Websites are vital to connect with consumers, but to get attention they need to be thoughtfully put together.
Restaurants are slowly opening their doors to diners as lockdown measures are gradually being lifted. However, a recent survey conducted by 1Q and QSR magazine showed that a majority of customers remain wary of dining in, with 46.6% opting for drive thru and curbside pickup and only 26.2% saying they were willing to eat in. Compounding this are the many restrictions placed on operations. Thus, the truth is that restaurants will not be running at full capacity any time soon, with takeaways and deliveries remaining an important revenue earner. In this context, a prominent digital presence becomes more important than ever.
Websites are a restaurant’s online personality. It is a centralized place for customers to check out menus, learn about promotions and offers, and make reservations. Even amidst the multiple other digital options available websites remain the primary point of contact for a customer. In order to ensure conversions your website needs to be attractive and engaging. So here are ten easy-to-follow tips on how to enhance your website and so entice customers.
- Speak to Your customers
Picture your customer reading your website and ensure you are directly addressing them. For this you need to first know who your clients are and so you must have a buyer persona, which is a research-based profile of your ideal customer. Once you have built this picture you can keep your copy and content targeted and specific.
- Keep it user-friendly
A cluttered or complex website is off-putting and will push potential customers away. Have all the important information easily accessible, especially your menu and details of promotions and offers. Tabs should be clearly titled, simplifying navigation for a user. As people are generally averse to lengthy chunks of writing, keep the copy short and snappy.
- Use Search Engine Optimization
No matter how creative or pretty your website is, you will not gain any traction if you cannot be found easily. You need to aim to be at the top of the list of search results, because this is the spot that generates an average of 32.5% of traffic share. There are plenty of guidelines online on SEO. The most important tip of them all is to use keywords.
- Post lots (and lots) of pictures and videos
This is a visual age and a picture speaks a thousand words. Take photos of everything: the premises, the food, the staff, and whatever else that comes to mind. People also spend hours watching random videos online. You can keep your customers hooked by putting up a range of different videos. Take your customers on a virtual tour of your restaurant, offer them tips on wine and beer pairing, teach them how to make some of your dishes, introduce them to your staff…the possibilities are endless, really. You can also boost consumer confidence in the safety of your restaurant by posting photos and videos of the hygiene measures that you have put in place.
- Enlist influencers
Internet influencers hold tremendous sway with a large base of followers willing to try out whatever they recommend. Send them some of your best or specialist dishes, requesting reviews. Link these to your website and you can open yourself up to hundreds more potential customers.
- Provide a space for reviews
Many first-time customers depend on reviews when deciding on where to dine. Allow your diners to post reviews on your website, keeping this space open to both positive and negative comments.This conveys that you value your customers and are willing to listen. Try to respond to all of these, engaging personally with the writers.
- Run Competitions
If social media has shown us anything, it is that people love challenges and competitions. Jump on the bandwagon and run your own special contests. Create hashtags to go along with these. Offer small prizes, you do not have to burn a hole in your wallet for these!
- Introduce special meals
Bearing in mind our context, put together special packages for those staying indoors. These could be family meals or special group menus. Try to cater to the different living arrangements, including couples, extended families, and friends who are co-sharing. Design a complete meal if possible, from appetizers to desserts and maybe even drinks.
- Offer gift cards
If in-house dining is lower now, then use gift cards to encourage guests to visit later on. Provide special offers or incentives – a free drink with a gift card or discounted rates for each card. Gift cards are an effective way of making money in the present while also ensuring you have guests in the future.
- Facilitate donations and gifts
There is so much good work being done by our frontline workers and many people are looking for ways to thank them. You could allow customers to buy meals for these modern heroes and have them delivered. On the other end of the spectrum are those who are struggling to feed themselves due to the current crisis. Encourage donations that can be channelled towards providing meals to the underprivileged. Document and recognize these generous gestures by way of pictures. Just bear in mind that this is about kindness and should not become another channel to make money!
While a powerful online presence is essential in these unusual times, boosting and enhancing your website will prove valuable even in the post-Covid-19 era when operations will not be as restricted. The virtual world is pretty crowded and so you need to put in the effort to get noticed. So go ahead, start revamping your website and boost your digital identity.