Digital Marketing for Restaurants: 8 Ways to Attract Customers Online

By Raubi Perilli

      Jun 9, 2020     Solutions    

Digital marketing for restaurants is essential. To be successful, restaurants need to have a steady stream of both new and existing customers coming through their doors. Digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to make this happen.  

Let’s look at why restaurants need to have a digital marketing plan if they want to grow their customer base and increase their revenue. 

Why Use Digital Marketing for Restaurants?

Digital marketing for restaurants is powerful because it can provide results at all points of the sales funnels. It can:     

Restaurant Digital Marketing Strategies 

Now, let’s look at some restaurant digital marketing strategies that lead to those benefits and results. 

#1) Data Collection 

Digital marketing for restaurants starts with creating a system for collecting data about customers. All other marketing strategies will be improved if you have: (1) contact information for customers and potential customers and (2) data that shares insights into customer behaviors and characteristics.   

You can use data to support both lifecycle marketing and marketing automation initiatives which helps you get the most out of every customer connection you make. So always start your digital marketing plans with a plan to collect customer contact information.   

Related: Why It's Important to Own Your Business Data and How to Start Collecting It

#2) Email Marketing 

When you have customer email addresses, you can launch powerful email marketing campaigns. Email marketing for restaurants allows you to stay in contact with people interested in your business. You can stay top-of-mind by regularly sharing restaurant promotions and upcoming specials and events.   

Even more, you can segment your list in email marketing to send the most relevant messages to your customers. For example, you can use data to see if a customer hasn’t visited in a while and send them a coupon for an item that they purchased during their last visit. Personalized promotions make email marketing even more effective at bringing past customers back for more visits. 

#3) Text Marketing 

Like email marketing, text marketing for restaurants gives you a direct connection to your audience. Text messages have a 98% open rate. When you send a text, you can almost guarantee that the recipient will see it so it’s a great way to stay connected with past and future customers.  

Plus, text messaging sign-up campaigns are easy to implement. Audiences can opt-in by simply texting a phrase to a number. It’s easier than signing up via an online form, which makes text data collection campaigns very effective while customers are in your restaurant or at an event.

#4) Local SEO 

A major part of digital marketing for restaurants is making sure that when customers are looking for a business like you, they can easily find your brand online. You need to have a local search engine optimization (SEO) plan that helps your business appear in search results when nearby customers look for a restaurant like you.   

To boost your local SEO so nearby customers find you via search:   

Related: Local SEO: How to Get Your Business To Show Up In Local Searches

#5) Social Media Marketing

Social media is a good way to spread the word about your brand, stay top-of-mind with customers who know you, and make introductions with new customers. Create profiles for your brand on leading social sites like Facebook and Instagram. Then, work to promote your brand, share your story, and attract new customers.   

  • Work with local social media influencers to get your restaurant in front of their audience. 
  • Encourage customers to share user-generated content (and tag your business) and repost it through your platforms (and tag them). 
  • Go live and bring customers inside your restaurant with first-person stories and promotions. 
  • Run lead generation opportunities, like a hosting contest or giveaway, that drive social media followers to join your email or text marketing lists.  

Related: The Best Marketing Contest Ideas for Restaurants

#6) Local Media 

To spread the word about your restaurant to local audiences, leverage the media channels that reach your target audience. Look for local media platforms that create and curate content about your area and get coverage about your brand, promotions, and community involvement.   

Get press coverage for your restaurant on local media outlets (like Area Local Sites) and blogs that that curate “best of” lists or review restaurants in your area. This gets you in front of their audience and can generate backlinks for your website which can boost your site’s SEO. 

#7) On-Site Content

In addition to getting coverage on other local media platforms, also create your own. Use your website as a platform for sharing important details about your restaurants. Content on your site can help attract new audiences. It boosts your SEO and gives you something to share through social media. Plus, it gives you a central place to curate details about your business and brand.   

Create on-site content such as:

  • Customer reviews 
  • Full menu and description of food items
  • Event calendars 
  • Information about new menu items
  • Stories about your brand and employees  

Related: Does Your Local Business Need a Blog? Yes. Here's Why

#8) Targeted Digital Ads

While using organic methods of attracting online attention is great, it may not be enough. You may also need to use paid digital advertising strategies to get your brand to cut through the noise and get in front of customers.   

When you use digital ads, there are methods to make sure you get the most out of every dollar you spend.   

  • Use geofencing for restaurants which displays ads to customers when they are near your business and most likely to visit. 
  • Use geotargeting to get your ads to reach audiences that live near your business. 
  • Use retargeting ads that get in front of audiences who have already shown interest in your brand and are more likely to convert. 

Related: Demystifying Digital Advertising: 12 Ways Local Brands Can Run Paid Ads

Get Digital Marketing for Restaurants 

Digital marketing is an effective way for restaurants to reach new audiences and drive back existing customers. If you're not seeing results with your digital marketing efforts, let’s talk.  

MyArea Network specializes in helping local hospitality businesses increase customer acquisition and retention. We’d love to talk about how we can create digital marketing strategies that lead to real results for your restaurant.   

Schedule your free consultation today to see how we can help.