7 Tips for Getting More Customers to Your Restaurant or Bar Using Digital Marketing

By: Jordan Steen

Founder at Rest&Bar Marketing



As a restaurant or bar owner, you already know the struggles of marketing and keeping a constant flow of customers coming through your doors. Lunch shifts, Monday-Thursday, and Sunday nights seem to be a pain, or you are crushing lunch shifts and weekends but crickets at night. These issues seem to be so common, yet, most businesses aren't utilizing the MOST effective internet marketing platforms available and many of them are FREE. It usually comes down to one of the following reasons...


- "Digital Marketing is too expensive." 

- "I've tried online advertising before and it didn't produce any results. 

- "I don't use technology much, so I'm not sure it's effective.


A restaurant or bar lacking excellent social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), an responsive and optimized website, and Pay-Per-Click (PPC), all with regards to marketing your business, is like trying to ring in orders without a computerized POS...these days you just CAN'T! 


Here are seven tips for getting more customers to your location.


1. Set your Google listing.

I can't tell you how many business owners I ask about their Google listing and their response is a blank stare. Your Google listing is what customers see when they do a search for a business or place on Google. Once they hit search, information loads with the business website, location, hours, pictures, phone number, etc. Do you see why this is SO important? Google also receives about 70% of ALL search queries online! A customer looking for information about your business expects a quick and easy search process with no struggle in finding the information they need. If it takes more than a minute to find, that customer is likely to choose another business that is at the top of search results instead.


Here is a link on how to set this up YOURSELF for FREE!



2. Claim all other listings.

Your Google listing isn't the only listing that matters. Along with Google there are hundreds of other review sites people are using-- Yelp.comconsumerreports.org, etc. All of these sites allow businesses to list location, hours, phone number, etc. so customers can find YOU. Simply go to these websites, create a profile and add your information. There are also websites that allow you to upload all your information to these sites at once for a fee. 

Yext.com is one I definitely recommended if you can fit it in the budget. 


3. Keep hours updated.

Have you ever gone out to get food only to find that the place you wanted to eat at SO badly was closed? It said online that it was open, but it clearly isn't. Truth be told, this happens regularly. 

Google receives about 78% of ALL web search traffic in the world and even more than that in the US alone. If your business isn't listed on Google with its phone number, web address, hours of operation, etc., you're missing out on a lot of business. 

This link will show you how to set regular hours and even special hours for holiday seasons that will change online to show when your business isn't open. No more frustrated customers!



4. Google Images/Maps

When you perform a search for a business on Google it will show images and a location on Google Maps. This is imperative for your business to have, especially if you rely heavily on foot traffic. It's important to make sure people can physically find your location and easily communicate with you!

Here is a quick article to help.



5. Run contests and promotional ads on Facebook.

Want fast results or a jump start to your marketing? Use this proven traffic boosting method to expand your social reach while also increasing foot traffic. Run a contest on your Facebook for something free for people who "like" and share the post! Use a catchy hashtag and maybe even make a whole event out of it. The trick is to give away something people will perceive as valuable. If you're promoting a bar, give away a patio party where the winner can bring 15 friends to hang out with them. Try this and see how many thousands of likes you can get for your business. Follow up with a discount offer for those who didn't win and watch how many coupons you can collect. Get creative with it and always strive to do something big.

Ads on Facebook are another great way to reach customers with offers and promotions. Never "Boost Post" from the front end of Facebook. Always use "Ads Manager" by Facebook to spend any money on their advertising platform. If you aren't comfortable with it yourself then definitely ask a professional. Facebook has one of the BEST marketing platforms out there if used correctly.


6. Look at what your competitors are doing.

If your competitors are seeing a lot of engagement on their posts it is probably content their customers want to read. Obviously you wouldn't want to take that exact post, but you can certainly do something original. All other factors aside, great content over an extended period of time is guaranteed to increase sales. If you are in an industry that has a lot of household names make sure to monitor their content and follow their example. You don't need to reinvent the wheel!


7. Email Marketing

Anyone who says email marketing is dead doesn't know digital marketing very well. If you dont have a way of collecting your customer's emails yet you need one pronto. Mailchimp.com is my favorite site to use to establish an email marketing program and develop a communication channel with your customers. You can build lists of different customers, templates for your regular emails and even automate a lot of your email dispersal so you don't have to spend a lot of time keeping up with it! Make sure to use this to give out coupons and promotions for your location...believe it or not, if the customer finds what you're offering to be valuable they WILL open your email.

I hope you find this information useful in your daily marketing efforts.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks!