Online marketing can be challenging for the restaurant industry. Less than 50 percent of independent restaurants have a website. And for those who do have one, the website alone isn’t enough to promote your venue. 51 percent of adults use the Internet to find local restaurants, and specifically use search engines, specialty websites, and social media.
So, what do you need to do to catch the attention of event planners during their online searches? Follow these five digital marketing tips to get the word out and show that your venue is perfect for their next event.
Search Engine Optimization
Before you even think about doing anything else, you need to make sure all of your online properties are optimized for search. Create a list of keywords that event planners may use when searching for a venue like yours. Think of words that describe your venue: your location and neighborhood, the types of events you host, your menu, your amenities, and your building’s style. Try the Moz Keyword Explorer tool to tweak your list.
Once you have a list of keywords, make sure they are included in your webpage copy, webpage titles, URLs, blog posts, and image titles, but don’t overdo it. Too many keywords could cause Google to penalize your page for “keyword stuffing.”
Ask for Testimonials
Adding testimonials is another great way to get the word out. Ask customers to review you on Facebook or Yelp. Include the text of the reviews on your website and link back to the original review. Testimonials will add to your keywords and contribute to social proof of your venue being the best. 78 percent of Americans read reviews before making a purchase decision. And 87 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust friends and family.
Sign Up for Google My Business
Make your venue stand out in an online search by signing up for a Google My Business account. Google features these businesses on the right side of an online search, and creates a profile for them, which includes photos, a description of your business, a map, address, contact information, business hours, a link to the business website, reviews, and more. This will make your business stand out from the text search results, and gives potential clients a quick overview that will help them make a decision.
Get Listed on Specialty Websites
Sometimes event planners may skip search engines and use a specialty website to narrow down their search. Tripleseat’s Venue Finder and TripAdvisor are good resources for events, destinations, parties, and corporate gatherings. Get listed on sites like The Knot if your venue hosts weddings. Event planners also use Yelp to discover venues and food options.
Create Social Media Accounts
If you haven’t already, make sure your venue is listed on social media. There’s a good chance an event planner may take a look at your social media profiles to see what’s been happening at your venue lately. Your business should absolutely have a Facebook account – 60 million businesses use Facebook pages as part of their marketing plan. It’s the largest social media network and your prospective clients are using it to find more information on venues.
Consider adding Instagram and Pinterest to your online presence. Instagram can help show off your venue visually – share photos and videos of your event spaces, the different types of events you hold, special menu items, and a behind-the-scenes look at how you put events together. You can post a lot of those same images to Pinterest and link them to the original social media post or to a relevant link on your venue’s website. Pinterest is a pretty common tool used to bookmark vendors and ideas for events, so make sure your business is visible there.
Be Consistent and Be Present
Creating a consistent online presence across the places event planners search for venues online will help get the word out about your restaurant or venue to prospective clients. Choose your keywords for search engine optimization. Then add testimonials, and build your profile on Google, specialty websites, and social media. Over time, your digital marketing efforts will make you a recognized name among event planners and help to grow your business.