You have an awesome restaurant concept, you’re in a fun neighborhood, and your chef is top-notch — so why has traffic to your restaurant been so slow? With approximately 1 million restaurant locations in the U.S. alone, what are you doing to get noticed in the crowd?
One way to cut down the competition is to focus on your local market. With nearly 97% of consumers going online to shop locally, you can’t afford to ignore your local web presence. You also most likely can't afford to pour all your money into local marketing.
Don't worry. There are cheap alternatives. Check out our 3 easy, low-cost local restaurant marketing tips to help your restaurant get noticed locally.
1. Use neighborhood, county, and city-related verbiage on your website.
When a prospective customer is looking for a new restaurant to visit to in their area or in a city they aren’t familiar with, they’re likely going to Google long tail keywords such as “best chinese food in fenway” or “bars in north shore, ma”. It’s important to diversify the way to talk about your location on your website, so your restaurant ranks for more searches. If the town you’re in has a slang name — for instance, Jamaica Plain in Boston is also known as JP — or the area you’re in is part of a region, like East Bay or South Shore, you should optimize your content (page titles, headers, in-line keywords, etc.) for those types of search terms.
Pro Tip: Use each location-based search term on only one page on your website. Otherwise, they'll be competing for each other. For example, if you write “Boston” on every page, they'll work against each other when a possible customer searches “Thai Food in Boston.”
Become A Pro: 5 Local SEO Tips for Restaurants
2. Have a great restaurant social media presence.
Where is your restaurant consumer searching for your restaurant? On social media. 49% of people use Facebook when searching for restaurants. Ideally your social pages are kept up-to-date with daily specials, delicious food photography, and events. If the thought of updating your social page makes you cringe, ask among your staff who might want to be your social media manager. This has two benefits: having a dedicated, destination-worthy social page, and engaging your staff to feel like stakeholders in your business.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have the basics covered. Always include your restaurant name as it appears on your website, as well as your address, phone number, website, and hours on any listings of your restaurant. Having all this information consistent across multiple websites increases your legitimacy in the eyes of Google, which will help your search placement.
Become a Pro: 8 Examples of Awesome Social Media Marketing
3. Get involved in your community.
Getting the word out there about your restaurant doesn’t have to mean sitting at your computer for hours tinkering with copy and social profiles. Participating in local food festivals, making an appearance at community events, or even sponsoring a little league team are great ways to build local brand recognition. Not to mention, consumers are more likely to be loyal to businesses that support good causes, according to FSR Magazine. Getting involved in your community is also an easy way to do some PR. Your local news sites and collaborating vendors will tag your business in their articles and social sites, bringing valuable referral traffic back to you.
Pro Tip: Follow other local businesses or groups on social media. When you repost someone’s article or tag them in a relevant initiative, they’ll be more likely to do the same for you. Creating a community of support both online and off will help build your business locally and increase your local restaurant marketing.
Become a Pro: How to get your business involved in the community: giving back & gaining loyalty
Have you had a ton of success with low-cost local restaurant marketing? Share your tips below!