The Internet Marketing Every Restaurant Needs to do in 2014
If the restaurant industry wasn’t already competitive enough in New Orleans, 2013 might have put it over the top.
New Orleans has always been a food-craved city. The whole world knows that. Between famous restaurants like Galatoire’s, Commander’s Palace and Antoine’s, not to mention well-established neighborhood staples on seemingly every block, getting your foot in the door has been nearly impossible. This has never been truer post-Katrina.
As of November 2013, there are now 70 percent more restaurants in the city than there were before Katrina despite the fact that New Orleans has fewer residents. More than 10 percent of the workforce in the metropolitan area come from the restaurant industry, compared to an average of 8.2 percent nationally.
Though there certainly is room for a large number of restaurants in the city, especially with a growing median income and population, not everyone can succeed. The crème rises to the top of the café au lait, but it takes more than just good food to stay alive in New Orleans—you also need to know how to market yourself better than your competitors. That includes digital marketing.
2013 saw many changes to the digital marketing industry. Between Google Panda and Hummingbird updates, new social media channels and an overall increase in search traffic, the world is increasingly embracing the digital age and using new technology to make decisions.
Here are a few digital marketing strategies that every restaurant should embrace in 2014, if they haven’t done so already:
A few years ago you could get by without having a website. You would probably gain a few customers with a good site, but you certainly wouldn’t lose them. Now it’s the opposite. When people search your restaurant, they don’t want to just see store hours, they want to see the works: pictures, menu, location, hours, staff, specials and everything in between. Having a pretty website won’t cut it. You need a website that is optimized to perform well on Google, has several calls to action (phone number, address, email) and can be easily accessed from a mobile device. Especially in a city where every little thing matters to someone looking for a place to eat, having a good website might be the most important digital marketing strategy.
Google’s goal for nearly every update in 2013 was to make each search results page even more all encompassing than it already was. Rather than simply showing a listing for “restaurants in New Orleans,” Google began displaying a “carousel display” which showed pictures, a map, and most importantly, ratings. According to a study done by Digital Marketing Works, this carousel display had a direct result on not only ranking, but also click through rate.
Google rankings only make up a small part of local listings. Websites like Yelp!, Urbanspoon, Foursquare and YellowPages are all vital to your restaurant’s success. 90 percent of Yelp! Users say that positive reviews affect their opinion. Considering that there were 94 million unique Yelp! visitors last month, those reviews can mean the life or death of a restaurant.
Social media has quickly moved away from something that 16 year olds use into a full-blown industry that effects everything around us. Facebook has over 1 billion users, people send over 5,000 tweets per second and Snapchat recently turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook.
We live in a world of instant communication, which means if your restaurant isn’t providing its potential customers with daily specials, cooking tidbits and hours, people will begin looking at your service as unprofessional or lackadaisical. Furthermore, there is a good chance that your competitors are taking advantage of the market, which means they are stealing precious customers away from you by the second.
It doesn’t matter if your restaurant is delicious; thousands of great restaurants close every year. The days of “C’est la vie” are over in the New Orleans restaurant scene. If you’re serious about being successful in 2014, digital marketing needs to be at the top of your to-do list.
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