Are you looking to freshen things up online? Maybe your social media accounts are stale and numbers are slow. Maybe you’re not getting the online interaction you’re looking for. Maybe you’re asking what an online presence even has to do with going out to eat? Let me assure you most people are looking at your restaurant online before they set foot inside. They are doing their homework, they’re making judgment calls before they even get there. Have you ever gone online and visited an account for a business that hasn’t been updated in weeks? What if it has no interaction from guests or the page admin? What kind of impression do you get from a neglected social media account? If you don’t look good online, you are turning away new business, period.
Here are 5 quick ways to improve your online presence for your food based business.
Refresh Your Website
Attract new visitors and re-engage past customers with a website makeover. This sounds complicated and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. I love the WordPress platform for this. It’s easy to set up and run even if you have very little website knowledge. And because it’s such a popular platform, it’s easy to find documentation and themes to design your site plus plenty of plugins for the functionality you’re looking for. Below are some examples of themes that would customize nicely for a restaurant, bar or bakery.
These themes are a cheap and easy alternative to a custom website or programer. These are just a few examples, but there are endless options. Even if you’re intimidated by the process of getting set up, once up and running WordPress takes little time to manage and update. Getting set up is easy and with a little training you can run your own site. Need assistance? We offer custom website set up, and then train you on how to maintain. This is a very cost effective way to run your site, click here to find out more.
2. Add New Visual Graphic Elements
Investing in some high-quality graphics are an easy way to refresh a stale menu or website. You can incorporate on-brand images into your marketing to create a looks that changes with the season.
People want visuals to entice them when it comes to food, so make sure you’re inviting them in with the seasons. You can include these on printed flyers and menus, incorporate them onto handwritten menu boards and include them in newsletters and online ads.
3. Update your Social Media Images
Social media is a very easy way to expose your restaurant to new diners. One of the biggest failures is not being consistent with your branding and message. Do your pictures match across all platforms? Are they on brand? Consider this: if someone sees you on Twitter, will they recognize you as the same business on Facebook?
Always be consistent and cohesive with your images, screen names and branding. Try to use the same or similar (or at least on brand, cohesive) images for your profile picture and page images. Follow this up with consistent posting. Do you run a blog on your site? Keep a consistent posting schedule. Do you send an email list? Send that out on a consistent basis.
Let people know when they can expect to hear from you and follow through. Update your menu weekly? Send out some updates, same time each week. Keeping a consistent schedule helps build a following.
4. Update your Photos
Take a look and evaluate the images you have online. What do they say about your business? Are they clean, crisp and professional? Are they RECENT? (Really, how old are they?) Do you have pictures of items you no longer offer? Has your decor changed? These should be reflected in your images. It’s so easy to keep guests up to date with what you’re offering though social media (see #3 above!) and good pictures make you looks good. How do you use this to your advantage?
People love pictures of food. Posting amazing pictures of delicious food will get people in the door AND get people talking and sharing your images. This is free advertising that costs nothing but your time!
Get rid of any blurry, dark, cluttered and just plain ugly images and replace them with new ones, I promise you will see a difference in your online engagement and get people in the door.
5. Send or Update your Email List
An email list is an amazing marketing tool if you get it right. It’s not hard but it does take some work. The effort is all in the set up and the payoff is in the execution. Get an account set up using a service like Mail Chimp, Emma or Constant Contact (there are plenty more, do your research), start growing your list and get a nice template set up and get on a schedule.
Your template and schedule is key– you want it to look professional, add value to the recipient and be consistent but not intrusive. Let me give a great example: there was a wonderful, quaint little place across from my apartment where I lived 7 years ago. I went there ONCE. Great food, quiet. It was the end of the night and the chef came out to our table and chatted with us. He gave us a card to get on their mailing list. I still receive their email. He sends them out when they do events, for seasonal menu changes and for their wine dinners. And every email includes a recipe (this is the value), which is why I stay on their list. Simple as that. And I do plan to go back, I hope to catch one of their wine dinners next time I’m in town.