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Why you need an effective web presence – more than ever

We were recently asked to contribute an article about planning an effective digital strategy within the restaurant marketplace for a prestigious London restauranteur publication.

We’ve had some great feedback on it, so thought we would publish it here as well! Hope you find of interest and use.

To run a successful restaurant business, it’s no longer enough to produce delicious food, have a stylish, comfortable and well located restaurant and expect to fill tables on reputation alone. With the growth in online browsing for places to eat, particularly through sites such as TripAdvisor, and the power, not to mention the noise, generated courtesy of social media, it’s essential that you have a powerful web presence, one that attracts potential diners to you quickly and drives them to your restaurant even quicker!

An effective web presence is no longer simply about having a lovely looking web site. It is now much more complex than that, including applying a well considered online strategy tied with your business strategy, consistent branding throughout, frequent updates and management of both your site and social media, relevant content for your audience, ongoing search engine optimisation and responding (in the correct manner) to reviews of your business on travel and hospitality sites.

The opportunity to use the web to achieve huge success is within your grasp, but you need to think carefully as to how you do this, and often this means using an experienced and knowledgeable digital agency, such as enotions, to create, action and run your plan for you to create as large a digital footprint as possible that attracts the right kind of attention.

To help, enotions have drawn up a plan of six key elements required to enjoy the benefits of an effective web presence.

1. Incorporate your online strategy into your marketing strategy
The web is too big a channel to ignore. Indeed, it should be one of your main, if not your main, routes to the market and customers. Make sure that whatever you aim to set out in the ‘big picture’ is incorporated in the ‘digital picture’, and the same consistent themes run through every channel you use, be it print, radio, on site or digital. Work out what you are trying to achieve with your marketing and what needs to be done to achieve these goals. Are you looking for sheer volume of numbers, or an expert premium reputation with premium prices? From here work out who to target and consequently where, and how, to target potential customers.

2. Coherent and consistent branding
Does everything with your business have the same look and feel in terms of how it looks, the tone of it and the messages it gives off? When someone finds your business, do they immediately know it is you, regardless of the channel they’ve found you through? Think of the big brands, Nike, Google, Amazon, McDonalds, and see how whatever the channel, you know immediately that the advert or marketing message is linked to them.

Build a recognisable professional, highly regarded brand, by being consistent in everything you do; same logos, taglines, images, messages. When someone spots an advert or reads an article about you, make sure they know it’s you immediately.

3. Regular updates
Be prepared to regularly to respond to emails, queries, conversations from customers, both on your site, but also on social media, particularly TripAdvisor. Keep the content flowing, inform and advise, stimulate and education, surprise and delight with new offerings such as recipes, opinions, giveaways and promotions.

4. Relevant content
Create the right content for your audience. This is easy to do if you’ve identified who you want to target. If they are ‘the masses’, they probably want clear, precise information with tempting pictures  of dishes and good offers. If they are niche premium-end diners, they want pictures but they want intrigue, romance, tempting foodie tit-bits, something that brings the allure and passion to dining experience.

Get their attention by giving them what they want and become not only a first point of call for online bookings but also a number one destination for the associated information. Don’t forget your social media channels as well. These are as important as your site, if not more important, due to the fact that so many people use these social media channels on a daily basis.

The old adage remains; if you want to drink, go to the well.

5. Search engines and search engine optimisation
You need to be found on the internet or you will die. You cannot simply create a site and leave it to be found, because search engines change how they index web pages frequently. You need to keep producing new content and incorporating SEO tweaks and updates to stay visible and highly ranked in the search engine results. You also must have a mobile ready-site due to Google’s new mobile indexing policy.

6. Review, review and review again
Every now and then, (maybe every three months), review your online presence, to make sure that you are listed correctly on searches, business directories and social media. Be sure all listings are kept up to date. If your business has evolved or changed in some way, make sure this change is updated across all the different business channels.

Whenever you get a review on a site, such as TripAdvisor, make sure you know about it and react accordingly, whether it’s a bad review or a brilliant one. Comment on it. For brilliant reviews, thank the writer. For bad reviews, say how sorry you are that they had a bad experience and say you either wish to make amends with a good will gesture or discuss with them problem to make sure that it never happens again. Don’t let the problem fester. Go in, act and turn it around.

By apply these rules you can turn around your whole business. Talk to your local digital marketing experts, or drop enotions a line on 01722 712699, on email at hello@enotions.co.uk, or visit us at www.enotions.co.uk


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