You know your restaurant needs digital marketing, but there are so many elements – where are you supposed to begin?
Whether your restaurant is established or brand new, local search is the starting point to digital marketing and is the foundation you need to lay before introducing other strategies.
In this blog, I’m going to answer some of our common client questions when it comes to local search marketing for restaurants.
What Does Local Search Mean and How Does That Help My Restaurant?
In a nutshell, local search is the way that your business gets found online and seen by customers in your local area.
Why Does My Restaurant Need Local Search?
There are no roads to drive past restaurants on the internet, so the way to gain visibility and attention is to be found in consumer searches!
Local search helps your restaurant get found and chosen by the customers in a nearby proximity. It aims to reach the clientele who is most inclined and willing to become a customer.
If your restaurant is not building a local foundation, chances are, your competitors already are.
It’s important to begin this process as soon as your restaurant has a phone number. Once you get a business phone line, you can start creating listings to showcase your restaurant to people in your area.
How Do I Start Getting Found Locally?
As with all good things, the process of getting found takes time. Listings and directories take time to build trust in your business.
The process of local search starts at the restaurant location and over time, extends its reach into further areas. The longer you can maintain your online reputation with accurate and up-to-date information, the better the local search process will work.
One of the most important foundational pieces is creating a Google My Business listing.
Most consumers searching online rely on Google Search and Google Maps to find businesses nearest to them. They might do a search like “Restaurants Near Me” and can even get more narrow such as “Best Ethiopian Restaurant in San Diego.”
It’s important to start your local foundation with a Google My Business listing to be sure that your restaurant can show up in these searches.
Can’t I Rely on Social Media for Exposure?
The short answer is no. Social media is great to update existing customers about your daily specials, tell them about the upcoming promotions, and showcase photos of your top-notch food.
While you can grow the number of likes on your page, it doesn’t get your restaurant found in consumer searches.
Social media is a great extension to a local foundation but isn’t recommended to be the only form of online presence for your restaurant or shop.
But, if you want some marketing tips for your Instagram strategy, check out our blog.
How Else Can I Build My Customer Base?
Having a well-managed Google listing is the most important piece to the puzzle.
Be sure that the information on the listing is updated on a regular basis to give new and existing customers the information that they need when visiting your business. Read our blog to learn what happens when you stop your local search efforts.
A Google listing not only gives consumers what they need, but it also helps expand on your local presence to reach even more customers!
Reviews serve two main purposes: consumer purposes and back-end purposes. A restaurant showing a 4.7-star rating is sure to gain more reputability with customers comparing it to a 2.7-star rating.
Reviews give customers a great first impression of your brand and are often a deciding factor when making a decision on where to dine.
Reviews also build a reputation for your business and can help gain trust in your listing. This can only assist in building your local foundation and increasing your reach within the community and beyond.
Lastly, you can claim ownership of several listings to be sure that you have more control over the information that exists on the internet relating to your business.
You’ll want to claim listings such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Bing to monitor the business information like the restaurant address, hours and website.
Consistency is a great way to ensure a smooth online presence and extend the reach of local search.
While there are a lot of layers when it comes to digital marketing, and specifically local search, it’s essential for your restaurant to dive into the digital landscape head-on.
When hungry consumers search online for a restaurant, you want yours to appear when they’re searching. If your online presence isn’t optimized for local searches, your competitors are likely to get more business than you.
We know that running your restaurant AND staying on top of your digital marketing is tiresome, so let us take the digital aspect off your plate.
To learn more about our local search marketing services, click here, or request a free consultation from one of our local marketing experts here.
If you aren't quite ready to dip your toes in the water, check out some of our other restaurant-related marketing resources: