I was speaking with a restaurant the other day and in reviewing their site and some of their competitors, it really dawned on me that too many restaurants just don’t know how their website contributes to their online marketing. Really this applies to any bricks and mortar business; however, restaurants seem to have mastered a noticeable share of brochure style sites.
So what’s a “brochure style” site? When your website represents in this case, “your menu” (or any other sales literature for your business) you’ve really taken “brochure style” to a whole new level. Essentially a brochure site is a website that you could hand to someone printed on paper, and they would get all you were trying to communicate – a brochure.
I’m not sure my definition is strong enough, but literally “you” the business, and “me” the customer have no engagement what so ever. I have no reason to return to your site after I’ve captured the information I came looking for, and frankly, the experience over-all created no emotional connection. In online marketing, emotional connection is huge.
So as a restaurant (or any local business) you might say what does it matter – my food is great, my customers come back, and you might very well be right. However, ignoring that the competition in the restaurant field is, to say the least highly competitive and vying for the same eating public as all restaurants are, there are significant web marketing strategies that could immediately improve your online marketing and in turn customer loyalty, and new customer acquisition. Here are a couple:
- Having your website control a rewards program, forcing traffic back to your site regularly (so your always top of your customers’ mind – especially when they’re hungry) that could lead to increased repeat visits per month. So now I like your food, and I’m coming back more often- immediate win.
- Polling random clients to contribute expensive and invaluable intel (for free) on their experience to your business could help in prioritizing changes and improvements. Betterment of your establishment improves client retention. Cha-ching! Best of all your showing your clients that their opinion matters.
- Embracing social media check-ins (such as FourSquare) is like a free referral system. This is easy to track and reward. Imagine rewarding a “check-in” customer while their eating. How would you feel – wow! Videotape the presentation of why they just got a free meal and post that on YouTube. Take the YouTube video and embed it into this month “Champs Page” on your site. So much is going on in this idea like viral hype, video engagement, expanded audience through a personal medium (video) that the brain is starting to fire on undiscovered cylinders.
OK calming down, there are so many reasons why a “brochure website” is passe, but even more reasons to start thinking outside of the box.
Are any restaurants out there experiencing success from the web?