Grow Your Sales With The Web Quick, Simple and Cheap SolutionsGuide Book #3
Grow Your Sales with the webLearn how to drive customers from the web to your front door.In this guide book we will take you step by step through nine online platforms and solutions that you simply must engage with.They are all free and quick to use, but best of all there is virtually no technical skills required.ContentsGoogle Places – Create a local presence onlineFacebook - Build a Fan PageYelp - Join the biggest restaurant review communityTwitter - Text message the worldMailChimp - Email marketing just got easierTripAdvisor - How to manage your reviewsFourSquare - The next big thingWord Press - Start BloggingGoogle Alerts – Finally what are people saying about you
Google PlacesOk lets get started. Everyday millions of peoplesearch Google for local businesses.One in five Google searches today is a local search.A search term like “Cafe Dublin” on Google will givecafes based in Dublin more priority over any othercafes.Google will display a map with Dublin Cafes at the topof the search results, with pins to indicate theirlocations.Stop reading this guide for a minute and quicklyGoogle your restaurant to see if it appears.If it doesnt this guide will show you how to get itlisted.If your business does appear this guide will show youhow to claim it as yours and how to start using it todrive business to your restaurant. If you take nothing else from this guide. CLAIM YOUR LOCAL PLACE NOWRemember its easy, free, and you dont need awebsite of your own.Why would you ever pay for a yellow page ad again!
First you have to have a google account to use googleplaces so set one up. Just go to:www.google.com/accounts/NewAccountNext you need to visit www.google.com/placesClick on the Add A New Business button.You will be forwarded to a page where you will berequired to choose the country that the restaurant islocated in and the restaurants main telephone numberto see if Google Maps already has some informationabout your business. Remember google is everywhere sothey may already have a listing for you.
Next enter the name, street address, correct telephonenumber, website etc.Google will automatically find your location and displayit on a map in the left panel. You can drag and drop thepin if the exact location is not correct.Scroll down the page to see the other details that youcan add including photos and videos, opening hours,and payment methods accepted. Finally hit the submitbutton at the bottom of the page.
Next you will be required to claim the page as yours to availof all the google place tools and also prevent unauthorizededits to your listing in the future. You do this by validatingthat the business is yoursGoogle will contact you direct with your unique personalidentification number and activation instructions.This can be done over the phone, by SMS or by post. Choosewhich method you would prefer and hit the finish button atthe bottom of the page.Your listing will not appear until you complete this validationprocess.Google also has lots of support articles and a support forumto answer your questions.
Now that you have added your location, google it againto see your listing. Click on the places page link to seeyour local page. Scroll down the page to see any reviewsof your business.Remember as the business owner you can manage yourlisting information including adding business description,product/service details, photos, videos, etc.You can even add special promotions and coupons toattract more customers completely free and add astatus post of 160 characters long, which can be updatedas often as you want, to let people know what’s going onwith your business.Finally you can use the dashboard to track visitors toyour place page. Yahoo offer a very similar service at http://listings.local.yahoo.com/. A basic listing is free and allows you to add business hours, telephone numbers etc. To enhance your listing with photos you will have to pay $9.99 per month.
Create a Facebook PageFacebook has just exploded over the last few years.There are now over 500 million Facebook users aroundthe world.Just like your friends have set themselves up with aprofile your restaurant can have a Facebook page.The biggest advantage that we see for your restaurantis the friend to friend recommendation of yourrestaurant on Facebook .The Outback Steakhouse alone has almost one millionfans.With a Facebook page you can•Drive traffic to your store•Announce events and wait time•Post recipes, photos and video•Hold contest•Promote daily specials and discounts•Give tour of your kitchen•Customer service and engagement tool•Hire new employees If you have a restaurant you simply must have a face book fan pageBut most importantly you can become part of yourcustomers community. Once a user becomes a fan alltheir friends will know too.
To create a Facebook page you must first be aFacebook user so if by some small chance you donthave a profile set yourself up with one now.Next scroll to the bottom of your Facebook page andclick on the tab that says advertising. It is kind ofhidden away. Next click on the Facebook Page link inthe middle column and finally click on the greenbutton in the top right corner that says Create A Page.
Next fill in your name and type of business in theOfficial Page column and hit the Create OfficialPage button. Remember you wont be able tochange the name once you have created thepage.So thats it. Just start adding content, pictures,videos, links, menus etc. Publish it once you haveadded some content and be the first person to hitthe Like Button.
Top Tips for FacebookFacebook fan pages can be an effective restaurant marketing tool for keeping in touch with customers, andeven finding new ones. But simply creating a fan page because everyone else is isn’t enough.1.Update regularly –Updating your page once a month can make it seem a barren wasteland, rather than avibrant community of foodies. It’s quick and easy to post links and updates to your page which then appearin your fan’s feeds, which can help it to grow ‘virally’.2. Interact with your fans – Responding to people’s questions is a great opportunity for interacting withcustomers and building positive feelings towards your restaurant. You can also try turning the tables and askyour fans questions by running polls or quizzes e.g. what would they like to see added to the menu.3. Promote your fan page – It’s unlikely customers will find it on their own, so advertise it on your menus, onyour website, in your emails and on business cards to build up your fan base.4. Offer value - The key to attracting and retaining fans is to be able to offer them something of value they’llbe happy to see popup in their news feed. This can include special offers, recipe ideas and inside info on yourrestaurant itself, such as photos of recent special events and the people working there.5. See what other restaurants are doing. Take a lead from the best.Facebook fan pages can be an excellent restaurant marketing tool for interacting and staying in contact withyour customers. Just remember to keep it updated to gain the maximum benefit and to attract morecustomers.
Yelp!Yelp is an online community of restaurant reviewers.People use Yelp to write amateur reviews, read peerreviews, get information about restaurants , and todiscover other places they may be interested in.Yelp allows consumers to share the experiences theyvehad with local businesses and lets business owners shareinformation about their business with their customers.Simply put, its word of mouth-- amplified.Over 38 million people visited Yelp in August 2010 tomake spending decisions.Lot of small restaurant owners first learn about Yelp whenthe google their name and find that the first thing tocome up is the yelp site full of reviews about theirbusiness.As a restaurant owner you need to join the conversationabout your business - and again its free Remember having lots of reviews on Yelp . Helps you rank well in Google.To help business owners get the most out of their onlinepresence, Yelp offers a suite of FREE tools for businessowners.
Just like google local you can claim a restaurant if it isyours.Just go to https://biz.yelp.com and hit the create yourFree Account Now button in the centre of the page.Next you will have to start by finding your business.Enter the restaurant name and location and hit thesearch button.
You will be presented with the relevant restaurants.Scroll down and find your location and hit the unlockbutton. You will then be required to enter your name,email etc and choose a password.Finally Yelp will need to verify that you are the businessowner.To verify your account you will be provide with a shortcode. Make sure you are near your phone as yelpshould call you almost straight away.Give them back the code and your account will beunlocked. Check out this short video for moreinformationwww.yelp.com/business/unlocking
Once youve unlocked your page you can useYelp for Business Owners to provide updatedinformation on your business, postannouncements and special offers, andcommunicate with your customers. All of this isdone through the yelp dashboard.There are two great ways that you can join theconversation about your business. Firstly You cansend private messages to people who havewritten reviews about your restaurant. Franklywe recommend that you respond to everyreview. Even if it is a good review, just a simplyresponse saying thanks for the feedback and if itis a poor review apologise and ask what can youdo better. Yelp users often upgrade theirreviews because the business owners contactedthem or go back and review you again.You can also add a public message. I.e. if acustomer reviews you and says that you donthave a particular product on your menu and youadd it let everyone know. Be as diplomatic aspossible. Just like you wouldnt want to get in toa shouting match on the dining room floor dontengage in an online squabble.Remember show that you are watching,responsive and care. These are your customersso respond to their feedback.
TwitterTwitter is a great way of reach thousand of potentialcustomers instantly.Simply put Twitter lets you text message the world.It is free and easy to use. So what would a restauranttweet to the world. Well what about asking the simplequestion“Today is cold outside. We have tomato basil orChicken Noodle soup. Which one would make you feelwarmer? ”The best tweet I have ever seen was just a few words“How can we help you?”Two things to remember about Twitter.Try to blend the humour with your tweets. Peoplecome to twitter not only to communicate. They comethere because it is fun. When the Minister of theExchequer recently visited a Pizza Express theytweeted.“After a tough week George Osborne was spotted atlunch in Pizza Express Wilmslow. He came to the oneplace he knew he could find some dough.”Don’t over do it. Only tweet when you havesomething to say. Don’t try to bombard with uselessinformation to your followers.
To start just go to www.twitter.comAnd click on the sign up button. Enter your fullname, user name, email address and choose apassword. Your username should be your RestaurantName and your twitter address will becometwitter.com followed by your user name i.e.http://twitter.com/pizzaexpressA great idea is to follow who follow you. When someone is following you that means they liked yourmessage or what your restaurant has to offer.Following them back is like saying that yes we areopen to talking with you too.
Mail ChimpFor the last 15 years email marketing has probably beenthe number one way to communicate with yourpotential customers and without any doubt the mostcost effective.Sending emails that let your customers know aboutnew menu items, coupon specials or special events ,keeps your restaurant in front of their minds and theirstomachs!Mail Chimp helps you design, send and track your emailcampaigns. Best of all Mail chimp is totally free for listsbelow 1,000 subscribers, so give it a try.Mail chimp allows you store up to 1,000 subscribers. Andsend up to 6,000 emails a month. There are no expiringtrials, hidden charges or sneaky contracts. They donteven ask for a credit card.For larger lists Mail Chimp has monthly plans starting at$30 per month.Youll be amazed by all the powerful email marketingfeatures, so go to www.mailchimp.com
Hit the Sign Up Free button to get started.Fill in your details, choose a password and hitthe Create My Account button. Mail chimpwill then send you an email to verify that youare the user, click on this and you are readyto go.MailChimp offers help creating your firstemail campaign with a 45-minute "GettingStarted" webinar every Wednesday. Thewebinars are designed for first-timeMailChimp subscribers with helpful advice onhow to get started. There are also a numberof great training videos on the site.
Top Tips for gathering Email Addresses for an Email ClubCreating an email club is a fantastic way of connecting with your customers. You can email special offers,seasonal menu changes, you could even create a database of people birthdays and send out birthdaygreetings. But a lot of owners worry that that using this platform will become a nuisance for guests andtheir emails will be categorized as junk. Emailing people who have not explicitly asked to be on your club isan excellent way to lose your guests trust.The golden rule of email is NEVER SPAM. Only ever email people who have opted in.So how do you get people to opt in.ASK! - The single most effective way of gathering email addresses it to simply ask your guests. Its so simple.This is best done by verbally mentioning it to them and giving them a sign up slip that they can use to fill outtheir information.IN-STORE SIGNAGE - Promote your email club through signage in your restaurant. Why not place a jar next toyour cash register announcing a "Weekly drawing - Leave your business card – And join our email club".Then, each month, draw a business cardTHROUGH YOUR WEBSITE – If you have a website you should always have a way for customers to sign upfor an e-newsletter . We at Catering Mentor are always shocked at how few restaurant websites do.One last thing that we need to mention when discussing this topic:Your emails addresses should never be shared outside of your business, remember you wouldnt want yourown email address getting traded, so never do the same to your loyal customers Oh yeah, its illegal too.
Trip AdvisorTrip advisor has over 40 million reviews andis the first port of call for many peopleplanning their travels.Trip advisor may be more focused on hotelsthan restaurants. But you should still keep iton your radar. Got to www.tripadvisor.comtoady and see what people are writing aboutyou.Trip advisor makes money by selling adds ontheir sites, but buying ads doesnt help yourranking.Before we go any further we need to warnyou that the No 1 rule with trip advisor, isnever add your own reviews, trip advisorsusers are very savvy and an owners reviewalways stands out a mile., with that said youcan make trip advisor work for you andencourage people to write good reviews. Ohand by the way TripAdvisor takes reviewfraud very seriously.
Like some of the other online tools that wehave described earlier you can register as abusiness owner and access trip advisorsbusiness tools.Just go to www.tripadvisor.com/OwnersSelect your business type 2. Enter the locationand click "SearchFill in the required information and again youwill need to verify that the business is yours.
As the business owner you can access the followingbusiness tools.Business Listings: add your contact information to yourlisting for a low annual fee (accommodations only)Notification of new reviews: receive your latestreviews by e-mailCustomized request-a-review link: encourage guests tospread the word about your propertyThe owners newsletter: stay informed about ourlatest tools and benefits for youTrack performance: analyze your customer satisfactiontrends and compare to your competitors(accommodations only)Finally a question that we always get asked is should Irespond to bad reviews. The unequivocal answer isyes, as your brand’s engagement can make all thedifference in how your customers perceive yourbusiness.
Four SquareYou may have never heard of Four Square but you willsoon. My guess is it is going to be the next big thing.www.foursquare.comSo what is Four Square, well think Yelp + Google Placescombined , only for mobile. (Smart Phones).In a nutshell, its a location service-based socialnetwork-come-game. The whole system is basedaround what is known as "checking-in". You check-infrom bars and restaurants, perhaps with a littlemessage about where you are and what youre doing -all very brief - and the system will then register whatyoure up to.Why Foursquare is important to the user:•They can check in at their current location, see wheretheir friends are.•They can earns points and badges for regularlyreturning to a certain location.•Find new places they have never heard of.•Get tips from friends for what to order at places newand old.Why Foursquare is important to the business owner:•You can claim your business and create incentives, forexample every 5th check in you get a free appetizer.
As a business owner, you can use foursquare toengage your increasingly mobile customerswith foursquare "Specials," which are discountsand prizes you can offer your loyal customerswhen they check in on foursquare at yourvenue. If you want to dive right in, get startedby claiming your venue right from itsfoursquare venue page.When you claim a venue, youre asking tobecome the manager of the venue onfoursquare.When you claim your venue, youll be asked toprovide FourSquare with some contactinformation, which they use to verify that youare authorized to manage that venue onfoursquare. You can begin that process by goinghere. www.foursquare.com.Foursquare business owners can even requestofficial Foursquare window stickers to advertisethat a business is Foursquare-friendly.
WordPressIf you dont have a website get one built now withWordPress. If you already have a site think about ditchingit and start a blog.Basically a blog is the same thing as a web site. It is just amuch more flexible product so that you dont have tokeep on paying a developer to change your sites. Blogshave a back end infrastructure so you can easily updatethem.To get started just go to www.wordpress.com it is allfree.At a latter date when you have mastered wordpress.comgo to www.wordpress.org to download their moreenhanced blogging tool. Remember sites that are updated regularly rank higher on Google.
Google AlertsFinally use google alerts to find out what people aresaying about you .Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevantGoogle results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice ofquery or topic.This is free tool and now that you already have set up aGoogle Account to manage your Place Page it is veryeasy to get started.Sign in to google and then go to www.google.com/alertsNext enter your search term i.e. your restaurant name,the type of information that you want to see (forexample blogs, news etc) and finally how often youwant to get update. We advise once a week.