When a consumer starts a Google search for something nearby, chances are they are looking for food. Modern Restaurant Management reports that “restaurants near me” is by far the most popular “near me” search, generating more than 6 million searches monthly. In fact, food searches comprise four of the top five positions in “near me” queries – with such searches as “pizza near me” and “delivery near me” appearing in the group. In the past we have used this space to talk about the benefits of local search engine optimization for restaurants – ensuring that your restaurant appears in those important “near me” searches when consumers get a craving. But you can be more proactive about attracting the interest of consumers near you too. Are you capitalizing on your local advertising opportunities to your greatest advantage? As the Rail reports, location-based advertising via search engines and social networks has become an increasingly precise means for businesses to target hungry customers who happen to be nearby. This form of advertising combines mobile advertising with location-based services, which enables a business to pinpoint a customer’s specific location and then direct advertisements toward their mobile devices. So on the afternoon before a big football game, a promotion about your chicken wing sampler could appear on smartphones of consumers shopping for game-time snacks in a supermarket nearby. Location-based advertising may help you win new customers who didn’t even know they wanted your food.
A number of recent reports are calling 2021 the year of local digital marketing for restaurants. It makes sense: Travel could still take some time to return to pre-pandemic levels and consumers will continue to rely on local businesses – and their smartphone searches – to connect with businesses they like in their neighborhood. Making sure you’re as visible as possible online to people in your area can have significant benefits: According to data from Hubspot, 97 percent of consumers searched online to find a local business and 64 percent of those searching for restaurants online followed through with a purchase within an hour. If you’re just ramping up your local digital marketing efforts, claim and optimize all local pages (via Google My Business local packs), respond to online reviews in a timely and professional way, and then optimize your ranking factors (these tips (http://bit.ly/3rosIMV) may help you improve your local search engine optimization if you need help). If you’re curious to know what restaurant brands are generating the best sales growth as a result of their local digital marketing efforts (and what they’re doing to stand out), check out this recent report from the marketing technology firm SOCi (http://bit.ly/3aGuW4w ).
In these takeout-heavy times, your menu is often viewed on a smartphone and needs to be readable and understandable on one – with minimal scrolling and waiting. To accomplish that, keep your menu in a format that is easy to navigate vertically and uses short lists or clickable boxes to differentiate categories. Use contrasting colors and standard fonts to enhance readability. Finally, help people see your food – but don’t let images of it drag down your site: Low-resolution images (around 96dpi) will have the same effect as higher-resolution images without slowing down your site.