Running a restaurant’s daily operations is hard enough. Finding the time to do marketing on top of all that may seem impossible. But it can be done with the help of a few tools. Now that today's consumers are more hard-wired to the internet than ever, there are some easy things you can do to automate your restaurant’s digital marketing. Here are a few to consider.
Sites all over the web want to list your business, but the information sources for your business are as diverse as the restaurants themselves. Just having your business information on your site isn’t enough, or even putting it into Google MyBusiness. Yext is a tool that synchronizes your business information with hundreds of other database sites. Through it, you can make sure that all of these sites are accurate so customers can find you.
If you had an online presence and then changed your business address, phone number, or even your hours, consider this to be your first stop. As a bonus, having your information match across all these sites will push your website rankings higher and improve your placement on services like Google MyBusiness.
2. Social Media Tools
Logging into one site to update your social media is bad enough. If you have more than one, it can suck a lot of time out of your day. It would also be good if you could just sit down for an hour on the weekend and take care of all of the posting for the upcoming week in advance, right?
Hootsuite takes care of the first problem. It pulls in all of the current information from your social media channels so you can see them all at a glance and respond to what’s happening. It also has powerful features to see who is talking about what in your niche. Need to see what your competitor is tweeting about? Hootsuite can show you.
Buffer takes care of the second. It allows you to schedule posts on many social networks far in advance. Since most restaurants only have one or two social media channels, you may be able to use the free version. In no time you can schedule all of your posts for the upcoming week, or even month.
Marketing isn’t just about advertising. It’s making sure you have the best food at all hours. This means developing good relationships with suppliers, but who has time to talk with suppliers on the phone every time something runs out?
An excellent tool to solve this problem is BlueCart. BlueCart is a wholesale procurement platform for buyers and sellers in the restaurant industry. It offers one-click ordering to all your suppliers, inventory management via your phone, a check-in system for deliveries, and multiple location support.
4. Review monitors
Social media can be challenging to keep up with, but review tracking can be even harder. There are so many places to leave reviews on a restaurant now that you can spend literally half a day browsing them all and responding to them. Yet they can’t be ignored. Fast responses to reviews are a key part of modern restaurant customer service.
Review tools like ReviewTrackers can pull in review information similarly to how HootSuite works. This lets you respond to reviews as easily as responding to a social media post. Plus, you’ll be able to see which reviews were updated and which ones are new. No more digging!
5. Email marketing
Finally, email is one of the best ways to deliver information about your restaurant and offer discounts to loyal customers. Social media can also be used to do this, but depending on your clientele email may be a more effective approach. Not everyone is on Facebook, but everyone has an email address.
An email automation tool like MailChimp is indispensable for email marketing. These tools store email lists, allow easy mass emailing, and let list members unsubscribe easily. This is important to comply with spam laws.
If you are using social media, online reviews, or email for your restaurant, or are procuring shipments by phone, you owe it to yourself to try these tools and see how much time they’ll save. This will give you more time to focus on your core business. That’s something every restaurant owner wants.
Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google.