Posted by Steve Parker, Jr. (@sparkerjr)
The best way to get in front of consumers is with a comprehensive marketing strategy, integrating digital marketing initiatives with offline efforts and creating a consistent brand identity across the board. We say this every week, but it seems some industries still haven’t caught on. According to a recent study, restaurant digital marketing standards among independent establishments still have a long way to go – a very long way.
When looking for a new restaurant to try out, searching for a great place to eat when traveling to a new city, or just trying to get some more info about a restaurant before making reservations, people go online. They hop on their desktops, laptops and, more frequently, their mobile phones and tablets to do a quick local search and find the information they need to make a decision on where to eat. But according to the study, some restaurants are making that hard (if not impossible) for potential patrons, resulting in an untold amount of lost customers each day. Consider these stats:
• Only 1 out of 8 full-service restaurant chains have a mobile website
• Only 1 out of 20 (yes, 20!) independent restaurants have a mobile website
The stats above are concerning enough, but consider the fact that, according to some reports, half of all visits to restaurant websites originate from mobile phones and/or tablets. Unfortunately, that’s not the worst of it:
• Less than 40% of independent restaurants include their menu on their website
• More than half of the restaurants surveyed don’t even have a website to begin with
Did you have to do a double take on that second one? I’ll say it again: More than half of restaurants don’t even have a website. More than half!
So what does this mean for your restaurant marketing strategy? Information for restaurants like yours is in high demand online – are you taking advantage of this existing demand or are you wasting precious time and money investing in misplaced restaurant marketing initiatives? If you’re one of the 50+% mentioned above, it sounds like you don’t have much of a marketing strategy in place at all, so take this opportunity to get an enormous step up on your competition by striking while the iron is hot.
It’s time (past time, really) to develop your online marketing presence. Step #1: You NEED a website. Period. Step #2: You need a mobile-friendly website for consumers looking for your restaurant on the go. Once you have these two steps completed, consider paid search marketing as well as implementing an SEO (search engine optimization) program on your website to attract additional, more relevant customers as they’re searching for restaurants like yours.
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