Make Local Strategy - Restaurant Marketing

It’s been a fast and furious year for the restaurant industry. With competition biting at your margins and people exploring new, tech-enabled delivery options, restaurant marketing is more critical than ever.

The way customers are finding and experiencing restaurants is changing rapidly. Moreover, voice assistants have enabled people to make more informative dining decisions on the go. For example, 46%of smartphone users now order restaurant takeout at least once a month from their device. And clearly, urgency is a major factor in their restaurant search behaviors. In fact, people who use their mobile devices to search for food convert at nearly 90%.

Search intent for restaurants is significantly higher than in most industries. For example, you can put off a clothing or car purchase, but hunger demands an immediate solution. As a result, over two-thirds of restaurant searchers convert within the hour. In the heat of their decision-making moments, word of mouth has become louder and more important than ever, as searchers turn online to local business reviews to help make their immediate decisions. They then want to click-to-call or click for directions, to be delivered straight to their restaurant of choice.

Will it be your restaurant?

Restaurant marketers have been forced to rewrite the rule book and double down on addressing the needs of in-the-moment consumers. In this post, you’ll learn the five main ingredients for a discoverable, compelling and business-winning local presence for all of your restaurant locations.

1. Wet the Appetite with a Discoverable Local Presence for All of Your Restaurant Locations, Corporate or Franchise

Search engine listings and digital directories help local businesses like restaurants win in-store visits in two ways. First, they provide visibility across the local ecosystem, anywhere and everywhere your customers are searching. Second, the more places your citations appear on the Web, the more credibility they’re given by the search engines, ultimately improving your search engine visibility and rankings.

Google and Bing each have their own listing network you can claim, but don’t just take ownership. Fill out profiles in their entirety. Include pictures, links to menus, and social account information. Each of these listings for each location has to be wholly accurate in order to be effective. This means making sure addresses, business categories, and descriptions are consistent across directories and local websites. You can’t afford to jeopardize your business with bad customer experiences or poor visibility resulting from bad data.

Focus on getting the most up-to-date and complete information into the largest directories, then watch to make sure any changes are reflected in subsequent directories. Some of the bigger business listing platforms include YellowBook, Yelp, Zomato and CitySearch. Of course, automating all of this monitoring and updating ensures complete accuracy and takes the legwork out of your optimized local presence. Learn more about Local Listings Management here.

2. Local Pages are the Perfect Appetizer in Restaurant Marketing

From these compelling search and directory listings, you’ll drive hungry searchers to your local landing pages. These hyperlocal pages deliver the critical information and experience that converts online visitors to in-store, takeout or delivery diners, but also feeds great content back into your local search strategy. This is because on-page SEO accounts for almost 20% of the factors that influence local search rankings.

First, create separate, unique webpages for each of your locations. Include your business name, address, and phone number information; hours of operation; and other location-specific content such as menus. You can add detailed schema attributes about menu item names, descriptions, prices and nutritional information to make your content even more specific and appealing to certain customers. For example, there’s a “SuitableForDiet” schema property that allows you to add structured data for low calorie, low salt, vegan, gluten-free, or other restricted diets.  

Wouldn’t it be easier to include multiple locations on a single page, or include all location information inside part of a third-party platform? Maybe, but if your content for all locations is housed within a single page or iFrame, search engine spiders don’t see the local value and may not index your pages properly. It creates confusion, which reduces rankings and visibility to local searchers.

The best place for location information is on a dedicated local landing page. This is where your customers can find everything they need to make the decision to order. Also search engines can see how valuable it is in answering queries for restaurants in a specific location. With Rio’s Local Landing Pages, you get all of the extras that help convert searchers to customers, including integrated online reviews, social integration, dynamic headers & footers and more.

Pin - Restaurant Marketing

3. Local Manager: Put Some Meat on Your Bones  

Competition is fierce; there are over a million U.S. restaurants all vying for their share of the $799 billion spent annually and beyond clothing, restaurants are the most searched business type.

With Local Manager, your local franchisees or managers are empowered to give searchers a better local experience, while you still maintain control of your brand. At the store level, they can upload local coupons and offers, update restaurant hours for the holidays, promote in-store events and specials, share local photos and more. Defined user roles and access levels mean your people on the ground in each store are able to input data that keeps local listings current and 100% accurate, while corporate has final say on publishing approval.

You’ll have access to location-specific reports within a single dashboard. Further, Local Manager is simple and intuitive, requiring no in-the-field training for your managers or franchisees. Learn more here.

4. Local Reporting Sates Your Appetite for Hearty Data

Local Reporting gives you a bird’s-eye view across all locations. But it also gives you the granular local performance data that gives you complete insight into customer interactions in local markets. See how each of your restaurants are doing as far as citation accuracy, rankings and reviews, website traffic, local map pack performance and more.

In fact, you can dig right in to see specific opportunities for growth at the location level. Rio’s Local Reporting goes beyond traffic stats. It gives you important metrics like quantity and quality of reviews and ratings, link activity analytics, click-to-call tracking and more.

Monitor the search rankings of each of your locations, targeted keywords, and competitors. Local Reporting gives you the complete dataset needed to make better business decisions across your restaurant brand. See how it works here.

5. Sweeten the Customer Experience with Local Social

You used to be able to count on your customer telling 7 friends about their experience. The Internet has amplified word-of-mouth exponentially to the point one review might be read by thousands or even tens of thousands of prospective customers. Most guests (78%) still find restaurants to try based on recommendations from their friends, but the second most popular way today is through social media.

What do your individual restaurant review profiles say about each location?

Tracking and engaging across the brand is a monumental task, but it’s worth mastering. Leaving social management up to local managers and franchisees creates inconsistency and missed opportunities across the board. Rio’s Local Social monitors your Yelp, Bing, Google and Facebook reviews daily and sends customized email alerts, with access to a centralized dashboard, ensuring active social management across all of your locations.

Publish new social content from a centralized location, where you can also monitor the competition and track social mentions on Facebook and Twitter in near-real time. With Local Social, you never miss an opportunity to engage. See more of its features and capabilities here.

Bringing It All Together for Delicious Local Experiences

If you’re thinking, “Wow, this sounds like a lot to manage,” you’re not alone. More than 60% of companies lack the infrastructure to collect data or the analysts to make sense of it. Your data and marketing challenges are greater than ever, but with Rio SEO’s Open Local platform, you’re never alone; Local Services are part of the package.

Sustainable local search marketing results are driven by both superior technology and the expert-driven service that powers it. Our comprehensive software solution was born out of our experience as a digital marketing agency. Moreover, our experts in analytics, SEO content, paid media, listings and data serve as an extension of your restaurant marketing brand’s team. This gives you the competitive edge, from search to sale.

Is your local restaurant marketing serving results? Get your free local search audit today.

Author Bio:

Karisa Macias has extensive expertise in local search, digital marketing, and technology.