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Online Advertising Tools & Tips for Restaurants

A breakdown on Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads

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Food lovers are in constant search for their next great restaurant experience by searching online, reading reviews and browsing through social media feeds. There is no better time to leverage your website and online advertising to make your business more visible to guests. We spoke with Madeline Grenadier, Founder and CEO of Digital Society LLC, a digital agency for small businesses, about the ways that restaurants can get discovered online and experience growth through digital advertising.

How to Evaluate Your Online Presence

Online advertising can be overwhelming, we get it. No matter what your budget size looks like, having an online presence can have a positive impact. “Before getting started with advertising, make sure that you build a solid presence to grow your brand on,” says Grenadier. She recommends, and we do too, that restaurants start with the following checklist before diving into paid media efforts:

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“It’s important to have all of this set up before you begin advertising so that you’re driving people to a place where they can find reliable, up-to-date information about your business,” Grenadier says. The more accurate your information is online, the better your chances are to boost your local ranking. Tools like BentoBox’s LocalSync makes it easy to keep your information updated online because it syncs information directly from your restaurant website - meaning updates only need to be made in one place.

Once your information is set across your different platforms, it’s a good time to set some goals for your advertising efforts. “Every business (especially if you have a small budget) should also define their set of goals and an audience before diving into planning ads. Once you do this, it will help you track and measure the growth.” For example, if your goal is to promote an offer or specials, then you will want to use Facebook/Instagram Ads. If your goal is to get people actively searching for a specific cuisine, focus on using Google Adwords.

Best Ways to Use Facebook and Instagram Ads

Facebook and Instagram ads are managed on the Facebook Business dashboard. There are a few ad types within each platform that can help you grow your business. 

  • Lead Generation: Collect phone numbers, email addresses, or mailing addresses for email campaigns or traditional media you may send out. 
  • Engagement: Recommended for promoting any upcoming events as a way to sell more tickets.
  • Store Visits: Promote offers and specials. They are also great to promote on days where you want more foot traffic.
  • Traffic: Set up rotating carousel ads that flip through your menus, location, reservations, food, etc. and have them click to the different areas to your website. Make sure you're targeting the area around your location with these to raise awareness and stay locally relevant.
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You can create a new Facebook and/or Instagram advertising campaign using your restaurant's Facebook Business account. 

Best Ways to Use Google My Business and Google Ads

Creating a Google My Business listing for your restaurant is critical to performing well in the search engine’s results (and is free!). Having a Google My Business profile gives you control over the way your information appears across Google platforms and the more accurate and up to date it is, the better your chances are to rank higher in searches and on Google Maps. Setting a profile up will give your restaurant a good landing place before diving into advertising on Google.

Advertising on Google allows for your ads to be displayed the moment someone is actively searching for a place to eat. Google Ads is a great platform for boosting your rankings on the search engine and for building brand awareness. The platform allows you to easily customize where your ads display, the goals you want to set and the kind of messaging you want to put out into the world.

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Google Ads allows you to create an advertising campaign based on the goals that you are looking to set for your restaurant's online presence.

Grenadier recommends setting up two different groups for Google search ads. The first will be a competitor group where you target the names of everyone that is competition near you in the keywords. The second group of keywords you'll want to target is the terms similar to your business. For example, if you are an Italian restaurant a great keyword would be "Italian near me" or "Italian restaurant."

Pro tip: Make sure you are testing out different audiences and images. Don't just use the same image over and over again. Always keep the ads fresh and turn off things that stop working or are producing expensive results.

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