You may be seeing a lot of empty tables even though you’ve got good service and great food. Local advertising may not be enough. Don’t neglect internet marketing. You need to appeal to the 89 percent of people who do online research before picking a restaurant. Successful restaurant managers are connecting with people over many digital channels. Here are some ideas to coming up with a winning marketing strategy for your restaurant.

Have a User-Friendly Website

Your website is the calling card that makes a first impression on internet searchers, so it pays to put some time into it. List your business hours and contact information, and take advantage of interactive maps, like Tony Roma’s does, to guide people to your location. You should connect viewers emotionally through your culinary vision, business history, and personal profile. Always update your specials, online menus, and important announcements. Think about entertaining content like video, images, culinary articles, and more.

Be Ready to Take Orders

On-the-go diners might like to shorten wait times by making reservations or ordering takeout. Prepare a website form that will allow this. It’s easier on your staff than having to drop what they’re doing to manually take information. Request names and phone numbers for confirmation calls. While there may be occasional no-shows, you’ll find you’re getting more business by providing customers more conveniences.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO, or increasing your rankings in search engine results, are critical to helping people find you on the internet. Things like speed, commonly searched keywords, inbound links, and time-on-page are all important. Google, Bing, and the others want to see that your site has value to a strong community of consumers. It’s important to frequently update your site with fresh, appealing content. If you don’t have the time to do this, you can always hire an online marketing firm to handle SEO for you.

Social Media

There are well over two billion users on the big three alone: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Social platforms are great marketing channels. You can post images of your special dishes or smiling staff on Instagram or Pinterest, and engage with your users on Twitter. Google+, or Facebook to answer questions and collect feedback. Social media analytic tools can also help you track your business mentions and the impact of different posts, plus keep tabs on the competition.

No matter what kind of eatery you’re running, you’ll find that more people prefer to check you out online before dropping in. Presenting your restaurant in the best possible light is easier with a little planning and creativity.

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