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Resources 7 min read

In-Depth Digital Marketing Guide: Food and Beverage Industry

Natalie Yelton photo

Written by Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 06 Apr 2021

Arguably one of the hardest-hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic is the restaurant and food service sector. 

Many eateries acted quickly on their feet, pivoting to online orders complete with pantry staples to make it easier for people to get essential supplies and food while staying at home. Creative outdoor dining options popped up, allowing people to dine out safely in many cities across the US.

It comes as no surprise, though, that more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments had to close their doors last year, with the number of people that can gather indoors still limited in a continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you’re a restaurant or food service company owner serving your community in 2021, we thank you for your hard work in keeping us fed! Galactic Fed knows it’s no easy feat to stay afloat in these unprecedented times. 

That’s why we’ve pulled together a step-by-step digital marketing guide for food and restaurant businesses, with the continuing pandemic in mind, to help boost your company’s visibility and foster brand loyalty online. 

From optimizing your website and mastering local restaurant SEO to getting a handle on online reviews, here is our five-step guide to restaurant digital marketing:

A five-step guide to restaurant digital marketing 

Make your website shine 

We know keeping your website up to date can quickly slide down the priority list, especially when you are trying to keep your customers, staff, and the wider community safe with enhanced cleaning and distancing measures while shifting to new service and product offerings. At the very least, find some time to give your website a much-needed spring clean.

A handful of relatively minor website health checks can go a long way, though, ensuring your website is user-friendly and accessible to the most amount of people possible:

  • A big and bold call to action, especially in the format of a button, can help your customers do what they can to your site to do as quickly as possible. Think ‘order online,’ ‘book a table,’ and ‘opening hours’ buttons that appear on your home page. 
  • Ensure your menus are accessible. This one is vital. Make sure to use straightforward and clear language, high-contrasting colors, simple fonts, and keep all caps to a minimum. With nearly 20% of the population experiencing dyslexia, all capitalized letters are harder to read.
  • Keep it phone-friendly. Your website should be just as easy to navigate on a phone as it is on a desktop computer. Most people are researching restaurants from their phones and expect to complete essential tasks like ordering and booking a table from the palm of their hand.

Embrace social 

We get that managing multiple social media accounts can seem daunting for a small food service business. Still, there are a few actions you can take to reach new customers in your community, keep your favorite customers coming back, and maybe even let some of your customers do your digital marketing for you!

  • Get the most out of paid ads. Facebook and Instagram ads can be highly effective and flexible if done right. If you’ve tried paid ads before and didn’t have the results you expected, here are five ways you might be losing money on Facebook Ads.
  • Customer-generated content can create a whole collection of images to share that are realistic (because they are!) and get mouths watering. Just ask your customers to take photos of their food and beverages with a suggested hashtag to use alongside the pictures they post.
  • Staff spotlights can do wonders for building customer loyalty and communicating your brand. Profile your hard-working staff to new and repeat customers to engage and foster connection with them.

Double-down on local SEO

Local restaurant SEO is particularly crucial for brick and mortar eateries. SEO for restaurants, when done well, can help you reach new customers online, drive more traffic to your website than ever before, and ultimately get more of your restaurant’s tables filled every day. 

Suppose you’re a taco joint in San Fransisco, then you’ll want to come out top on Google’s search engine results page when someone searches for “tacos San Fransisco.”

There are a few actions you can take to boost your local SEO and make your restaurant as visible as possible to people in your community and visitors alike:

  • Check your on-page SEO. Audit your metadata and make sure you are using location-specific keywords in your website content and meta descriptions. Using our taco joint as an example, think “San Francisco,” “Bay Area,” and “California.” 
  • Build links, both internal and external, to boost your domain authority and rank higher on Google’s search engine results page.
  • Get a Google My Business Account. If you’re entirely new to Google My Business, check out our guide to setting up and efficiently managing an account.

Don’t ignore reviews 

With 87% of customers reading online reviews for local businesses in 2020, up from 81% in 2019, it’s imperative you have online reviews for your restaurant, that they are positive, and that when they aren’t so positive, you’ve responded. Make it crystal clear what steps you take to rectify the situation.  

Drive and manage reviews by:

  • Asking customers to share their experience. Your servers can promote, or a scannable QR code to your Google profile can make this as easy as possible for your customers.
  • Responding on time. Facing bad reviews publicly online in a prompt manner shows potential customers you care about delivering exceptional service. And don’t forget to respond to the great reviews, too, thanking them for their support!

Set benchmarks and monitor performance 

Finally, and most importantly, for your restaurant’s digital marketing strategy to be successful, it’s essential to set benchmarks and monitor your performance against them. 

This will largely depend on your product or service offering. Some standard metrics to use and analyze are:

  • Reach
  • Impressions
  • Link Clicks
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) 
  • Avg. Cost-Per-Click (link clicks)
  • Frequency
  • In-store Purchases 
  • In-store Purchases Conversion Value 

Food marketing that gets results 

We hope our five-step guide will help you get a handle on restaurant digital marketing to promote your food service business or local eatery. Giving your website a bit of attention can make your restaurant more visible to potential customers online, as will embracing social media.

Get a handle on local SEO to reach more customers online and devote some time to promoting and managing restaurant reviews. 

Don’t forget to measure your efforts to ensure a decent ROI for paid ads you place and the time you allocate to restaurant digital marketing. 

Galactic Fed recently created a custom Facebook Ads campaign seen by over 2 million people in 3 weeks for a company specializing in delivering fresh fruit arrangements as part of their food marketing strategy. If you want a helping hand with your restaurant’s digital marketing strategy, contact us today!

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed