Happy New Year! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and readership, I hope that you have found my previous post helpful. Now that we have entered 2013, I wanted to highlight some goals and initiatives for your marketing efforts. Before you get bogged down with the reality of running a restaurant or marketing a restaurant be sure to look back at the success from 2012. Well, what did you learn?
As you look ahead to 2013, consider the following 13 suggestions. Think about tracking your success and note what went wrong with your failures.
Get back to basics with a well optimized website.
1. Time to Kick the Tires On Your Website – Your website needs to be your communication hub, all marketing efforts should help support or drive traffic to your website. Make sure you have an SEO-friendly Optimized Website. I promise that you will get more out of all of your marketing efforts with a better performing website.
Tip: Don’t go cheap and skip out on optimizing your site for search engines.
2. Be Smart Get Mobile – Make sure your site is mobile friendly or responsive design to maximize mobile effectiveness. Consider a mobile strategy for loyalty programs including social sharing. Mobile is where the growth will be in 2013, so get jump on this trend now.
Resource: Infographic on Digestible Smartphone Stats
3. Take Control of Your Website – Do you have a CMS site? If you are not sure, you probably don’t have one. WordPress is my personal recommendation for a Content Managed System, which allows YOU to update your site on a regular basis. Search engines will reward you for updating content regularly, so say goodbye to those WebMasters who kept you hostage from updating your own website.
Resource: Kittie Walker aka @TheIndigoGirl wrote a great post on SteamFeed on How To Identify The Website Platform To Meet Your Business Needs
4. List Your Restaurant on the Web – Digital listings for your restaurant helps people find you, yeah sounds like a pretty good idea. Make it easy to be found on search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) and websites that review restaurants such (Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Foursquare, etc).
Resource: Increase your chances of being stumbled upon by consumers searching via smartphones and apps for places to eat, even Facebook has gotten in on the act. Hands On With Facebook Nearby, A New Local Biz Discovery Feature That Challenges Yelp And Foursquare
5. Digital Brand Audit – Search the web for comments to see what people are saying about your restaurant, also see what search results come up when a potential customer searches for you. How easy or hard is it to find your brand on the web? It’s a good idea to claim your Google+ page. Why? The SEO Value of a Google+ Profile [Infographic].
Resource: Walk. Don’t Run Into Social Media
6. Get Active in Social Media, Seriously What Are You Waiting for? Enough is enough already it’s 2013, you are missing out on a fabulous resource and medium that literally was created for restaurant brands. We all love to eat, we do it more than twice a day and sharing comments and pictures on food goes hand in hand with eating it. Few activities are as social as eating.
Just don’t do Social Media this year. Do it right.
It is no longer good enough to just be active in social media.
Resource: Getting started might be overwhelming, read this post to walk you through the options, Choosing The Right Social Network For You.
7. Pictures Are Where It’s At: Ideally you should budget to invest in professional quality images of your food, drinks and the restaurant (both inside and out). When using photographs in advertisements and for promotional purposes pay for quality, the last thing you want is for you food to look bad in pictures. However, thanks to Social Media and Smartphones we have become used to the average person’s pictures when sharing them socially.
Remember, we see food before we eat it.
Tip: Popular image heavy social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest make it easy to share your photos.
8. Plan A Strategy, Don’t Wing It – Set goals and plan accordingly. Starting with a strategy will allow for you marketing dollars to be used most effectively.
Resource: Stop Spending Without A Strategy
9. Share Your Food and Your Menu: Make sure your menu is searchable on-line (stay away from PDFs), post seasonal additions, specials and promotional items. You do want people to order this food, right?
Tip: Use that database, blog and social following to share your new menu offerings.
Make the rewards work signing up for.
11. Get Feedback From Your Audience: Whether you want to use comment cards, online polling, first person interviews or simply asking your customers upon exiting your establishment. Make it a point to find out from your customers what they really think about your restaurant. Be sure to ask about the food, service, price point, etc.
Tip: Social Media and email programs are great vehicles to use for polling. Don’t be afraid to offer an incentive for their contribution. It can be as simple as a free dessert.
10. Speaking of That Database – If you do not already have a database of customers start building one now. If you have one, segment it for increased effectiveness by interests and/or location. Plan emails accordingly and try to send them between Tuesday and Thursday for best results.
12. Reward Brand Loyalty – What do you do with your loyal following once you have one? Take care of those loyal customers, they are your bread and butter.
Resource: Now that you have a database, Reward Loyalty!
13. Utilize All Mediums and Touch Points – Marketing is about promoting your brand, go ahead and maximize your exposure.
Resource: Should I Be Cross Promoting?
Over the course of the year I plan to dive deeper into each of these topics. Until then feel free to drop me an email, a comment below or ask me a question on any of my social networks if you require guidance or further explanation. Please consider me and this blog a resource for your restaurant.
What are you planning on focusing your attention and resources on in 2013?