It’s no longer enough for restaurants - particularly those aiming to scale their business model - to service and deliver for customers on the ground, relying solely on word-of-mouth marketing to attract customers. 

Sure, you've got a website, but ask yourself - what are you getting from it? From brand promotion to data mining, here are five things to keep in mind when looking at how you can optimise your restaurant’s online marketing strategy. 

Translating your character online

While restaurants live and die by their ability to service and deliver for customers on the ground, modernising the way you promote your brand and attract customers online is quickly becoming a major point of difference.

The difficulty is capturing what makes your restaurant special, and representing that accurately on your website. While you should think carefully about your language and brand graphics, true charm and character is best communicated online using video.

Try filming on a particularly buzzy night and embed the video in the first fold of the website, giving people what they want as soon as they arrive at your homepage. We did something similar for Porky’s BBQ, which you can see here

Multi-format, multi-channel content marketing

In the early days, the founder of a restaurant would typically sit closely to the heart of the business and its marketing strategy. But now the conversation extends beyond the reach of most restaurant stakeholders, across a wide number of digital channels.

Constructing a multi-channel content marketing strategy will help you to influence and control those conversations. We recommend that restaurants go through a full online audit to understand where they need to be present, and what they need to create to own that space.

The process of creating content for these channels allows restaurateurs to breathe their personality and brand into all areas of the digital world.

Strengthen your restaurants online presence with social media

Word-of-mouth has always been a tried and true tool for restaurants to drive revenue, and the rise in customers who use social media to choose where to eat has only amplified this marketing technique.

A study from the National Restaurant Association found that 92% of frequent social media users eat at a sit down restaurant at least once a month. With those figures, we’d say social media makes for a pretty great complimentary tool to your website marketing efforts.

From informing customers on the latest news and updates to utilising user-generated content to feed into your strategy, maintaining an active social media presence will give you better insight to customer trends and allow you to engage in real time with consumers.  

Broker commercial partnerships with like-minded brands

Any smart business knows the power of partnerships. In the case of restaurants looking to boost their promotional activity – whether marketing the brand, promoting events or to reach new markets – brokering commercial partnerships with like-minded brands can increase your exposure without making a massive dent to your budget.

Whether that’s a popup at BOXPARK or an experiential event at London Cocktail week, the possibilities that partnerships offer are endless. We’re particularly excited about Wilderness Festival 2017, where local London joints like Patty & Bun and Berber & Q will be serving up delectable delights in partnership with MAMA Festivals and BBC Music.

Use real data to influence your business decisions

Work out how you can access data and use it. The ability to harvest, understand and use data will help to inform your marketing, events and – even – menu choices. You can gather heaps of meaningful data from your website using tools like Google Analytics. For example, understanding the most popular pages on your website will give you an indication of what your users and customers are interested in. You can also use data from booking platforms like OpenTable, which can help you to understand the most successful channels for bookings – whether that’s your website or walk-ins.

What do you think is the most important element to creating a successful online marketing strategy for restaurants? We'd love to hear your thoughts, so share your comments below, or better yet, get in touch.