PART I of IV
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Are you doing all you can to drive potential customers to your website and create more business? There are many free websites that generate hundreds of millions of unique visitors per month you have access to right now — for free. The traffic these sites can deliver dwarfs that of expensive reservation only portals. Read on to make sure you are maximizing your restaurant’s business while keeping full control of your brand.
First, let’s take a look at some numbers for sites that can send you business while strengthening your restaurant’s brand at no cost:
- Google your restaurant name and see what comes up. You should come up first. If a customer is looking for your restaurant, it is your right to have the number one spot on Google. Your customer is looking for you – not any other third party company. If you are in the first spot, then you have great start when it comes to controlling your brand.
- Now Google a competitor’s name. Do they show up in the first spot? If not, does another company show up first? If so, somebody’s taking control of that restaurant’s customers, diverting them away from their business, and quite possibly taking credit for the business while charging for the privilege.
- Use the Google keyword planner to see how many people are searching each month for your restaurant, your concept, dining options in your area and dining occasions that you appeal to. You may be surprised just how much business is already at your door, and looking for what you have to offer.
- From their site: “More than 260 million travelers visit TripAdvisor each month, making us the world’s largest travel website.”
- That’s a lot of traffic. Get listed here and post a link to your website (more on this later…).
- According to their fact sheet, between Yelp’s mobile app, mobile web and desktop users, Q2 of 2016 had a monthly average of 165 million unique users. They may not always be the Restaurant Industry’s flavor of the month, but the traffic strength is undeniable.
- In spite of what they may attempt to sell you, your listing here is currently free. Make sure your listing is up to date and that your website link directs users to your reservations page or another page on your website where you offer a strong call to action. Don’t dead end your potential customers – give them something to do that builds your business: subscribe to a newsletter, join a rewards club, make a reservation, inquire about private dining – every page of your website should inspire action.
Yellow Pages & Yahoo Local and Other General Listing Sites
- From compete.com Yahoo Local and Yellow Pages: 53,875,000 and 543,000, respectively.
- Granted, these are not strictly “restaurant” focused sites, but with millions of users passing through each day, take advantage of an opportunity to get found and increase your website’s search engine ranking by creating links that point to your restaurant reservation page or call to action page. Inbound links are a good thing.
- Now let’s add this all together with more sites that offer free listings to look at what the world’s “Internet” pie looks like:
- In addition to the “Big 3” listed above, these additional sites, cumulatively speaking, amount to more free inbound links to your own website, improved SEO rankings for your own website, as well as a huge potential opportunity to direct some of that traffic your way and get customers in the door.
- So we’ve got some huge numbers from sites that may or may not relate directly to restaurants. The thing to know here is that this is a very large pie and that there is a slice of it available for you, your competitor, or another company that could take that slice and sell it back to you without your knowledge. Why leave it out there for others to grab?
Technology can work in your favor
The numbers are astonishing. What’s available now, to you, is access to these numbers. Technology has made it possible to compete with the “gatekeepers” above and remove the “crutch” of dependency upon such services. Facebook alone represents incomparable reach that is geographically targeted towards potential customers that are a match for your brand. This opportunity to promote a restaurant speaks for itself:
- Take Away #1 here is to ask yourself: what is my restaurant’s share of the 3rd Party traffic that would have never been attained without it?
- Take Away #2 here is to ask yourself: can that traffic be replaced or improved upon by tapping into the above potential traffic with two requirements:
- Customer acquisition costs are reduced (more on this later)
- Time to manage this process does not negate the customer acquisition costs
Taking control of your Brand
What you should begin to see is that there is some real traffic out there that is available to those that know how to tap into it. If you are paying for your reservations, there’s no need to rely on another third party that will re-direct all of this traffic away from your website, and charge you for it while saying they brought you the business.
If you have all these listings up to date with links pointing to your website, how do things look when your customers arrive? Is your website a strong reflection of the experience you offer when the walk in the door? Are your menus and contact information easy to find? Most importantly, what kind of action are you asking your guest to take? If you are not asking them to take action on each and every page, you are not asking for their business. You may not be in control.
- Use this week to check up on the sites listed here or empower someone on your team to do so. Make sure the your restaurant/business listings are up to date and that the URL links are directing potential traffic to your website’s reservation page – not any other third parties.
- If you don’t already have a resource to ensure your restaurant is properly listed and up to date, we’re here to help! We can perform a quick analysis of your listings.
For a free local market analysis report of your restaurant, call 512-354-1100.
Moving forward, we’re going to bring peel some curtains back as we compare this opportunity to potential costly options. We’re going to ensure you have full control of your online brand, and that your profits stay in your pocket.
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