It used to be that restaurants and bars could spend as little time as they liked thinking about their online appearance. The business was all about creating a local attraction, building regular customers and working hard in the bricks and mortar, real world. It was almost entirely word of mouth.

With the rise in mobile devices and instant access to social media platforms, hospitality businesses now need to pay as much attention to this area of marketing as any other. Customers can scrutinise your every move, take images of your food and throw good or bad reviews out there in next to know time.

Potential new customers will often check online to see what you provide before paying a visit to your restaurant. If they don’t like what they see, chances are they’ll go somewhere else.

Even if you still have a traditional approach to running your bar or restaurant, you need to get the digital marketing basics right as a bare minimum. And if you want to grow your business, the online world provides some very useful tools to help draw those customers in.

Website Design Basics

Many restaurants and bars will produce a website simply because it’s expected. They get some content, throw it up there and then leave it to survive on its own.

Your website needs to sell your brand but it can also be used to help you show up on search engines like Google which can attract more business. Your site can be used to promote your latest menu and upcoming events, provide images of your establishment and help sell yourself to everyone from local residents to visiting tourists. You can create greater interest by producing blog posts and linking your site up to your social media platforms.

Getting On Google Listings

When you search for a bar or restaurant, or any other business, in your local area, Google search will come up with several results. One of the most important of these is Google’s local listings – usually the three top results in a separate box to the rest.

To give you a chance of appearing on this list you need to first register with Google My Business. It’s a platform gives you the opportunity to post content and engage directly with regular customers and new ones alike. But, get it right, and you can fare much better in the local listings than your nearest competitors.

Restaurants, Bars and Social Media

While most business owners in the hospitality sector understand the importance of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, many of them don’t know how to use it properly. It’s therefore important to have a social media strategy and not leave things to chance.

The first thing you really need to do is give responsibility for it to someone who is going to give it their full attention. All too often, bar managers will farm off social media engagement to other staff with the result that it becomes fragmented and unfocused.

Learn how social media can impact on your audience and you will be surprised. It’s important to reate a strategy for engaging which should include, among other things:

  • What sort of information you are going to share.
  • How you are going to grow your followers.
  • Whether you should link your social media platforms together.
  • How you are going to deal with problems such as bad reviews or comments.

Emailing for Restaurants and Bars

One often neglected area of digital communication is email marketing – it can be a powerful tool if you can manage to grow your mailing list and create the right messages to send out. It’s the perfect tool for seasonal occasions like Christmas when you want people to book early.

Digital Marketing & Managing Your Online Reputation

It’s easier than ever nowadays to leave reviews on various sites. Managing your reputation online can be difficult and time consuming but it’s also vitally important. Replying to people who have left a bad review for your restaurant or bar can not only help resolve an issue but can also help maintain your reputation. It should be top of your list of digital marketing activities.