Mobile Phones are Smart
Today, in order to accomplish both of these goals, it’s crucial to have a mobile-friendly website that makes it easy for mobile users to connect with your restaurant.
Times are changing drastically in the world of technology. Not long ago, most people relied on their laptops and desktop computers to find local restaurants. These days, mobile device usage has increased dramatically.
Millions of people use their smartphones and mobile tablets to seek out information about local restaurants. So if you don’t have a website that is optimized for mobile use, there is a great chance that thousands of your potential customers are quickly leaving your site and opting for a competitor that has a mobile-friendly site.
A mobile website differs from traditional websites. While traditional websites focus on attractive graphics and banners and have the extra room to provide more heavy displays, mobile phones forgo most of these features in order to provide a convenient mobile viewing experience.
In addition, headers and footers are usually more prominent on traditional website, whereas mobile sites employ a more condensed version. Most traditional websites also offer “quick links” in their footers while mobile websites do not.
Keep in mind that these changes do not take away from the value of a mobile site. In fact, it makes it that much easier for consumers to find the most important information without the hassle of a difficult, slow website.
Mobile users are typically looking for one of a few things: your contact information, your menu, and directions to your establishment.
As previously mentioned, mobile phones are used now more than ever and usage is expected to rise. Consumers especially depend on their smartphones and mobile devices to seek out new local information.
Restaurants in particular are one of the most searched-for businesses via mobile phones. Most people on-the-go will search for a local restaurant while they are out and about and looking for a place to go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Therefore, having a mobile-friendly website will triple your chances of gaining new customers; and not having one could cost you more than you think.
Did you know…?
* 30% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
* 81% of consumers have searched for a restaurant on a mobile device.
* 70% of consumers think it is important to be able to read the menu of a restaurant on a mobile device. In fact, 62% of consumers will not choose a local restaurant if they cannot read the menu on their mobile devices. They usually end up choosing a competitor with a clear, mobile-friendly menu available.
* Conversion rates for restaurant searches are extremely powerful. Searches for restaurants on mobile devices have a 90% conversion rate. 64% convert within ONE hour.
* Unfortunately, 95% of all restaurants don’t have a mobile website yet. Furthermore, only 40% have online menus.
There are a multitude of advantages when it comes to mobile websites. The fact that mobile users are constantly seeking restaurant information on their mobile devices is enough for any serious local restaurant owner to invest in a mobile website.
* Mobile Websites are Easy to Navigate: If your website is hard to navigate, consumers can and will find another restaurant. Traditional websites are extremely difficult to navigate on via a mobile device. The site usually crashes or takes so long to load that people give up and move on. A mobile website ensures that navigation is simple and convenient.
* Content is Easy to Read: Traditional websites are made for laptop and desktops computers. With much larger screens and more powerful processors, it’s easier to read website information. Yet, mobile devices, being much smaller, are incapable of handling all the information on a traditional website.
It’s extremely difficult to read content on a website that’s designed for much larger devices if you’re using a smartphone or mobile tablet. A mobile website is created to ensure the text is larger and easy to read.
Try visiting a website on your mobile device that has not been optimized for mobile use and you’ll understand why it’s so important to offer your customers a mobile website.
* Easy-to-find Contact Details: Besides your menu, one of the main things that consumers search for on a mobile device is contact details, including your business phone number and address. With a mobile website, you can also incorporate a “touch to call” feature directly on your main page, giving consumers an easy way to reach you without having to scramble through a bunch of information.
* Easy-to-scroll: Mobile websites can be created in a way that makes it easy for consumers to scroll through the information using their thumbs. Viewing a traditional website on a mobile device is almost impossible.
* Clear Menu and Ordering Details: Another important benefit of a mobile website is that you can have a simple, easy-to-access menu available for mobile users.
With a mobile website, they can clearly view your menu in a clean, pleasing layout. You can also add a touch-to-call option where users can easily call for a take-out order or reservations. In addition, mobile websites can provide users an easy way to order online without having to call you at all.
Tracking Your Mobile Performance
Another beneficial feature of a mobile website for your restaurant is the ability to track and measure your overall performance.
* Tracking your mobile website’s overall performance lets you know what’s working and what’s not. You can make changes easily if you see something that’s not doing well.
* You can keep track of your overall monthly visitor count, as well as what area they are in when they visit your site. This will give you an idea as to when most people are ready to eat, which will help you develop marketing plans to entice consumers to choose your restaurant.
* You can measure the amount of time that visitors spend on your site and the most popular options they use.
* You can track how many visitors use the touch-to-call feature, map feature, and/or GPS feature.
* You can track how many people use your mobile coupons and specials as well as the ones that are the most-used. This, of course, will give you an idea of which coupons and specials are working the best and which ones aren’t.
Mobile users are an extremely fast growing market. More and more people are turning to mobile websites for their business needs; and since many smartphones can now do what a laptop and/or desktop computer can do, a lot of people now rely solely on smartphones for their online needs.
With a mobile website for your restaurant, you can easily boost your brand to new heights. This in turn will increase your online exposure and help people remember your business.
The return on investment (ROI) for creating a mobile website is excellent. In fact, several case studies on restaurants that already utilize mobile websites confirm that ROI was positive.
Tips for Your Mobile Website
Keep in mind that once you decide to create a mobile website for your restaurant, there are several things you should do that will help your site stand out and attract more business, including the following:
* Extremely Fast Loading Times: Your mobile website should load completely within around five seconds. Make sure your mobile website is optimized for fast loading times at all times.
* Keep it as Simple as Possible: One way to make sure your mobile website loads fast is to keep the navigation clear and concise. Important information should be listed clearly on the landing page, but in a way that’s simple for people to read.
* Map/GPS Option: Along with your contact information, it’s a good idea to incorporate a map and/or GPS capabilities into your mobile site. This makes it easier for customers since they won’t have to go to a different website or application to get directions to your restaurant.
* Include Your Social Media Accounts: Social media plays a powerful part when it comes to consumer satisfaction. When someone eats at a great restaurant, they are likely to share their experiences via their social media accounts. You may already have your social media accounts integrated with your traditional website, but put them on your mobile site as well.
* Limit Images: While you don’t want to go overboard, you can put a few images on your mobile website. However, they don’t need to be too flashy and they don’t need to take up a lot of room. Use images that match your brand, but just keep them at a minimum.
* Make your Logo and Brand Prominent: Along with your contact information, your brand should be prominent on the landing page where it’s easily noticeable. People who land on your site should be clear about who you are.
* Major Search Engines are Important: It’s imperative to get your mobile website into the major mobile search engines, such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Take measures to ensure your mobile website is optimized effectively so that search engines will be able to pick it up.
Remember, mobile devices are here to stay, and as they become more affordable, more and more people are expected to rely on them. Restaurants are one of the most popular searches for mobile users; but without a website that works with their devices, you risk losing a plethora of potential customers.
Not only is a mobile website an excellent investment, but it also provides a way to boost your brand, increase customer loyalty, and add to the chances of more people finding your restaurant.
Most restaurants don’t have a mobile website, and unfortunately, they are missing out on more business than they probably realize. When you invest in a mobile website for your own restaurant, you’ll be ahead of the competition and you’ll let customers know that you are thinking of them by creating a site that’s easy for them to use.
Text Message Marketing
Mobile websites also work hand-in-hand with text messaging marketing. At certain times of the day, you can create a plan to send out promotional text messages to your mailing list. Text messages are usually read immediately, resulting in a high chance of increasing your sales.
Therefore, if you are using text message marketing, it only makes sense that you are sending those mobile users to a mobile-optimized website.
Let’s take a closer look at Text Message Marketing…
In today’s day and age, restaurants are turning to text message marketing as their primary way to increase profits. This method can be quite effective as long as you do it right and remain consistent. Not only does text message marketing pack a punch, but it’s cost-effective and doesn’t require a lot of time or energy to set-up and maintain.
First off, it’s important to note that text message marketing campaigns are far cheaper than other forms of advertising (like radio and newspaper advertisements). Not to mention, they’re powerful for filling up your seats with hungry customers.
Did you know that mobile coupons received via text message are redeemed 10 TIMES more often than traditional paper coupons?
Since your text message database is going to be your most important asset during your marketing campaign, you’ll want to make sure that you accumulate as many subscribers as possible. In short, you need to learn how to properly ask for sign-ups.
* One tactic that you can’t do is to walk right up to a customer while they are eating and ask them to join your mobile text list.
* You can use advertising cards to ask consumers to join your list.
* You can ask your social media following and email list to join.
* You can place a call-to-action on your website asking visitors to join.
There are a number of ways to get more mobile subscribers. The key to making it successful is to always make an immediate offer to get them to sign up – such as a coupon or discount.
It’s important to engage with your mobile customers and get them by sending them information that’s worth opening in their eyes.
What could that be?
Well, most of your customers love your food, which is why they joined. So, here are a few examples:
* Discount offers on lunch or dinner specials
* “Buy One, Get One Free” coupons
* Upcoming events and promotions
While there are numerous types of promotional text messages you could send, there are also some non-promotional ways to use text messaging in your restaurant:
* Reservation Notifications – If someone makes a reservation at your restaurant and then later cancels it, try giving your text message subscribers rights to the table. Simply send them an alert that you’ll have a table ready between a pre-specified amounts of hours throughout the day. This will make them feel wanted and could help bring in more income for the day.
It is often said the customers will eat with their eyes before they eat with their mouths. Knowing this, you could also send subscribers images of featured meals via text message. Occasionally doing this could send their hunger into overdrive and leave them wanting more.
Customers like to feel involved, especially when it comes to their favorite restaurant. Make sure that you provide engaging text message content that will entice them to make another visit to your restaurant.
When Should You Send Text Messages?
Studies show that text messages have a nearly 97% open rate. Basically, this means that most of your customers will read your message. Secondly, approximately 90% of text messages are read within minutes of receiving them.
Therefore, you should carefully choose the perfect time of day to send them.
For instance, if you want to attract a larger lunch crowd then you should send your messages about one hour before lunch time. This is most likely when people are going to be the hungriest and take you up on your offer.
Also, make sure your offers last for a specific duration of time only for that day. This will increase the response rate.
While finding the right time of day to send text messages can be tricky, it can be done with enough practice and experimentation.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
There are some common mistakes that restaurant owners should avoid in their text message marketing campaigns:
* Sending Too Many Messages – The last thing your customers want is to become annoyed by your text messages. If you do this then it’s very likely that they’ll unsubscribe from your messaging list. Try to avoid sending messages more than a couple of times per week (generally speaking). Based on your type of restaurant and the level of activity you have, it could be slightly more or less. Just be sure to monitor your results with each campaign so you can make adjustments going forward if needed.
While utilizing text messages to reach customers can be quite effective, you need to make sure that you are being versatile and flexible. More specifically, use trial and error to determine what works and what doesn’t.
Experiment with different content to see what customers are responding to the most.
Text messaging pricing has gone way down and this has allowed small restaurant owners the ability to utilize this powerful marketing strategy for just pennies on the dollar. With such an affordable and effective marketing method at your fingertips, it would only make sense to spend your time and energy on it.
Why a Mobile App?
Mobile apps are a great way to reach potential consumers – in fact, there are currently more than 1 BILLION people worldwide using mobile apps. That’s a huge pool of potential customers just waiting for you to reach them.
Launching a mobile app specifically for your restaurant provides you with an opportunity to directly reach your target market, while also giving consumers direct, convenient, anytime access to your restaurant.
Consumers can access your business even if your restaurant is closed; your mobile app can answer any questions and also service customers looking to do things, such as make reservations.
Restaurant mobile apps provide information, flexibility, and an unparalleled level of customer service and flexibility.
There are a variety of firms out there that specialize in developing mobile apps – predominantly for iPhone and iPad or Android. Costs vary based on the developer as well as the required turnaround time, overall design requirements, level of feature complexity, and number of features or screens.
This may sound like there is quite a bit up in the air, but in truth, it gives you flexibility to develop an app that works within any budget and keeps your specific needs in mind.
Mobile apps are custom developed, so they can do any number of things – it really depends on what voice you want your restaurant to have. That said, here are some suggested actions or features for inclusion in your restaurant’s mobile app:
• Book Reservations: If your restaurant allows patrons to reserve tables, nothing is more convenient – for you and potential diners – than an online reservation system. For potential diners, it means that they don’t have to call and potentially wait on hold while the hostess services in-person patrons.
For your restaurant, it means that your hostesses will be less inundated with reservation requests and questions, freeing them up to focus on in-person customer service or other responsibilities. You are also better able to prepare inventory because diners are more likely to book a reservation if they do not have to actually call to do so – this mobile app feature is convenient and benefits everyone
• Show Custom Photos: Let your food sell itself. Nothing makes potential diners decide on a restaurant faster than beautiful images of what they will receive. Show photos of the restaurant to set the scene and point out any special features, such as a water wall, private dining, or special bar. Post professional photos of the dishes to create an appetite.
• Promote Featured Menu Item: A mobile app is a convenient way to let diners know about any special featured menu items. Promoting this information not only gets the word out, but also has the potential to pique diners’ interest and secure extra clientele.
• Share Special Stories about Your Restaurant: Perhaps former presidents or famous actresses have frequented your restaurant, or maybe it is the top place in the area for pizza parties after soccer tournaments. Sharing stories creates a form of nostalgia, interest, and a bond – opening up will generate excitement and buzz.
• Offer Daily Deals: Daily deals are a great way to generate buzz and to entice new customers to your restaurant. Posting the deals through your own custom mobile app provides a seamless transition for potential clients to learn more about your restaurant and visit the website for additional information. Daily deals are known to spark conversation and word of mouth marketing is a powerful tool – and better yet, it’s free
• Provide Customers with an Online Ordering System: An online ordering system benefits everyone – for customers, it provides convenience and effort-free meals; for your business, it provides added predictability and extra revenue. Whether your restaurant offers curb-side pickup or delivery, providing customers with an easy way to order – such as through your own mobile app – is a great way to increase sales.
• Allow Customers to Leave Comments and Reviews About Their Meals and Experiences: Sites like Yelp and Urban Spoon have paved a path for customer feedback and restaurant reviews, but allowing customers to post feedback directly onto your restaurant’s app gives you a level of transparency, ownership, and control. Customers appreciate transparency – it shows that a business is honest and direct. Having reviews and feedback posted using your own mobile app leaves no room for error; those great reviews are most certainly about your restaurant and are not to be confused with a similarly named venue.
Also, it provides you with direct feedback so that you know exactly what people are saying about your restaurant and areas in which you might improve – or keep doing exactly what you are doing. Customers will appreciate the direct line of communication and also like to feel like their opinions matter. Good reviews are bound to help your restaurant gain new clients
As a whole, there are many potential resources that you might consider incorporating into your own custom mobile application – one thing that they all have in common is the level of convenience they provide to you and your clients. Additionally, they open up a direct line between you and your potential customers, make your restaurant easily accessible, and are bound to create additional buzz about your restaurant.
From hot dog joints to four-star restaurants, mobile apps provide a wealth of benefits and are a great way to connect with customers and grow your restaurant business.
Knowledgeable mobile app developers will walk you through every step of the process, from planning through design, skinning, and launch – and will come up with solutions within your scope and budget.
Taking your restaurant into the “mobile arena” is not hard as you may think. In fact, we’ve helped many businesses in the area mobilize, which has helped them see an increase in leads, sales, and profits.
Contact us at 785-850-1327 for a free, no-obligation consultation if you would like more information about mobile marketing… and how you can implement it immediately.