2018 has come with a new set of marketing challenges that restaurants must overcome. Top on the agenda for most restaurants is how to harness digital marketing for greater sales. While previously this was a me-too strategy, restaurants today clearly see digital marketing as a mission-critical affair.
Here we cover five of the top digital marketing strategies restaurants will need to embrace in 2018.
Update Your Website and Blog
2017 was all about building mobile-friendly responsive websites. 2018 will be a year when restaurants will have to focus more on quality content. This means professional-grade bespoke photographs and not stock images. Also, quality menu descriptions and other marketing collateral.
In 2018, having poor content simply will not do. Google’s algorithms are ever more tuned to pick this up and users simply demand it. Investing in professional content will be a must for restaurants in 2018 if they want to stand out from the crowd.
Automate Your Marketing
Automation in 2018 is a must. From internal automation using tools like Crunchtime restaurant software to customer-facing automation using tools like HubSpot, restaurants must embrace automation.
Small business marketing automation, however, goes beyond scheduling social media updates. Restaurants will have to dig deeper to create more context-aware marketing campaigns that they can then automate. One key area to consider is email marketing.
In 2018, sending out generic email blasts simply will not do. Restaurants will have to invest in understanding customers and tailoring automated email marketing strategies for each segment.
Own your Google Listing
Your customers are Googling you. Your competition is Googling you. Are you Googling you? In 2018, owning your Google listing will be mission-critical.
What content do users find when they visit your Google listing? Is it content you created or a third party created? Is the location and contact information current?
These and other questions must be asked of your Google listing to ensure it represents your business well. Restaurants in 2018 will know that a Google listing is a powerful tool to win new business and will act accordingly.
Review Your Reviews
Consider a hypothetical scenario: your competition is creating fake negative reviews about your business. Let that sink in for a moment. Now think about the dozens of places online where people are reading reviews about your restaurant.
Do you know what each of those reviews says? Have you responded to all of them? Do your customers know you care about their opinions?
In 2018, reviews will play an even more pivotal role in restaurant success. Do not wait for your competition to run ahead and then start playing catch up.
Set up a review system to review your reviews, so you are always on top of every comment made about your establishment.
Get Social, the Right Way
Social media platforms are taking over the world. In 2018, expect social media platforms to play an even more integral role in the way users conduct their lives. Anticipate seeing more ecommerce, services and other businesses woven into the core of social media platforms.
For restaurateurs, this will mean it is finally time to do social media the right way. They will need to stop using social media as a unidirectional bullhorn for updates.
Instead, they will have to embrace it as a bidirectional relational platform that is better suited for building communities, not sending out endless meaningless updates.
2018 brings with it tremendous opportunity for restaurants willing to innovate their digital marketing efforts. As people move online to complete more of their daily tasks that is where restaurants also must migrate to remain relevant and stay ahead of the pack.