As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, having a well-planned digital marketing plan has become essential for any business’s longevity and prosperity. Whether you are a veteran operator or new to the industry, having a strategy on how to market both online and offline is essential for creating visibility and building brand loyalty among existing customers as well as attracting new ones.
In this guide, we’ll break down how to put together a winning digital marketing plan for your restaurant.
In addition, download a free restaurant digital marketing plan template to help you get started.
Why is digital marketing important for restaurants?
Restaurants rely heavily on word-of-mouth marketing to bring in new customers. However, with the advent of the internet, restaurants can now harness the power of digital marketing to reach a much wider audience.
Digital marketing can help restaurants reach new customers through online advertising, social media, and email marketing. Restaurants can also use digital marketing to improve their online presence by creating a website or blog, and by optimizing their website for search engines.
Digital marketing can also help restaurants track their progress and measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. This allows restaurants to make changes to their campaigns as needed to achieve the best results.
How do you create a digital marketing plan for your restaurant?
Here are the steps to create a digital marketing plan for your restaurant:
1. Set your marketing goals
What is your ultimate objective with your digital marketing plan? Could it be to boost reservations, draw more people to visit your website, or advertise a newly added menu item?
2. Define your target audience
To whom are you attempting to target with your advertising initiatives? Figuring this out will help you personalize both the messaging and distribution channels.
3. Conduct a competitive analysis
Look at what your competitors are doing in terms of their digital marketing efforts. This can be advantageous for your plan, as it will help you pinpoint any open opportunities in the market that you could potentially fill.
4. Build or optimize your website
Your restaurant website is a hub for all your digital marketing activities! Make sure it’s mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. Include all relevant information, such as your location, hours, menu, and contact information.
5. Implement SEO strategies
6. Identify your marketing channels
What are the best channels to reach your target audience and realize your marketing objectives? Restaurant websites, social media networks, email campaigns, or online directories could be great options.
7. Create a content calendar
Strategically plan the kinds of content you will produce and share across each marketing platform. This could include blog posts, social media updates, and email newsletters, among other forms of digital content.
8. Use email marketing
Gather customer emails and send newsletters or exclusive deals to keep them informed and actively engaged with your brand. For example, you can sign up your guests for a loyalty program using your point-of-sale software. Or use a pop-up on your website to capture customers’ emails.
9. Determine your budget
How much are you willing to invest in your marketing efforts? This will help decide which channels and tactics can be taken advantage of.
10. Implement and track your success
Put your marketing plan into action and use analytical tools (see below), to track the success of your marketing activities. This will help you understand what is performing well so that you can adjust and optimize for optimum impact.
How can you measure the success of your digital marketing plan?
One way to measure the success of your digital marketing plan is to look at how much traffic it’s generating. You can use tools like Google Analytics to see how many people are visiting your website, and where they’re coming from. If you see that your website traffic is increasing, that means your digital marketing plan is working!
Another way to measure the success of your digital marketing plan is to look at how many leads or sales it’s generating. You can use tools like Google AdWords or HubSpot to track how many leads or sales your website is generating. If you see that your number of leads or sales is increasing, that means your digital marketing plan is working!
Ultimately, the best way to measure the success of your digital marketing plan is to track your ROI (return on investment).
Calculate your ROI
Make sure to calculate your ROI (Return on Investment). To calculate the return on investment (ROI) of a marketing campaign, you can use the following formula:
ROI = (Revenue generated by the campaign – Cost of the campaign) / Cost of the campaign
For example, if a marketing campaign cost $1,000 and generated $3,000 in revenue, the ROI would be:
ROI = ($3,000 – $1,000) / $1,000 = 200%
This means that the campaign generated a 200% return on investment.
It’s important to note that ROI can be calculated for individual campaigns or an entire marketing strategy. You can also use ROI to compare the performance of different campaigns or strategies to determine which is most effective.
What are some tips for staying effective with your restaurant digital marketing plan?
Digital marketing can be an extremely effective way to reach your target audience, but it can also be time-consuming and difficult to stay on top of. Here are a few tips for staying effective with your digital marketing plan:
1. Make a schedule and stick to it
One of the best ways to stay on top of your digital marketing is to make a schedule and stick to it. This means setting aside specific times each day or week to work on your marketing tasks, and being disciplined enough to stick to that schedule. This will help you stay organized and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
2. Use tools to help you stay organized
There are a number of tools available online that can help you stay organized and productive with your digital marketing. These tools can help you keep track of your tasks, deadlines, and progress, so you can stay on track and avoid wasting time. Some helpful tools include Asana, Trello, Google Calendar, and Evernote.
3. Take advantage of resources available online
There are several resources available online that can help you improve your digital marketing skills. These resources can teach you about new strategies, how to use different tools, and how to optimize your campaigns for success. Some good resources include blogs, articles, e-books, webinars, and podcasts. We also post helpful marketing content at eHopper blogs
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck on a particular task, don’t be afraid to ask for help from others. There are plenty of people out there who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise to help you achieve success with your digital marketing plan. You can find help from other marketers, online forums, or even social media groups.
5. Integrate with your POS system
One of the most important elements for success in digital marketing is to make sure your campaigns are integrated with your point-of-sale (POS) system. Capture the customer data when they make a purchase and use it to help target your campaigns. This data can be used to create personalized messages, capture leads, and track the customer’s journey along their buying cycle. Integrating with your POS system is an essential step that should not be overlooked.
Digital marketing may seem daunting but with commitment and effort, any restaurant can achieve its goals. We hope this guide has helped provide an overview of the steps to creating a successful digital marketing plan for your restaurant. As always, we encourage all restaurateurs to keep learning and exploring new ways to engage customers through digital channels. With the right strategy in place, there’s no limit to what your restaurant can achieve.
Remember that success takes time and effort, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from other professionals when you need it. Stay open-minded and willing to experiment with new tactics, technologies, and strategies. And remember to review the results of your digital marketing plan regularly to make sure it’s meeting your goals.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun along the way! Digital marketing can be a great opportunity for restaurants to connect with their customers on a more personal level, as well as receive valuable feedback that can be used to improve products and services. All in all, creating a successful digital marketing plan is an exciting challenge – good luck!
Download FREE Restaurant Digital Marketing Plan Template
If you’re looking for additional help or resources when building out your digital marketing plan, feel free to contact us for a free marketing consultation! We will be happy to help!