Your website will often be the first port of call for people looking to dine at your restaurant, so increasing your restaurant website traffic should be an important part of your marketing strategy. Many potential customers simply won’t be aware of your website. It’s your job to point people in the right direction, safe in the knowing that once they hit your site, they’re viewing the one piece of dynamic marketing you have at your disposal, with potentially one of the best conversion rates.
As restaurants increasingly use their website to fill seats, we look at six ideas that you can work on today to increase the amount of traffic to your online home.
While the common paper business directory may be becoming redundant, directories are still common place and used widely online. They’re an excellent source for potential customers to find local businesses, including your restaurant. Here are a selection of some of the best directories:
Be sure to submit your restaurant details, including your website address.
We’ve spoken at length recently about using social media to market your restaurant. Set up profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ today and start interacting with local people in your area. When customers talk with you in person, ask them to add you when they next log on. By building up a strong set of followers across various social media networks, you’re providing yourself with a good base to market new offers and show a human and more personal side to your business.
It’s no use having a Web site unless you tell people how to access it, so ensure your Web site address is displayed on your menus, your take-out menus, your business cards, flyers and your restaurant signs and windows.
However, telling people your Web site address often isn’t enough. You need to give them a reason to visit the Web site, for example “to find our latest offers” or to “book a table online”. Give customers and prospective customers a reason to use your Web site, a way in which they will benefit, and soon your Web site will be inundated with hungry people eager to dine in your restaurant.
There is no better recommendation than that of another customer, and with hundreds of restaurant review Web sites, such as OpenTable, it is very easy for customers to write their comments about your food, service and atmosphere.
Often, however, especially if the overall experience has been positive, customers won’t write a review unless prompted. Providing an incentive, such as a coupon for their next meal, is often a good way to persuade customers to write reviews about their experience. Ensure customers are aware of this incentive by adding a footnote to your menu or bill.
Customers find it reassuring to know the restaurant manager cares what his or her customers think
Once reviews start coming in, be sure to respond if the option is available on the Web site. Whether it is a positive “Thank you! We look forward to seeing you again!” to a thoughtful and constructive response to a bad review, potential customers find it reassuring to know the restaurant manager cares what his or her customers think. And from there, most people who read the reviews will visit your Web site and hopefully book a table.
By creating a mailing list, you can easily reach out to hundreds of people in one go, promoting your latest offers, sharing your latest news and enticing people back to your Web site and through your restaurant doors.
All it takes is a quick form on your Web site to allow users to sign up, and one email a month to remind people you’re still here and still looking to offer them the best dining experience their city has to offer!
Many restaurants now complement their in-house dining experience with a take-out service to maximize the number of people coming through their door. While it doesn’t directly fill tables, if your food is good and your take-out service prompt and friendly, it does entice people to dine in-house, so be sure to deliver your take-out menu to homes in your local area.
But even if you don’t offer a take-out menu, using direct mailing to promote your restaurant and pointing prospective customers to your Web site to find out more is a fantastic way of finding business during those slow times of the year.
All these methods of promotion should be relatively easy and low cost, but remember, it only makes sense to draw people in to your website if it is valuable and well thought out. Before you start trying to increase visitors in to your website, make sure your website will bring people in to your restaurant.