In February 2004, all our lives changed. In fact, the world changed. It was the month that Mr. Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook”, thereby igniting the age of social media. Within 24 hours, 1200 Harvard students had signed up, and after 1 month, half of the graduate population had a Facebook profile.

What we didn’t know then, was just how beneficial the arrival of social media would be for the marketing of restaurants and other businesses. Previously, if entrepreneurs didn’t have a sizeable marketing budget, they relied on word-of-mouth and perhaps a flyer drop to post boxes. The likes of radio and TV ads that could reach a significant portion of their target audience, was far beyond the financial reach of new restaurants (except for established franchise groups). Digital marketing is considerably less expensive, more targeted, and hence less wasteful than traditional media.

Before kicking off your digital marketing strategy, you’ll require an overall marketing strategy. New restaurants will need to develop a visual brand identity, which includes the restaurant brand’s look, feel and tone – for this it is best to use the services of a freelance designer or advertising agency.

Your digital marketing strategy will fall within your restaurant’s greater marketing strategy.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is on everyone’s lips, but many people are incorrect when it comes to defining what it entails. It isn’t just social media (Facebook, Twitter and so forth), and it also isn’t just Google ads. Digital marketing incorporates all the below:

1) Website

This is the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy. Stats show that 39% of visitors leave a website if images take too long to load, 44% will leave a website if there’s no contact information, 38% will stop engaging with a website if they find it unattractive and 70-80% research a small business online before purchasing from it.

Ensure that your website is impeccable and enticing. The likes of WordPress are user-friendly ways of building your own website.

2) SEO/SEM

71% of consumers start their journey on search engines when discovering a new product or service, which is why SEO is vital to the success of your digital marketing. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is free or organic content like meta-data, blogging and backlinks, whilst SEM increases your ranking on the Search Engine Results Page via paid advertising with Google AdWords and PPC advertising.

3) Content marketing

This is compelling, valuable content that intrigues and entices your target market, hence building trust. Valuable website and social media content must be a priority within your digital marketing strategy. For restaurants, Content marketing can be created in many fun forms, including videos and blogs.

4) Social media

Look into what you believe are the best social media platforms for your restaurant. If your restaurant is still in its infancy, then start by getting well versed with one or two of them and build from there.

Creating a social media content calendar is crucial to effectively and professionally manage your restaurant’s social media. You need to schedule daily posts, weekly posts and promotions, for example. Don’t become reactional, as this will result in badly thought-out posts or ads that may damage your restaurant’s reputation.

The creation of Facebook ads and the other social media platforms is a step-by-step, simple process. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

5) PPC

Pay Per Click ads apply to social media, e-mail, SMS and Google. They generate more traffic to your website and ensure the leads are ‘qualified’ thanks to targeted advertising.

6) Email marketing

The role of Email marketing is first and foremost about nurturing patrons. It is an opportunity to give them exclusive insights into promotions and new menu additions. Sharing valuable content, builds trust and brand affinity. Emails must include links to your social media pages and your website.

At Yela Concepts, imparting knowledge makes us happy. We love to see other industry professionals succeed! We offer both consulting and investing services, sharing both our extensive knowledge and food industry connections. Our unique process offers the likes of brand, menu and location advise. If you have an epic idea, we want to know!