Whether you are running a small-chain restaurant or a globally-known brand, it is essential to leverage digital marketing to make your business stand out.

In these competitive times, it is crucial to have a marketing strategy to get your restaurant in front of your potential customers. Besides social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you should take advantage of other ideas that can help you improve your restaurant promotion and online visibility and performance.

As a full-service digital advertising agency, we specialize in developing creative and efficient restaurant marketing ideas. If you are running out of creativity or your marketing efforts haven’t delivered the results you wanted, you can try these ten best-performing ideas to get more people interested in your eatery.

Why Restaurants Benefit From Digital Marketing

With the evolution of technology, small and medium-sized businesses in the food industry are doing everything to keep up with trends and stay relevant in the competitive world.

Even brick-and-mortar businesses are starting to change their business models and move to online versions to capture the benefits digital marketing offers.

Digital marketing has a significant influence on the way consumers decide where to eat or what to eat. If you are in the food industry and are unsure whether to start marketing your business online, these are some of the potential benefits that might change your mind:

  • Building customer loyalty
  • Keeping information accurate
  • Sharing new content
  • Spreading online brand awareness
  • Reaching your customers with SEO and PPC
  • Increasing online reservations
  • Increasing ROI with email strategy

Restaurant Marketing Ideas That (Actually) Work

Adding any restaurant marketing strategy  into your marketing campaigns doesn’t guarantee results. It is essential to focus only on restaurant marketing ideas that work and bring your eatery closer to your customer base.

1. Optimizing Your Site for Google Searches

Having a well-optimized website is essential for your promotional efforts, branding, and outreach. A well-optimized site can help you rank higher on Google and attract more attention to your restaurant.

Google uses more than 200 signals to decide which content to rank on the search engine’s first page. When you focus on SEO, you need to choose keywords that best describe your restaurant, the menu, and location. You need to share content by integrating those specific keywords. The content should be informational and creative to engage readers even more and encourage them to visit your restaurant in person or order food online.

When optimizing your restaurant’s website for Google searches, it is essential to know your audience. The purpose of SEO is for your audience to convert at higher rates, and the best way to do this is to give your loyal customers what they want and expect.

If you focus on user-generated content and the right keywords, you can expect a jump in your conversion rates and click through rates.

Here are a few tips that can help Google understand your restaurant people and encourage the right people to find it:

  • Keep your website up-to-date
  • Be descriptive and topical
  • Get referrals from regular customers, influencers, and food bloggers

2. Getting Found on Google Maps

Every restaurant needs a Google my Business page so customers can find you on Google Maps.

If a restaurant is present on Google Maps through Google My Business, it can take advantage of multiple benefits, including:

  • Better discoverability
  • Increased online ordering
  • Increased local searches (near me searches)
  • Better customer experience
  • Making the restaurant more approachable

By following these tips, you can gain more visibility on Google Maps and among your potential local customers. You can develop a local SEO strategy to target the people closest to you and encourage them to visit your website or restaurant in person. Don’t forget to review your information on Google My Business and Google Maps frequently to make sure it is up-to-date and accurate.

Considering that more than 50% of all searches on mobile devices are locally driven, and most people use their phones to look for local businesses, also make sure to target mobile users.

Customers will find your restaurant easier when searching on Maps, and you should expect a boost in your orders very soon.

3. Engaging With Your Customers Using Messenger Bots

As a restaurant owner, you should always find ways to communicate with your customers, and using messenger bots is one of the many ways to do it.

Messenger bots allow quicker response time to questions and faster resolutions, which is crucial for busy people. Whether someone wants to ask you about the delivery fee or find the latest menu additions, messenger bots will provide quick solutions to customers’ questions.

reservation chatbot

Another reason why restaurants should use messenger bots is 24/7 availability. Your managers can’t work throughout the day and night answering questions from potential guests. Even if you have a team taking different shifts to provide 24-hour support, it will end up costing you a fortune.

Messenger bots are an effective and inexpensive solution to communicate and engage with your customers.

Bots can also process a lot of data and collect customer details, something nearly impossible for humans. You can program your bot to offer personalized responses to your customers, which is essential, as people generally won’t notice the difference between talking with a computer or an individual.

4. Using Facebook To Reach Your Audience

While there are various restaurant marketing ideas to try and implement in your strategy, Facebook should always be on top of your list. It was and still is one of the most influential social media networks and could help your restaurant acquire more recognition, visibility, and attention.

Here are some proven and effective Facebook ideas for restaurants to help you maximize your digital marketing strategy:

  • Create cravings through creative and compelling images and videos
  • Learn to entertain your followers
  • Find ways to retain your loyal customers (programs, vouchers, coupons)
  • Boost conversion rates with the “Start Order” option
  • Add your restaurant menu
  • Post engaging and shareable content to improve engagement
  • Leverage Facebook Messenger ads

Facebook ads provide a quick way to generate traffic to your restaurant’s Facebook page. The ads need to be engaging enough to motivate your potential customers to click and redirect them to your site.

If you are new to marketing through Facebook ads, these strategies can ease the process:

  • Target location
  • Target based on interests and tastes
  • Promote various events related to your industry
  • Add testimonials from your staff or previous customers
  • Plan an advertising campaign

5. Measuring Digital Marketing’s ROI

It’s best to treat marketing campaigns as investments. A great way to calculate your campaign’s performance is by calculating ROI (Return on Investment).

While there are various tactics for calculation, some of the most efficient ones are listed below.

Cost Per Lead (CPL)

CPL tells you whether your marketing efforts are profitable. It is usually related to paid traffic, and you can calculate it in AdWords (or other popular advertising platforms).

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

CPA tells you how much you are paying to acquire a potential customer. While this metric doesn’t apply to your SEO efforts, you may consider it for your restaurant marketing ideas and implement it in one of your campaigns.

You don’t need any tool or platform to calculate CPA—you can divide the total marketing costs by the number of actual customers.

Average Position

The average position metric identifies which ranking you get by search engines for specific keywords. You can calculate your average position in Google Analytics—if it is one, it means that you show as a top result for every keyword. If it is slightly below one, your marketing efforts are starting to generate positive results. A lower position leads to more click-through rates, meaning more website traffic and sales.

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

LTV tells you how much you can afford to pay for ads to acquire new customers. LTV applies to various businesses, including restaurants.

Unique Monthly Visitors

Unique monthly visitors tell you how many people are visiting your restaurant website each month. You can check the score in Google Analytics.

6. Consider Email Marketing To Announce Promotions or New Items on Your Menu

Email marketing is a low-cost way to attract new guests to your restaurant and increase your revenue. It allows restaurant owners to inform customers of current deals and promotions, educate them of new menu additions, or surprise them with a discount coupon or voucher.

If your email content is well-crafted, creative, and relevant, you can differentiate from local businesses and put your eatery in the spotlight.

One suggestion is to segment your customer base and create content based on their needs, wishes, and expectations. When creating promotional or informational content, keep your customers’ personas in mind.

smartphone with new e mail message notification restaurant marketing ideas

7. Improve Your Google Visibility With Pay-Per-Click

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising technique that drives traffic to your restaurant website. When users click on your Google ads, the advertiser (the restaurant owner) pays a certain amount. Pay-per-click is one of the most effective marketing ideas for restaurants, but it is also a costly strategy.

PPC improves online visibility and helps businesses to appear at the top of the search results. Make sure to optimize your landing page, include location-based keywords, and use remarketing strategies. An effective PPC campaign can improve your SEO ranking, attract more guests, and increase your revenue.

8. Monitor Your Online Reputation

For a restaurant business to be successful, it should maintain an impeccable reputation.

Online reputation has a high impact on how guests perceive your restaurant when they find you online. If you have more positive reviews, feedback from previous customers, and testimonials from loyal guests, your potential clientele will think highly of your eatery.

However, reputation marketing is more than managing reviews on social media platforms. As a restaurant owner, you should know how to answer negative reviews and deal with angry guests. It is essential to find the right way to encourage customers to interact with your website and leave positive comments for other people to see.

9. Develop an Online Delivery System

Both younger and older generations order food online using mobile apps or going directly to their favorite restaurant website.

If you haven’t optimized your website for online delivery, you should seriously consider doing so. Online food delivery is a big trend, and if you want your restaurant to keep up with the competition, you should provide your customers the chance to order their favorite meals in a few clicks.

Adding an online delivery system to your website can bring you more clients and sales. If you want to make things easier, consider creating an online ordering app as the number of people using mobile devices to order food online is growing every day. Those who will install your app or order from your menu online have the highest purchase intent, and if satisfied, will eventually come back for more.

10. Maintain a Food-Related Blog

A restaurant website without a blog is not complete. Having a blog is an excellent way to keep your visitors entertained and your customers updated. It also:

  • Strengthens your authority about a specific topic
  • Allows you to share what’s new in your restaurant
  • Gives you a platform for people to communicate with you
  • Allows loyal clients to share your blog posts on social media platforms
  • Conveys the best reasons why people should order from your restaurant

You can write about numerous topics, share recipes, compare foods, or educate your readers about certain dishes. It is an opportunity to share your knowledge and get closer to people who come and eat at your restaurant or order your meals online.

Need Help With Your Restaurant Marketing Ideas?

If you love these restaurant marketing ideas but don’t know how to incorporate them in your campaigns or don’t have time to do so, we can help. Bistro SEO is a digital marketing leader for restaurants of all sizes and can develop a custom plan suited for you.

Contact us today at 339-645-9461 to request a free digital marketing consultation and talk with one of our marketing strategists. We’d love to listen to your needs and find out more about your business goals.