Chef Carla Hall said it best on Tuesday at the Summer Fancy Food Show: Online marketing is a full-time job. The chef who climbed to celebrity status through “Top Chef” was at the show to discover new packaging and artisan cheeses, but picked up a few ideas from Paul Zullo, managing director of Silver Creative Group, who outlined a three-part program for online marketing at the show.
- Walk before you run. It takes time to build brand awareness and convince customers to buy so invest in your audience and take time to build relationships. Tactics should be integrated with the goals of purchase (or a visit to your restaurant), e-mail acquisition, awareness and engagement.
- Refine your SEM campaign using segmentation based on keyword searches. It’s a bidding process, and if your budget is low, you don’t have to be No. 1. Keep in mind that 80% of the people won’t go to page two of Google, but test your keywords at lower bid rates.
- To increase the number of inbound links to your website, post to directories and forums, get blogs to write about you, engage on social media and use press releases.
- Get personal about your brand with contests, offers and polls. Keep with your core values and keep people engaged on Facebook and Twitter.
- Don’t expect online banners to drive your business.
- Plug in. On your website, reinforce your brand values and personality. Set goals and measure everything.
- Social share buttons, such as ShareThis.com and AddThis.com, should be on the footer and at the product level.
- Video adds credibility, and it’s great for SEO. Create a YouTube channel to drive traffic.
- Acquire those e-mail addresses with the help from e-mail management and distribution companies such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.
- Stay in touch. Only 2% to 4% of all visitors will convert. Some remarketing efforts to consider include:
- Track visitors and display ads to them as they visit other sites, using Google or FetchBack. Personalize the ads by showing products that the visitors used. Address potential reasons the visitor didn’t convert, for example, an ingredient issue.
- Create an e-mail marketing strategy, complete with an editorial promotion calendar and auto-responders.
- Social media also creates opportunities to win new customers.
What is your restaurant doing to integrate your marketing efforts? Tell us in the comments.