Internet Marketing for Restaurants: What To Know

Marketing 20 minute read 19th January 2024

Internet marketing is a digital marketing strategy utilizing the Internet to boost businesses. Why should you invest in Internet marketing for restaurants?

An online presence is vital for building and managing your reputation. It especially influences people’s decisions to support your business. All in all, how you show up online counts. Internet marketing is an intelligent way to utilize the digital realm more proactively.

Whether you want it to or not, your restaurant will show up on the internet for right or wrong reasons. Therefore, you should take control of the situation and ensure you have a good online presence.

Here’s what you need to know about internet marketing for your restaurant business. We’ll cover everything from budget to a straight definition and the best internet strategies for restaurants.

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What Is Internet Marketing for Restaurants?

Internet marketing for restaurants is just digital advertising for restaurants. It uses the digital world to promote and drive bookings to your restaurant. Generally speaking, this could include using social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to market your venue. It also includes using Google Business, formerly Google My Business (GMB), and leveraging Google Maps to achieve location-based marketing.

Today, there are many internet marketing tools available to help pull traffic to your restaurant. One of these leading tools is search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO helps rank content higher in Google search results, driving higher quality and quantity of traffic. It specifically targets organic traffic, which is unpaid and driven by genuine queries, as opposed to paid traffic through ads. The idea is the higher you rank, the more genuine, high-volume, and valuable traffic you get.

For instance, if someone searches “Italian food in Surrey,” you’ll come up first if you’re an Italian restaurant near Surrey. You’ll also come up at the top of search results if you have content based on the search.

Having SEO-friendly content will ensure you rank high on search engine results. This means you’ll be on the first-page recommendation. And the result is gaining a considerable proportion of the query’s traffic.

The result position massively dictates traffic, with the first position seeing 34% of overall traffic. So, 34% of people searching for Italian food in Surrey will click on your page and engage with your content. If 100 people search that up a day, that’s 34 potential customers for your restaurant.

In the restaurant industry, this typically involves creating SEO-friendly content to share online. You don’t just have to target keywords people use to enquire about restaurants.

For example, if you run an Italian restaurant, you may publish Italian food recipes that answer commonly asked questions about Italian cuisine. Good internet marketing drives people to your website and establishes you as an authority within the industry and your niche.

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Why Invest in Internet Marketing as a Restaurant Owner

So, why should you invest in this form of marketing? The main benefit of using internet marketing is that you are targeting the search engine. 79% of consumers use Google to make dining experience decisions. This means if you dominate the most popular relevant queries related to your restaurant, you can influence their decision-making.

The more your online presence, the more consumers you can sway towards your restaurant. Of course, there’s also a huge motivation when speaking of online marketing channels like Instagram and Facebook. When running a restaurant, digital platforms play a huge role in attracting customers. Around 31% of consumers use social media to make dining decisions.

So, you can attract huge numbers of customers with a social media presence, strong ranking, and a Google presence. There are some other benefits to keep in mind, though. Check our top 2 benefits of internet marketing in the restaurant industry.

It’s Cheap to Run

Internet marketing is one of the best ways to target potential customers with a low budget. A website on WordPress costs as little as a few dollars to set up. And you can use free keyword tools to optimize articles with little to no previous knowledge quickly. If you have the time, it is one of the most budget-friendly marketing strategies you can carry out yourself.

Combines Well With Other Marketing Platforms

Investing in SEO-based internet marketing also combines amazingly with using social media platforms. You can link between Instagram, Facebook, TikTok accounts, and your website. It is worth noting that social media photos also show up on Google. And you can reuse them in articles on your website or blog.

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The 4 Best Internet Marketing Strategies

So, you now know all about internet marketing in the restaurant industry, including a definition and why you should care. It is one of the most valuable strategies for restaurants, and you’ll do well to utilize it.

In this section, we’ll get more practical. Now that we’ve established the theory and why, let’s start with how. These are the best Internet marketing strategies that you can use to boost your restaurant business. Get a pen and paper ready.

1. Search Engine Optimization

As discussed earlier, search engine optimization (SEO) is a hugely valuable strategy and one of the main pillars of Internet marketing. It works on the basis that using specific keywords will help Google to recognize your content as useful. When this happens, Google ranks your content higher in search results. You can conduct SEO on your website by choosing competitive keywords to describe your services.

Be more proactive by creating a blog section or YouTube channel to mention and address relevant queries through competitive keywords. This is an excellent way of spreading a wider net and catching bookings indirectly.

For example, you provide answers to a query (e.g., The Margherita pizza’s history) in your article or video. Then, you attach a link to your restaurant’s booking system in the conclusion or description box. It helps to use relevant keywords throughout your content so it can rank high on Google.

Ranking for SEO works in a few ways. For example, you get an individual ranking per article if you have a blog section on your website. You also get a ranking as a website overall called a Domain Authority (DA) score. The higher you rank with multiple content, the higher your overall score. It also factors in things like other websites linking to your content and the quality of your website.

SEO is a popular strategy and brilliant if you want to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. It is a clever way to drive traffic to your cuisine through direct search queries.

2. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing (SMM) is a brilliant way to utilize digital marketing. You can quickly gather a social media presence on a low budget. Posting costs nothing but time. And you can efficiently upskill yourself and learn through free online courses. If you are looking for a starting point in your internet marketing journey, simply opening social media accounts is excellent.

You can encourage customers to take photos and tag you through QR codes linking your social accounts. Or through posters. This should get the ball moving faster.

Reels are also a hot topic at the moment. So, see if you can get creative and do some trending reel themes. Social media is part of the digital realm, and it is a massive subcategory of internet marketing. Restaurants are so visual in marketing that social media is also incredibly well-suited to the industry.

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3. Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is different from SEO. The main difference is that SEO focuses on driving organic traffic, while SEM includes getting traffic from paid ads. In short, SEO uses keywords, while SEM involves paid ads. Have you got it? Great. Let’s look at this popular strategy in internet marketing, then.

So, while SEO is great for long-term traffic building, it is admittedly slow off the ground. Most businesses have a minimum of 300 articles before they gain any real traffic to their website. And it can take months for Google to crawl and decide where to rank articles.

SEM is a great shortcut if you have extra wiggle room in your marketing budget. You just pay Google to rank your articles and display ads for your website. This effectively jumpstarts your traffic without any of the back-breaking labor of writing endless articles and optimizations.

Would we recommend SEM over SEO on a long-term basis? Probably not. SEM is much better for a quick burst in traffic boosting. However, they’re excellent strategies to run alongside each other since one is effective for immediate and long-term results.

4. Conversion Rate Optimization

Another brilliant strategy to invest in is conversion rate optimization, aka CRO. This is how high you can get the rate of website visitors to people booking a table. Much of this falls to design, for instance, clear book now buttons. However, there’s tons of creativity potential for this strategy. You could run campaigns, countdown clocks with discounts when someone opens your page, or invest in better calls to action.

Investing in CRO is a must when it comes to internet marketing. It is the whole point of having a website to drive more customers. If website visitors aren’t pressing Book, you miss out on valuable business.

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How Much To Budget for Internet Marketing

As a general rule, you should budget $0-200 if you plan on internet marketing yourself. You should budget $200-2000 a year if you want to invest in software and a few hours of freelance assistance. You should budget around $25,000 or higher to be a full-time Internet marketer for your restaurant.

When specifically talking about online marketing for restaurants, you can do a lot for free. Things like social media platforms are free. You can collect free online reviews using Google My Business (now Google Business). Avoid negative reviews to reinforce your professionalism and branding.

You can then invest in a website for a few dollars (to cover a domain cost).

All of this is quite time-consuming but pays off highly with excellent results. Restaurant digital marketing is brilliant for rocketing your growth, no matter your business size.

You can also invest in extras, like software. This software could be anything from photo editing tools to sponsored ads on Instagram and Facebook. Or you can use more formal digital marketing tools or a few hours of freelance work a week. Budget-wise, this is the middle ground, and you should set aside between $200 and $2000 a year for this. Expect to pay a full-time internet marketer a minimum of around $25,000 yearly.

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When Should You Invest in Internet Marketing?

When is the best time to take the plunge? We’d argue immediately. The number one goal when setting up your restaurant is to build brand awareness and a positive reputation. The best way to achieve this quickly is through internet marketing.

You can use online reviews to make your restaurant more trustworthy and appealing to potential customers. Similarly, you can also use Google Business (formerly Google My Business) to get people over your threshold. And finally, through internet marketing, you target 79% of consumers using Google to decide where to dine.

All of these Internet marketing benefits are useful from the get-go. You can rely on a brilliant internet marketing campaign when you open your restaurant’s doors. This way, you’ll have the best chance of attracting as many of the right customers as possible. The first few months of running a restaurant are vital, so put yourself at an advantage. It is low cost, too, so it is a total win-win.

So, why consider Beambox amongst all of this? At Beambox, we run an all-in-one WiFi marketing platform that uses captive portals to boost businesses. Two main things to consider with internet marketing are reviews and social media engagement. Using a captive portal, you can require social media interaction or a review in exchange for WiFi access.

It allows you to ask the customer for a favor in exchange for WiFi access. This makes it a valuable marketing tool. Start your Beambox free trial now, and take a proactive step in your journey towards seamless internet marketing for restaurants.

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