Trying to expand your restaurant’s reach? You need to get your restaurant noticed. The easiest way to accomplish that in 2019 is to start thinking digitally.

Read ahead to find out how to get your restaurant noticed, including professional advice from Erik Shellenberger, author of Restaurant & Bar Marketing: The No Bulls#it Guide To Improving Guest Counts. To get caught up with Erik, be sure to check out his book on Amazon here. Check out his Facebook page here.

Target review platforms

Erik kicks off his book with some fascinating statistics based on years of personal research. After word-of-mouth, online review platforms such as Yelp, Google, Facebook Reviews, and TripAdvisor are the most effective way to gain new customers (according to 20% of those surveyed).

“Aside from asking a local or a trusted source for advice, you most likely go to one of two sources: Google or an online review app like Yelp or TripAdvisor,” Erik says. “We Yanks rely pretty heavily on Yelp. Outside the United States, the go-to restaurant and bar app is TripAdvisor. These are both search-engine based and include ALL businesses; whether they joined in or not, they’re all present.”

Targeting the right review platform is essential. As Erik highlights above, your mileage will vary depending on your audience. Thanks to its ubiquity, Yelp tends to be the great equalizer when it comes to review platforms, but don’t discount the others. To learn more on how to better deal with review sites, check out this article we posted a few weeks ago.

Investing in the right website

There’s a difference between investing in a top-of-the-line website and investing in the right website. The most expensive website is almost certainly not what your website needs. In reality, your website essentially needs to fulfill the most basic functions. It needs to get the job done.

Erik has some relevant advice on the subject. “Most restaurant and bar owners—hell, most website clients in general—will fixate on how the website LOOKS, paying little attention to anything else. With potential customers getting 99% of the info they need about your business from Google anyway, there is less and less of a need to actually click through to your site. Yes, you do need a website, but don’t go overboard and don’t focus on aesthetics. Your website is a marketing tool, not fine art. It’s made for one thing and one thing only: to make you money.”

Ideally, your website should be affordable. The more money that you save here means more to spend on marketing avenues that will actually impact your bottom line. Erik recommends designing your website on a free platform like WordPress. It’s his platform of choice (and mine as well actually). Save money. Keep your website simple. Invest it where it counts.

Understanding SEO

“You should have a monthly budget for SEO. Take the money you’re now not spending on stupid crap, like expensive hosting or monthly website builder fees, and put it all into search visibility,” Erik says. Indeed, SEO visibility is a big area to pump your marketing dollars into.

SEO is what ties everything together. It’s how you’ll show up when people Google “restaurants in the area” when trying to figure out where to eat. If you’ve done little-to-no SEO optimization, your odds of getting found this way are rather slim.

“Getting found on Google makes you money,” Erik states. He’s right. Get to it.

Get Noticed With CoGoBuzz

Need an easy way to get noticed? We’ve got the solution you’re looking for. Enter CoGoBuzz, our state-of-the-art digital marketing service.

Our affordable service leverages your in-restaurant HotSpot to automatically reveal key demographic information about all of your customers. We utilize advanced WiFi, SMS, and Email solutions to digitally engage your customers directly on their mobile devices.

Through a one-time login to your HotSpot, customers can check out your latest deals, menus, and more directly from their smartphones. We’ll automatically produce a full customer profile for every single one of those customers, hooking you up with crucial data. On top of that, we’ll set your restaurant up with a fully digital, text-based loyalty program, allowing you to engage with them wherever they go. With CoGoBuzz, you’ll boost your repeat customers, increase word-of-mouth, and so much more.

Check out the rest of our website to learn more!

What does your restaurant do to get noticed? Sound off in the comments!