Marketing for Restaurants
To demonstrate the importance of local search and reviews, I will share with you a real life example. Last month, I was driving down the I-5 in Everett, Washington with my son after a hockey tournament. We were hungry and saw the freeway sign indicating some fast food restaurants nearby, so we took the appropriate exit and headed towards a Dairy Queen. This seemed to be the best choice given the 4 options on the highway sign.
On the way, we happened to pass a gas station that had a tiny burger stand attached to it claiming to have world famous hamburgers. In my mind, it seemed like just another outrageous claim by some business owner looking to attract customers, so we continued on our way. But it sparked a thought that maybe there were choices other than the four on the highway sign, so I asked my son to check Google or Yelp to see if there were any other choices for a good burger joint. He eagerly took my cell phone and used Google maps to set our location, punched in restaurants, and found dozens of locations. Just like that, he found that the Dairy Queen only had 1/5 stars and discovered another restaurant with 5/5 stars only 1 mile away. As he read the reviews out loud, it turned out that the burger shack did indeed have the best burgers in town! On top of that, the owner was a bit of a celebrity in the town and gave her free time to the community. After a quick u-turn, we were headed back the way we came. The end result was that we filled up at the gas station and had some world famous hamburgers that I can tell you were absolutely fantastic.
The point of this story is that reviews matter. More and more people are using them to evaluate your business to make decisions. Being successful in today’s connected world has more to do with what people say about you than what you advertise. We had a great experience, but there is one thing the owner of this business could do better. She offered no incentive for me to leave my review about her restaurant. She didn’t try to get my business card for a draw or make any attempt to find a way to connect with her customers. Frankly, I don’t even remember the name of the restaurant.
In marketing lingo, we call this UGC (user generated content) and for most businesses, it doesn’t come easy or free. There are specific strategies to implement in order to make UGC work for you.
Our suggestions include:
- Promote your business through social media
- Give back and use your charity to show that you are a business that cares
- Write your content so it takes advantage of those good reviews
- Encourage your customers to give you a review and offer an incentive
- Celebritize – get out there on YouTube, connect with the media, and be yourself
- Collect email addresses and connect with your customers regularly
This is just a small list, but it’s a great start. If you can’t do it on your own, Intact Info is here to guide you into the new era of marketing your business. It will definitely pay off.