Did you know that 63%of purchases start online? Whether you’re a small local cafe or a multi-venue restaurant chain, chances are your customers most likely found you and decided to purchase from you while doing their research online. This is why digital marketing is no longer optional for businesses, it’s your key to success.
From improving awareness, developing meaningful relationships, to strengthening your credibility, your online presence plays a significant role in influencing your customers’ purchasing behaviour.
Here are four effective ways to build a solid experience, expand your reach and boost your venue’s sales.
Your website is your home in the digital world, and you need a strong foundation. You don’t need to be a tech wizard—though it helps to know the basics of how search engines work— to build a website that attracts customers. You need a clear understanding of your audience and a good website structure.
The most common mistake businesses make is putting too little or too much information. While it’s important to have all the details that your customer wants to know about and present them clearly on your website, it is equally important to provide just enough information without overwhelming them.
You should ideally have the following pages:
Depending on how much resource you have, you can also add a page for events and news, a gallery, a blog, and a sign-up form to capture your visitors’ information.
First-time customers rely largely on online reviews, especially when deciding about a restaurant. This is why it’s essential to be listed on review sites that your target audience frequents and to encourage your customers to provide feedback.
For hospitality venues, you can collect and showcase client reviews on your Facebook and Google MyBusiness accounts. You can also get active on other popular platforms such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, Zomato and Opentable which are highly optimised for SEO.
Since 73% of customers only look at reviews from the past month, consider reaching out to your customers a day after their visit or giving a small token to encourage them to write reviews.
Due to some unfortunate recent events, social media influencers and digital content creators have developed an unfavourable reputation. However, in reality, people still follow influencers and engage with their content, but only if they’re seen as authentic.
If done mindfully, public relations and influencer marketing can be an effective way, especially for boutique cafes and restaurants with limited resources, to maintain high-quality conversations around your brand online and improve awareness.
Spend time researching esteemed publications and key personalities in the food and beverage industry. Don’t tell them what to write but invite them to your restaurant and provide a memorable experience. Let them create content that feels authentic and resonates well with their followers.
There’s no denying that social media is a powerful tool but it takes time and effort to manage these pages. It’s critical to understand where your audience spends their time online and choose one or two platforms based on that.
To make social media work for you, you need to know what your audience likes. It’s best to prepare a monthly calendar and analyse results each month so you can adjust and optimise your content plan. If you’re out of ideas, check out your competitors’ pages to see the posts that work well for them.
Most importantly, make sure you use social media to communicate and build relationships with your customers and followers over time. Instead of asking for a sale upfront or overselling your venue, nurture your audience with informative, entertaining and meaningful content to build trust and loyalty.
Managing your online presence takes time and effort but if you start with the basics and do it right, you will attract more audience and eventually, yield high returns and improve profits.