In a world where new restaurants concepts are popping up on every block and competition is at an all-time high, restaurateurs need to do everything they can to gain loyal customers. While many restaurant marketing strategies have been around for years, leveraging digital marketing is one of the newer and more powerful ways to boost profits in your restaurant.
Considering that 90% of diners research a restaurant online (more than any other type of business) before deciding where to eat, getting found is important, but it’s only half the battle. What type of information are potential guests finding when they search for your restaurant? Are you showing up in all the right locations?
A marketing grader can help answer these questions, and Upserve has created a restaurant-specific marketing grader geared toward the unique needs of the restaurant industry. They found that restaurants who scored above 95 overall pull in 2x more annual revenue than the average restaurant, so they also provide actionable tips for improving your score.
First, let’s talk about what goes into your restaurant marketing grade.
Why Use a Restaurant Marketing Grader?
A marketing grader is a tool that helps you evaluate your marketing efforts, comparing your marketing against competitors and providing specific opportunities for improvement. Upserve’s proprietary algorithm analyzes everything from your website to social media accounts to online reviews.
Your restaurant’s marketing grade is based on a few key points – data consistency, reviews, social media, and visibility. Upserve scoured publicly available data from restaurants around the United States and analyzed every aspect of their restaurant marketing including reviews, social media “likes” and check-ins, and how consistent the information on their key social accounts are across the three platforms. (Check out the breakdown below for more details.)
As we said above, digital marketing is more important than ever, with over 90% of diners looking to their smartphones for recommendations. Once they open their browser window, your marketing efforts will determine how and if they find you and, most importantly, if they decide to choose your restaurant amongst the other options in front of them.
So why is the restaurant marketing grader geared specifically towards reviews, social media, and restaurant websites?
- 27% of diners say that a restaurant’s website is the most important place to look.
- 68% of millenials trust online reviews, compared to 34% who trust TV ads.
- 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
- 33% would never eat in a restaurant with less than four stars.
How to Use the Restaurant Marketing Grader
To find out your restaurant’s marketing score, all you have to do is type the name of your business into the grader. Once you hit submit, you’ll see your overall marketing score, plus the individual scores for each of the four main areas of data.
Data Consistency: 15% of Overall Score
This score is determined by whether you have the same phone number, restaurant name, and address on all three of the platforms listed above, and if your website URL is the same on both Facebook and Google.
The restaurant grader shows you exactly where you’re losing points, so you can edit your profile information and give an immediate boost to your score. Consistent data ensures guests that they have the most current and up-to-date information.
Reviews: 35% of Overall Score
This includes your average star rating (out of five) determined from reviews across all three platforms, as well as your total number of reviews.
Here you’ll see how you rank on average star rating as well as total review count. To raise either of these scores, offer an incentive for guests to leave reviews, like a free drink or a discount.
This can be tricky because you want to increase both the number and quality of your reviews. Train your servers to offer these incentives to guests they can be sure are satisfied enough to leave at least a four- or five-star review.
It’s also important to respond to guest reviews, good or bad (especially the bad!) A potential guest may be more willing to overlook a negative review if they see that you reached out to the reviewer to try and rectify the situation.
Social Media: 25% of Overall Score
A restaurant’s social media score is based on the number of Facebook likes (people who follow your page) and the number of check-ins on your page.
If your social score is lacking on followers, try boosting your score by running a contest. Encourage your current followers to share your page or tag a friend to enter, with a random winner receiving a prize like a gift card, discount, or a comped item.
Need more check-ins to raise your grade? Put display table tents offering a free drink, dessert, or app to those who check-in to your location. All they have to do is click a few times in Facebook and show their server to redeem.
Visibility: 25% of Overall Score
Ensuring that your business is active on all three of the top social platforms and that your website is listed on both Google and Facebook will earn you top marks in this category. Like your Reviews score, a low visibility score is fairly easy to improve.
First, if you don’t currently have an account for one of the three main sites used in the marketing grader, go ahead and create them. Second, once your accounts are all set up, double-check that our website is linked on both your Google and Facebook pages.
When a guest finds you on these accounts, they may also want additional information that isn’t available there. Sending them to your website can help make sure they don’t drop off in search of another option.
5 More Tips for Improving Your Restaurant Marketing Strategy
While the restaurant marketing grader gives you an overall look into the strength of your digital marketing strategy, there is much more that goes into crafting a strong online presence.
Investing serious time in developing a great restaurant marketing plan is highly recommended. To help you get started, here are a few tips and tricks to make sure your restaurant digital marketing is on point.
- Engage. When it comes to posting on social media, don’t just “set it and forget it.” Interact with guests by replying to comments and creating a dialogue with them. Plus, social media sites have algorithms to put posts with the highest engagement on top result pages. Win-win.
- Make it Mobile. When researching restaurants, most consumers are performing a quick Google search on their phones, so make sure your site is compatible.
- Take Photos of Your Food. A picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of telling people how delicious your food is… show them! Make sure your social media accounts show off your most photogenic meals.
- Stay Updated. A restaurant’s menu, decor, hours, and events are constantly changing, so make sure your customers know about it. Update your customers about any changes you make to your restaurant to help avoid confusion or disappointment.
- Develop an Email Marketing Strategy. Despite what some say, email isn’t dead! Sending deals, discounts, menu updates, and event notices to customers inboxes will keep your brand at the top of your customers’ minds.
Measuring Your Marketing Grade and Digital Strategy Efforts
You’ve received your score and made changes and updates to your online profiles – now how do you know if it’s working?
- Increased Revenue. When comparing the sample subjects’ scores to their revenues, Upserve found that restaurants who scored above 95 overall pull in 2x more annual revenue than the average restaurant (average being a score of 77). Restaurants who scored above 90 have 30% higher revenue on average.
- Ranking Higher on Search Engines. By improving your online presence and increasing interactions with your accounts, you show search algorithms that you’re a more relevant result when some searches restaurants in your area, so they list you higher up on the page.
- More New Guests. By improving your rank, your restaurant will be found by more people. Leverage the data from your POS system to see if your increased efforts have led to an increase in new customers who have just found your restaurant for the first time.
- Increased Score. There’s no limit to the number of times you can check your score in the Restaurant Marketing Grader. After you make changes, wait a couple of weeks and check your score again to see where you’ve improved and what still needs work.
Just like testing a new recipe or drink special, there will always be a part of marketing that is trial-and-error. Determining your restaurant’s digital marketing grade gives you a solid jumping-off point to increase your presence and ensure your marketing strategies are based on proven data points rather than assumptions or guesses.