icing on the cake… Since 2009 social media has changed dramatically. The latest 2 major changes are video on Instagram and Bing Search on Facebook. Both can work to your advantage.
Bing on Facebook means that people don’t have to leave Facebook to look for your business. So be sure to have a good Facebook page for your restaurant. Share recipes and tips for cooking. Let people know about menu changes and updates and keep people engaged. If you can afford PPC then very specific search terms with Bing will be low cost and high converters. Adwords.Google.com has some search term tools to help. Be sure and include your location as much as you can (area, town or postcode).
Next you add video to get to page 1… Why Video?
- 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words
- 78% of people watch video online every week
- 1/3 of online activity is watching video
- 100 million internet users watch an online video every day
- Videos have a 41% HIGHER CLICK THROUGH RATE IN SEARCHES
- The chances of getting a page 1 Google listing increases 53 times with video
- Source: Attwood Digital
So how do you go about it? What medium do you use (I am assuming you don’t have the time to do them all) Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube ???
- 72% of Smartphone users have Facebook
- 27% of Smartphone users have Twitter
- 36% of Smartphone users have Istagram
- 11% of Smartphone users have Vine
Create and use a business YouTube account. Post longer videos here, perhaps a few minutes on how to cook recipes or other useful restaurant or cooking related facts. Try to brand these as much as possible. Include your physical address.
Use Instagram and Facebook to engage people. Short clips of the perfect Cappuccino being made. What spaghetti Alfredo really should look like. Be imaginative, be fun and be engaging. Have a personality and let that come through in the videos.
Then engage with your clients and encourage them to post video of their experience in your restaurant. Some businesses go as far as having branded social media booths but this is more for events and bigger restaurants. But you can do a lot to get your branding in photos and video. If you have a themed restaurant you can create a background for video or photos. Like the old Wild West photo places that still exist in tourist resorts (i.e. Troccadero Piccadilly)
A final note…
Have you ever noticed that more and more people go out for meals and spend half their time on their smartphones? Conversation sometimes takes place between diners via their phones. It is easy for some of us old-timers to get annoyed about this. However don’t get mad get engaged.
Get your Instagram/ Facebook/Website QR code printed on your napkins. Have it stuck to the salt or the table or on the menu. Let people see it as they sit there and the chances are they will have a look. Then they may engage with you online and if you are lucky post a video of their lovely meal.
Page 1 Google here you come.