Restaurants in the modern age need to have a web presence if they’re going to get the most out of their potential customer base. It’s been made pretty clear that more and more people start their search for any purchase online and often take advantage of actually being able to buy there when they can. That’s why the more a restaurant can offer online, the better the chance that they will get customers.
But how do they actually turn that online presence into real business? Here are just a few tips to get your started.
1. Create an Actual Website – Because of the many easy ways to get a foot into the online world, from Yelp profiles to Facebook business pages, many owners are tempted to simply create a few of these and leave things at that. While it’s important to leverage social media and get good ratings on review sites, having your own website has too many advantages to ignore. First, it creates a hub for all of your other online messaging so that everything else can point back to it. Secondly, you have complete control over it to advertise specials, create an online ordering system, or just give it a look that matches your business and the tone you’re trying to decide. It’s more professional and will give people a better sense of who you are.
2. Use Social Media – Getting the most out of online advertising usually means using social media to get people to your website. That also means that you can’t always be selling. You have to provide some value to your social media profile that doesn’t involve telling people to go to your site, so be ready to post engaging questions, memes, or things that will get people interested and sharing what you have to say. People should be entertained, educated, engaged, or excited about everything you post so that you can leverage the biggest advantage of social media: getting them to promote your business to their friends.
3. Create an Online Ordering System – While this won’t work for every restaurant, if you provide any sort of take out or delivery option, or even a pickup of some sort, then you should consider an online ordering system so that people who do find your web presence can immediately take advantage of what they have to offer. The more steps that you put between them and their purchase, the less likely it is that they will buy from you, so make it as easy as possible.
4. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly – More and more people are accessing the Internet from their mobile phones, so if you don’t have a mobile version of your website that makes online ordering and menu viewing easy, then you are missing out on a huge amount of business. Your mobile website should be a lot simpler than your main website and not include things like popups or Flash animations that many phones are not equipped to handle. The most important information should be at the top of the page, and if it can be designed to not require any horizontal scrolling, you’re more likely to get users to stay on the page.
5. Encourage People to Support Your Online Presence When You’re Face to Face – If you have a party that is particularly happy with their service, encourage them to give you a good Yelp review. Print your website on receipts so that people can easily visit in the future. Try to get people to Like you on Facebook so that you can build an audience. Your online marketing flourishes when you promote it face to face.
It’s not difficult to build a high quality online presence and get more business as a result, but it does take a lot of hard work and dedication to the advertising. However, if you’re willing to put in the extra effort, you will find that it pays off in greater ways than you could have possibly imagined.
So don’t wait, start building your website today and take advantage of all of the customers that a robust online presence can gain you.