Digital marketing is constantly evolving. With the rise of social media, influencers, and online ads, it can be hard to know what the best digital marketing strategies are for your food and beverage business.
But you don’t have to spend hours analyzing customer statistics to achieve great marketing; that would be an example of customer obsession. Instead, make your brand stand out online by reading our top digital marketing trends for the food and beverage industry.
We all know that Facebook is full of advertising. According to Statista, over 50% of digital marketing budgets were spent on Facebook and Google Ads in 2022. So if you’re not optimizing your ads for these platforms, you could be missing out on a huge market.
Optimization helps us to understand the customer journey, from the first impression viewed to their purchase. In today’s digital age, there are so many placement options for your ads. By using optimization, you can analyze the performance and reach of different placements to understand what works best for your brand. That way, you can make the most of your restaurant marketing budget.
Luckily, many platforms, such as Facebook ads, offer options to customize your placements and use automatic optimizations. This is useful because it means you can continuously analyze and improve your ads and their placements to ensure they are always reaching your customers.
Social media marketing
A study conducted in 2019 showed that almost half of all customers visit restaurants after seeing them on social media, so your online presence could make or break your business.
Platforms like Instagram and Facebook offer a wide reach without many overhead costs. Try using high-quality videos and pictures so customers can quickly understand your brand. Videos should be short, engaging and include a call to action, such as signing up for limited time offers. Alternatively, use popular sounds on Instagram reels to create a timely, engaging snapshot of your brand.
Another simple way of utilizing social media is by activating a booking function. Both Facebook and Instagram offer a reservation button that allows customers to book a table without leaving the app. This way, you can directly convert your followers into paying customers.
Although social media marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, there are ways you can invest to stand out from other food and beverage businesses. Consider creating insta-worthy interior design, cocktails, or plating to increase the number of users posting about you.
You might even consider partnering with rising food and beverage influencers to increase your reach. By partnering with micro-influencers, you can do this without spending huge amounts of your budget. Micro-influencers have smaller, niche followings which might actually be more impactful than people like the Kardashians.
There are micro-influencers for everything, from hot sauce to prosecco. Because they specialize in a unique niche, they are trusted by their followers. So, find your perfect fit using an influencer marketing agency and invite them along to your business for an exclusive tasting session or event. Then, watch your new followers roll in.
Create an interactive website
Alongside social media, a website is one of your most important digital marketing tools. Today, customers expect a lot from the food and beverage industry. They want to see a menu, book a table and leave a review all in one place. That’s why you need an interactive website, but how do you achieve this?
Use stand-out buttons
Create simple and bold buttons for customers to interact with your page. For example, you could use an ‘order now’ button, paired with third-party apps like Bbot for fast, easy delivery.
Create diverse content
You might think that because you’re a food and beverage brand, photos of your delicious products do all the work for you, but that isn’t true. Customers find websites through various means, not just by searching for your brand.
If you create a range of content such as blogs, recipes, and videos, a new customer might stumble across your website organically, so it pays to be creative. For example, if you’re a coffee brand, why not post a blog post with your top tips for brewing great coffee?
Refine your Search Engine Optimisation
Although lots of engaging content is great, it is nothing without SEO. Though most marketers will tell you SEO is all about keywords, there’s actually a lot more to it. With the clickrate of the 10th position in Google at only 2.5% (compared 28% click rate for the 1st position), SEO is clearly a skill you need to master to market your brand successfully.
Firstly, use the right keywords. For example, if you specialize in birthday cakes, use the keyword ‘birthday cake’ multiple times to let Google know that’s what you do. However, remember that keywords need to run throughout your whole website. Keep your page updated with keyword-rich blogs and newsletters.
Secondly, use a simple, easy-to-use interface. If your website seems complicated and disorganized, search engines will push you to the back of the queue. So, make your website sleek and simple so users can easily find the information they need.
A big part of making your website user-friendly is pictures. Make sure you use large, good-quality pictures to show off your dishes. This will not only make your brand look sleek and professional but will also make your users hungry for your products. You can also embed posts from social media to drive traffic to your sites and increase trust in your brand.
Don’t forget mobile
Finally, don’t forget your mobile site. Imagine you’re in a new city, hungry, tired, and searching for something to eat. You’d pull up Google to find the best restaurant near you, wouldn’t you? More than 50% of people visit websites on their mobiles, so it’s more important than ever to create a great mobile website.
Check that your contact number is connected to reliable phone systems for small businesses. Also, make sure your photos, buttons, and text fit and are easy to read. Finally, introduce a reserve or ‘contact us’ button so customers can book a table easily.
This technique has one of the highest ROIs for restaurants, with a $53 return per dollar invested. So, if a customer has given you permission to contact them, make sure you send them personalized emails for maximum impact.
For example, if you know that customer frequently orders your pizza, why not send them a custom discount code?
Update your Google MyBusiness Profile
It should come as no surprise that Google is the biggest search engine in the world. So it’s essential that you have a great presence on Google.
GMB, or Google MyBusiness, is the profile that appears when customers search for your brand. It includes opening hours, contact details, addresses, reviews, photos, and more. With so much information in one place, it is the ideal opportunity to show off your brand. So, keep your profile updated by responding to reviews, posting new photos, and updating information.
Make sure you link your contact details directly to the best small business VoIP system on offer so you can respond to customers quickly and easily.
Google have also introduced a ‘reserve’ button. This is especially useful for the food and beverage industry, as searchers can become customers with just one click. Sign-up with a Google partner app to use this feature.
As well as Google, users find your restaurant through websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, so ensure your details are up to date wherever you are featured.
Keep an eye on reviews
For the food and beverage industry, keeping track of online reviews is a great digital marketing tool. Customers trust reviews to give them real, honest feedback, so regularly check feedback on Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Google Reviews to see what customers are saying.
You can improve reviews by creating incentives such as discounts for customers to review and responding to negative comments.
Unfortunately, bad reviews are going to happen, but manage them well, and they will have minimal impact on your brand. Respond to reviews with an apologetic, polite tone. Then, offer to help the customer further by providing a customer support email. If the review is particularly bad, try to calm the customer by providing a refund, discount, or promotional offer.
However, it's just as vital to keep track of positive reviews. Responding to comments makes customers feel seen and valued. It is also an opportunity to show your brand personality and connect with customers.
Measure your impact
There’s no point putting all these great digital marketing tools in place if you can’t measure their impact. When planning your digital marketing strategy, include your measurables so that when you review the data you can see what works for you.
This will look different depending on your business. If you are a food wholesaler, it could be the number of sales or website visits. For a restaurant, it could be the number of tables booked.
Keep track of your content on different platforms to evaluate their success. For example, if you create an email marketing campaign for a very successful sushi night, you know that email marketing works for you.
Have your cake and eat it
There are lots of marketing strategies for small businesses in the food and beverage industry but remember to choose ones that work for your brand. If you pick the right methods and keep track of the results, over time, you will develop a stellar digital marketing strategy.