Most of us have seen the movie Field of Dreams. Kevin Costner’s character was told that if he built it they would come.
Some people take that same approach with website marketing.
Unfortunately it’s not a mindset you can have if you want to get traffic, leads and sales.
That’s why it’s important to understand why customers come to your website. Once you know the ways customers find your restaurant’s website you can boost your traffic and begin seeing return on that website investment.
Here are the top 5 ways customers find your restaurant’s website.
New customers find your restaurant’s website via referrals from people and websites. Tweet This
The expectation of building a website is to bring in new customers to your restaurant. The goal is to get the target customer to discover your restaurant by getting them to find your website.
Customers find your site is by referral. The way referrals work in the online world is exactly how they work in the offline world.
We each have people in our personal and professional circles. In the real world we may tell someone about a restaurant. That’s a referral.
What’s exciting about online marketing is the fact that some people have large groups of people in their circles or audiences.
The trick to getting traffic to your site is tapping into the audiences of others and getting people to find your website.
Here are the ways people will find your website.
Word of mouth is probably a big source of new customers for your restaurant.
Someone tells another person about your restaurant and that new person tries out your service.
This same word of mouth happens online.
Email is one way word of mouth happens online. One person asks for a recommendation of a good restaurant. The other shares a link to your website.
Mobile messaging is another way people share recommendations. People can easily text the link to your website today. As a side note it’s a good time to mention the importance of responsive mobile design. You want to make sure those visiting your website on a smartphone or tablet get a good experience on your site. Remember, They’re seeing it for the first time.
Website links and recommendations are a third way to get online word of mouth referrals. A person that owns a website or perhaps a blog will link to your website recommending your restaurant to their followers.
The takeaway here is to focus on your brand and your product above all else. When you create something valuable people will talk to one another about it.
In the online world this means free word of mouth traffic to your website and more business through the door.
Paid advertising includes any traffic you pay for from a variety of sources.
AdWords by Google is a big online advertising platform. You pay for ads in search results and on any website that has Google Ads. You can target keywords people are searching for and really hone in on a specific audience.
You can also advertise or sponsor directly on another website. This requires you to do your due diligence to make sure the audience is a match for your restaurant.
Social Media sites also offer advertising. Facebook Advertising allows you to target specific audiences based on their interests, demographic profile and even their location.
It seems like everybody is talking about social media these days. The reason people are talking is because social media has brought people and conversations online.
For businesses this means that some of that real world word of mouth is now taking place online.
People use social networks like Facebook to communicate and connect with people they know. It’s a way to hear all the latest updates. Some call it stalking in some cases, but in reality it’s just human curiosity.
Sometimes people discuss the things they buy with others on social media. It can be something like asking your friends on Facebook where the best place to go for dinner is and they reply with a link to your website.
Social media is tricky to take action on from a business perspective. You can create social media profiles and get people to follow you there, but the sharing aspect starts with having something to share.
If you want people to follow you on social media you have to give them a reason to and that’s usually by providing interesting content. You could create blog posts, share photos or videos about your products or a number of other things.
Along with having a great brand worth sharing people will also share the content you create if it’s interesting.
Search engine marketing can be misunderstood. It used to be that all you had to do was create a great website and you would get traffic from search engines.
The online world is more competitive today and simply having a website is not enough.
Thankfully, Google still has natural rankings. Nobody knows for sure if Google will keep things mixed or if they will go to an all paid model like a traditional directory.
In the meantime you can still optimize your website for specific keywords.
Be aware of what your customers will search for on Google. Use these words throughout your site. Create one page for each keyword and similar keywords.
One recent trend is to create fresh content through an ongoing effort like a blog. It lets Google know they need to come back to your site to check your content and it gives people more content to find.
Public relations is the final area where you can get people to find your website.
Getting mentioned in the online press and on other websites can be tricky, but the payoff can be big.
PR could come in the form of a review by a local online website. You could offer yourself up for interviews to local publications in your area.
The important thing to remember is you’ll have to have a story to tell. People are only interested in writing about you if you have something unique to share.
Typically people underestimate the amount of information they have to share to get good PR. Be open and tell your story in a way that your customers will find interesting. You might even have to do something crazy or controversial to get attention.
Referrals are the main way new customers find your website.
Some other website or person refers everyone to your site.
That referral could come from Google, from an email message or from a few other sources.
With this mindset you should understand how people will find your website and how you can increase your traffic by optimizing for these referral channels.
Here are your next steps for getting people to find your website:
Now that your website is up it’s time to start promoting.