Local restaurants face unique challenges finding customers online. They understand that it’s important to have a website – but a website isn’t enough. It’s also not their main source of income or even their main source of new customers. It’s more a service they provide – a place where folks in their community can find information about their restaurant: hours of operation, contact information, menus and the like. On the other hand, they also recognize that their website can be a great source of new customers – if they could just figure out how to put their information in front of the right people. Not sure how to go about using the Internet to get customers into your local restaurant? From local business directories to local SEOs, these tips will help you put your business on the local map online.
Get a Website
If you don’t have one already, you need one. Your Facebook page and Twitter account and G+ page are all well and good, but you only have so much control over those places. They should all serve as funnels to send business to you and to your website. If they all disappeared tomorrow, your website would still exist and you’d still have complete control over what appears there.
Engage in Social Media
Think of social media as today’s equivalent of networking. By setting up accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+, you’re creating channels you can use to reach customers and interact with them. They allow you to post specials, celebrate achievements, feature special moments and field questions or complaints from customers. They’re also invaluable for catching problems and dealing with them quickly.
Use Local SEO Tactics
Today’s browsers use geo targeting to deliver relevant content to local readers. Most search engines use it to some extent. It’s the reason that you can type “pizza” into the search box on major search engines and get pages of local pizza places. If you want to show up when local folks search for your specialties, you need to make sure your web pages list your location and lots of local markers.
Get Listed in Local Business Directories
Local folks are turning more and more to social business directories like FindUsLocal.com when they’re looking for local results. Find Us Local uses geo targeting technology to create customized local pages for visitors, a one-stop website where they can find local news, concerts and events at local venues, and listings for local businesses, professionals and eating places like yours. When you claim your profile at a local business directory, you can control how it looks and what it tells visitors. For just a few dollars, a premium listing gives your restaurant even more visibility with the people that matter most – families and individuals that live right in your corner of the world.
Bonus: FindUsLocal.com provides a very valuable resource for registered business owners: a central social media dashboard that lets you post to all your social media accounts from one place. The social media dashboard is huge – it saves you time and effort and lets you coordinate your local social media messaging. You can pay hundreds of dollars a month to get access to one of these and FindUsLocal.com provides it with their free account.
Encourage and Monitor Reviews
Make it easy for your customers to review your restaurant on the social media review sites and encourage them to leave great reviews for you on your local business listings. Good reviews will push your restaurant listing higher on the search results and bring even more customers to your door.