For restaurants in today's highly competitive landscape, particularly in a city like Dubai, getting exposure online is critical to being found offline. With so many options to choose from, customers turn their attention online to research and discover where to spend their time and hard earned cash. How do you ensure you're showing up in their online explorations.
Digital marketing is not always easy, especially when things are constantly changing and new competition is popping up daily. But as with most things in life, taking a step back and asking yourself some key questions about what you're doing and trying to achieve, can offer all the clarity you need to go forth with an ironclad strategy. Are you ready to boost your online presence and get customers through the door? We're guessing that's a "yes".
11 Questions to Discover the Recipe for Digital Success
- Is our restaurant easy to contact?
Setting up your website, social media, Google My Business page and other channels to be easily contactable is the simplest way to increase questions, bookings and footfall. Make sure that your contact details are listed clearly everywhere that your restaurant is found online. Consider adding a booking/reservation link in all of these places so booking a table is as easy as clicking a button. If you do nothing else, at least make sure your website home page displays your contact details on the homepage at the top.
- Where are our customers online?
It's easy to get overwhelmed about where to be online. Which social platform should you set up? Which restaurant recommendation site do your target customers use? Identifying where your customers go to find a restaurant is essential. There is no need to be everywhere. Look at the analytics of your market to find out where you need to have a presence. Ask your exiting customers in person when they visit your restaurant or set up a survey and send it to your customer database. Then focus on those digital assets where your target customers hang out the most.
- How are our customers finding us online?
Setting up digital marketing analytics allows you to track where your customers are coming from. Do you get a lot of traffic from external order sites like Zomato or Deliveroo? Or is it through your Google My Business listing or Facebook page? Whatever it is, if it's working, look at how to invest more into this channel and boost those visits even further and if you're spending time and money that is not generating traffic, consider dropping it.
- How many visitors does the website get?
Knowing your site traffic can help you to determine whether you should invest in getting more people to your site or focussing your energies elsewhere, like social media. One way to generate more site traffic is through an online digital menu that can sit on the website for customers to browse. Research shows that customers are more likely to choose a restaurant where they can preview your menu in advance. Having a digital menu solution like Redro enables to to always have the latest and up-to-date menu available for review while at the same time improving your general online exposure.
- What do our customers like? What do they engage with?
Analysing what your customers or followers engage with online helps you to strategise on what marketing efforts to increase and what to ditch. If you're getting high view rates on Instagram or Facebook Stories, spend more time there. If you're getting more likes on videos from the kitchen than images of ready made dishes - do more of the former. Make sure to regularly and consistently see what is working and what it not and act accordingly.
- What are we offering our customers online?
Regularly pondering what value you offer your online visitors helps you to craft better online experiences for your customers. Are you providing them with enough information on the menu items? Are you delivering fun and engaging content to build relationships on social media? What could you offer to attract more people to you online and at the venue? Customers needs are changing. More and more people have special dietary requirements, care about making healthy choices, care about the environment and want to make sustainable choices. Are you putting enough information out there to answer all these questions?
- What are people saying about our restaurant?
Online reviews are everywhere. Keeping an eye on what customers say about your restaurant helps you to understand and keep at what you do well, as well as improving whatever your customers may suggest is not quite right. Replying to these reviews is another way to build loyalty with those who already love you and re-building a relationship with those who weren't blown away.
- Could we use customers content, feedback and social posts for our social media?
Customers these days regularly post pictures from their visit to restaurants. Can you set up a hashtag to capture this content and re-use it on your own social channels? Can you share positive reviews in your social posts to tempt others to come and discover what it is that your reviewers were so pleased about? If you use a digital menu, why not use user generated images in your menu? You could run fun and engaging competitions to encourage users to share images of their dishes online while tagging your restaurant and thereby enter into a competition for best image of a particular dish. Then you can feature the winning image in the menu ensuring that the customer comes back and encourage them to bring their friends. Win Win 😊
- Should we start a newsletter?
Are you capturing customer information and failing to do anything with it? Could a newsletter help you to keep in touch with your customers? This could be the ideal channel to let them know what's been happening, announce when the menu changes and tempt repeat visits with a special offer. To capture email addresses you could have a business card jar on reception or an opt-in form on your website or digital menu. You could encourage people to sign up and share their date of birth by promoting the fact that'll they'll receive a special offer on their birthday. Who doesn't love to get spoilt on their birthday 🎁 ?
- What's trending?
In the world of digital, there is a new trend coming out all the time. Right now, Stories are captivating audiences on Instagram. Is this a method that you could execute well? What else is your audience responding to that you could also take up to tempt them your way?
- What are our conversion rates?
How many of your online visitors convert to customers at the venue? How many people did you email with an offer vs how many claimed it? What's the ROI for your digital marketing efforts? Keeping track of these metrics helps you to learn what you're doing well, what needs more investment and what's not working.
Asking yourself these 11 questions regularly helps to keep you focussed on the most effective restaurant digital marketing efforts so that you can guarantee yourself the best results. Don't waste time on channels that don't serve you. Invest more energy giving your customers what they love through a channel that works well for them (and you).