Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Online Listings

It’s no secret that the most popular way to find new places today is by searching online. What’s less obvious though, are the factors affecting how easily your business is found in a search. Before you spend time and money on SEO (search engine optimization), take a few minutes to read this guide and learn how your online listings play much more of an important role than you might think. In this quick guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about listings, including what they are, how they affect your business, and how you can gain more business by monitoring and managing them. Let’s get started!

What are listings?

A listing is your business’s basic information displayed for others to find. Aside from more exposure, being listed online is no different than being listed in a phone book—the ultimate goal is for consumers to be able to contact you and find your business. Depending on the source, a listing might have your:

  • business name
  • street address
  • phone number
  • website URL
  • hours of operation

Some websites and sources that might have your business listed are Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, Yahoo, and Bing. It’s important that your information is listed correctly so that potential customers are able to easily find you.

My listings are incorrect! How?

You might’ve searched your business online before and realized that some of the information presented to you was incorrect. Well, due to the nature of some of these sources, anyone can change your information. Before blaming your competitors, it’s possible that one of your customers actually suggested an edit to help out the general public. Think about it: you’re listed on Google as being open 7 days a week, but you’re actually closed on Sundays. Your customer, who either knows you very well or was disappointed after trying to visit you on a Sunday, saw this mistake on Google and corrected it.

Why does it matter if some of my information is listed incorrectly?

The smart ones will figure it out, right?

They might, but realistically, they might not. If you’ve ever had a customer complain to you about a menu item they saw online that’s no longer available, relying on a false listing causes just as much frustration. We’ve all experienced it; calling a number you found online that’s no longer in service, getting so lost because the address in the GPS is outdated, and the list goes on. As much as 73% of consumers lose trust in a business with inaccurate listings and we don’t blame them. Making sure your listings are correct and consistent across multiple popular sites will only benefit you in the long run.

In addition to preventing angry customers, correcting your listings can also land you a higher spot in a search. A higher spot in a search means more exposure, and more exposure means… more customers! It might not make total sense to you just yet, but let us explain: search engines, like Google, rely on consistency. If your information is presented differently on Yelp than it is on Facebook than it is on Twitter, how will Google know which listing is actually correct? They won’t, and since they are so unsure, their best bet is to not display the information at all. Why? Because if people can’t rely on Google for accurate information, they’ll stop using it. So, your best bet is to correct your listings and make sure they match across all sites.

How do I go about correcting my listings?

If you haven’t already, it’s absolutely necessary that you create business accounts on the previously mentioned popular sites (Google, Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, etc.). This way, you—the business owner—are in control of the page. It’s important that you do this so that you have the ability to respond to any reviews written about your business, answer any questions people might ask, and of course correct any misinformation. Correcting false information on these sites is a start, but remember—anyone can go in and change your basic information on most sites. And not to be the bearer of bad news, but… there are hundreds of sites out there that have you listed—sites that we both have never even heard of before.

So, correcting your listings one by one is a solution, but clearly has its flaws. We know how frustrating this can be, and that’s why we’ve come up with a better solution for you: Visibility Enhancer. Through Visibility Enhancer, your information is synced on a daily basis to 30+ of the most commonly used listing sites. We’ll also walk you through every step of the way, and show you how to monitor and manage your listings in 1 easy portal.  The best part? Visibility Enhancer also includes Menu Sync, which means that the most accurate version of your menu will be distributed to these sites as well.

It’s time to stop losing customers to your competitors and start winning them back. Get in touch with us today to speak with an expert and learn more.


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Holiday Marketing, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

St Patrick’s Day: Your Pot of Gold This Month

Irish or not, millions of people from dozens of cities around the United Sates look forward to parades, parties, and rivers dyed green in honor of Saint Patrick each year. The tradition has come a long way since it was first brought to the states by Irish immigrants back in the 19th century. In the US today, it’s more of a celebration of Irish Pride—and a huge one at that; more people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the United States than there are people in Ireland! As you might have guessed, restaurants and bars benefit hugely as a result.

For the restaurant industry, the timing of St. Patrick’s Day is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s the boost in sales many have been looking for after weeks of slow nights following the holidays and winter snow storms. With a little planning, lots of hyping on social media, and a bit of Irish luck, March 17th has the potential to be a great success for your business.

Get In On the Action

Is there a parade or festival happening in your town or somewhere nearby? Events like these are wonderful for the community, but do have the potential to prevent people from visiting you. Think about setting up a food truck/stand in a prime location, so that you can reach your customers even if they’re not physically in your establishment. The chances are pretty great that you’ll attract some new customers this way too! If you don’t sell food, then coffee, hot chocolate, or your branded apparel will all work too.

Feature Traditional Irish Foods

In many parts of the country, this is the only time of year that true Irish fare is offered in restaurants. Whether you’re Irish or not, there’s a good chance you’ll go for the Corned Beef & Cabbage over the ordinary cheeseburger on St. Patrick’s Day. Consider adding Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Soda Bread, Potato Soup, and other well sought-after items to your menu for the week. If your business has a specialty or a best seller, fusing your own creative take with a classic is a great idea also. Ice cream shops, start testing out your Irish Coffee Ice Cream!

Does your establishment already serve an Irish specialty regularly? We see a great opportunity to partner with another local business here. Having another business feature your dish is an excellent way to gain more exposure—especially if it’s advertised on their social media as well. In return, you can serve their signature cocktail or famous dessert.

Get Creative with Your Specials & Events

There will most likely be a lot of options for places to go within your community, so making your business stand out is key. The possibilities are endless for promotional ideas, but keep your audience in mind when planning. Depending on your type of establishment, consider the ideas below:

  • Irish themed trivia or karaoke night
  • Whiskey tasting
  • Costume contest
  • Live Irish music
  • Sponsor events such as free meals for designated drivers and free services to arrange rides for people under the influence
  • Plan a bar crawl with businesses next to yours or nearby

Remember, offering a discount or giving something away is not a loss. Think about promotions or deals you can implement that will keep customers thinking of you long after St. Patrick’s Day is over. For example, consider a “Luck of the Irish” promo, in which customers are randomly chosen to receive a gift card or discount towards their next visit. You can also offer a discount on the purchase of three items or run a buy-two-get-the-third-free promotion as per the three leaves of a shamrock.

Think Decor

Last but not least, all great celebrations need decorations. You don’t have to go too crazy; think gold and green balloons, or green-decorated menus or inserts for your specials. If you can’t decorate the space you have, use your food and drinks!  Try a fun twist on whiskey by making it green with lime and ginger ale, or maybe offer a special cucumber martini with mint, or honeydew martini with vodka, Midori and triple sec. If you don’t serve alcohol, then try something like green desserts, bagels, or muffins.


However you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at your establishment, don’t forget to use social media and email marketing to get the word out. In a world where face-to-face interactions are becoming few and far between, online outlets are your best bet for reaching the most people. Today’s technology makes it easy to market to your guests, but don’t let this be what stops you if you struggle—get in touch with us for help, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter or follow this blog for more tips and ideas to come.

Holiday Marketing, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Maximizing the Madness: Making Your Business the Go-to Place to Watch the Biggest Tournament of the Year

Each year, people from all over the country tune in to what is arguably among the most prestigious and exciting athletic tournaments in the world. Following Selection Sunday on March 11th, the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will tip off and millions will be watching along with brackets in hand as the best college basketball teams in the nation vie for a national championship. We’re here to offer solutions and make sure that your business is the place to be for your community to experience March Madness.

This tournament is one of the most unique and dynamic sports and cultural fixtures.  Spanning the entire remaining month of March and featuring near constant sports action and coverage, March Madness engages your basketball die-hards and casual fans alike rooting for hometown schools, the underdog, the integrity of their own bracket, and even those just enjoying the game day atmosphere. As a business, the opportunities to capitalize on this special phenomenon are near limitless.

Organize A Bracket

One of the more straightforward ways to make your establishment a gameday destination is to organize a bracket pool amongst your regulars. It has never been easier for people to organize pools of this kind using online services that track tournament results and participant scoring. Offering local and friendly competition to your regulars is a great way to pique the interest of the passionate and casual fan alike.

Brackets can also be used as a fun way to promote menu items or introduce new specials, while getting your customers involved. For example, have your wings go head-to-head; Buffalo vs. Garlic Parmesan. The winner moves on to verse Honey BBQ, and the loser is eliminated from the bracket. Want to take it a step further? Partner with another local business and compete against one of their specialties! They’re promoting your business, while you’re promoting theirs. It’s a win-win!

Stick With What You Already Do Well

As accessible as the personalized bracket services are, you’re running a business, you’re busy enough. The real secret to success here is capitalizing on what you already do well and making the most of it during this time of year.

Especially at the start of the tournament, these games are all day every day, which means that snack foods are the way to go. Fries, wings, and finger foods will keep people content without over stuffing them. All the more reason for your patrons to stick with you for the long haul.

Get Them Back in the Door

Speaking of the long haul, did we mention that this tournament lasts for weeks? There are going to be a lot of options for people to watch the game, so it’s crucial that you use social media to advertise all of the promotions you plan to run—and well in advance.

Consider signing up patrons for a March Madness club, where customers who sign up are eligible for deals on apps or drinks for the duration of the tournament. Raffles for hometown college gear, or even a credit to your own business towards a future dining experience are great ways to draw people through your door and most importantly, keep them there. The camaraderie of these games is contagious enough as it is, we just want to make sure that your community experiences this magic at your business.

Make it fun!

Keep it exciting by giving your guests ways to interact with these games in real time.

Was there an upset? Your next drink is half off.

Buzzer beater? Try these fries on the house.

You don’t have to take those deals to heart, every business is going to be different, but when your guests drink 3 beers over the course of a game waiting to see if their fourth is going to be discounted courtesy of a Cinderella team upsetting a college powerhouse, these kinds of deals can pay immediate dividends.

Keep in mind that not all your guests will necessarily be paying attention to the game, but they will be paying attention to your menu. Get a theme going with menu items named after teams or March Madness lingo (i.e. First 4, Sweet Sixteen, Elite 8, Final 4), or get creative and make something that visually fits the theme, like orange Jell-O shots with basketball lines piped on.

Every business is unique, but hopefully these ideas help get the ball rolling as you start to think about how you can maximize March Madness for your establishment. If you need an extra “assist” that’s where our marketing experts come in. We’re here to help you get off the bench and into the game and make sure the tournament experience of your business is a slam dunk.

 

Holiday Marketing, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Table For (more than) 2 Please! Why You May Want To Rethink How You Take On Valentine’s Day…

February 14th.

A day some may look forward to each year, and a holiday others would prefer simply didn’t exist.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the many hues of pink, dozens of rose ads, and being surrounded by more heart-shaped chocolate than you can handle – Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and if you’re a restaurant owner, this may be one of the biggest days of the year for you.

Just like any other holiday, this Hallmark-heavy, love-filled 24 hours is one that is synonymous with a romantic meal to cap off the day’s expression of emotion. But what once was a formal occasion to be enjoyed by loving couples only, has taken a sharp turn and morphed into a time to acknowledge friendships, family, an opportunity to dine together as a group, and even a celebration in being single. #GalentinesDay or #SinglesDay anyone?

While we can certainly expect the majority of your tables or take out orders to lean towards 2 people, perhaps rethinking how you market your menu, encourage reservations for groups, and promote Valentine’s Day festivities a bit less traditionally, can be beneficial to the success of your night.

Follow Social Trends and Stick to Holiday Themes.

Simply being conscious of the fact that larger groups may want a nice place to dine out together is just the start. You may offer a price-fixed menu for couples, but perhaps in addition, offering family style portions to parties of 4 or more may be a way to attract larger tables. Offer a discount on a second bottle of wine to a larger table when one may not be enough for the group. Maybe offering ‘Valentine’s Party Packs’ to-go – consisting of combo meals or appetizers and entrees that compliment each other (with clever names) may work, and give the option to select the number of people it will feed.

Some may not want to get fancy, and opt to spend Valentine’s day hanging out at home with friends or a loved one. Personal heart-shaped pizzas to-go would be a great treat for someone dining solo, and of course larger pies to feed multiple people should be featured as well.

Decorating your items with edible flowers (although this can potentially get pricey) is a fun way to add something different to your typical plating techniques.

Think Pink. You can create red and pink cocktails or mocktails with candied rims, or slather sweeter drinks with chocolate for added decadence. Maybe the icing or decor on desserts or even your plate ware can incorporate hearts and themed colors as well.

Giving Something Away Isn’t A Loss…

Leaving a lasting impression on your guests goes a long way. The thoughtful way you say goodbye as they leave and wishing them a Happy Valentine’s Day are hospitality no-brainers… but perhaps offering them a small (inexpensive) festive dessert on the house, or sending them on their way with a few chocolates or a rose for the ladies as they leave, would be that much more effective. Going that extra inch will cause them to remember such a sweet notion the next time they are looking for somewhere to eat, or a place to bring their friends.

How Should I Spread The Word?

Social Media needs to be your first go-to. But what if you lack followers? What if you have no one to manage your social media and can’t stay on top of it?

If you lack followers, staying diligent on providing valuable and shareable content is where you should start, but since we aren’t working with much time before the holiday, let’s explore other options.

Email Marketing is huge. Not only do your messages not get lost in the constant updating of someone’s social feed, but you have more room to work with. You can add more text, multiple images, and make it more personal. If you have collected email addresses, this is the way to go!

Let’s also not forget to spread the word to your guests while they are visiting you. Prep your servers for what’s to come, and have them inform your guests about your plans for Valentine’s Day, reminding them to jump on pre-ordering or firming up reservations before you fill up!

Pay Attention to Menu Items and Staffing

Using seasonally appropriate menu items should make crafting your menu easier, as those ingredients will be fresh, and should be readily available. Make sure however, to select items that are cost effective, as you will be doing larger volumes that evening and you want to be conscious of how costs will add up.

To follow that point, it’s essential that you should make sure to order enough to supply the demand of this holiday. The last thing you want is to run out of something on your limited menu (should you choose to offer only a selection of the full menu or price fixed menu that evening) and leave any of your guests disappointed.

This is why a price fixed menu may be a solution to maximize your revenue and help you plan. Since you will inevitably be catering largely to tables of two, you may want to avoid losing a table to a couple whose entire meal may consist of sharing a $6 appetizer and a $7 glass of wine (and then remain at the table all night staring lovingly into one another’s eyes) and instead lead them towards the experience of a full meal. Make it known at the time the table is reserved however, that there will be a special menu that evening, and share the cost so there are no surprises the night of.

In regards to staffing – take a step back and think about your stronger staff. It’s an important night to provide your best service and impress your guests. You don’t want to try and save money with under-staffing or trying out new positions for your team that night. Stick with what’s been working, and make sure to let your staff know they are on for that night because their skills are valued and you know that they will provide a wonderful experience for the guests that evening.

It also never hurts to offer staff incentives when they are scheduled to work holidays, or on days they normally aren’t scheduled to come in. It doesn’t have to be a large gesture, but perhaps a friendly competition or reaching a set goal, can help motivate and encourage some fun within your staff on an otherwise hectic evening.

Have Fun With It.

Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming as a restaurant owner, but try and have fun with it. Your guests will take notice of the vibe that you and your staff sets for the evening, and it will only enhance their visit. If you have any questions on how you can better market your business for this holiday or another one, email one of our marketing experts at solutions@ordereze.com today!

 

Marketing Tips, Website Design

Is Your Website Ready for 2018?

Technology is always evolving. So quickly in fact, that we are almost forced to keep up with the latest and most recent gadgets and devices simply because our old ones become unsupported and obsolete over only a short period of time.

Same rings true with how you present yourself online. If you want to be taken seriously in a rapidly changing digital world, it’s crucial to stay up to date with the demands of those looking to find you online – in most cases, your customers.

First things first…

Keep It Visual!

There is so much truth to the fact that we eat with our eyes. Whether what you are selling is actually edible or not, you need photos to grab the attention of those who want what you’ve got.

A great example of how powerful imagery has become in business, is the success of Instagram. This photo-driven social media platform provides an outlet for anyone to share captivating images to increase awareness, sell more products and tell a story all through pictures. This basic model (of heavily using imagery) can easily, and should be, carried over throughout your website.

In such a fast-paced world, you need to communicate as much as you can, in as little time as possible – photographs can do just that.

Keep Your Website Updated!

There are two sides to this.

To start, it’s imperative that your website acts as the truest reflection of you and your business. If you’re offering products or services, make sure your actual offerings are current with the prices listed on your website.

Same goes for restaurants or anyone in the hospitality industry. It’s important to the continued success of your business, that you consistently update your menu offerings, specials, events, and photos to maximize business. There is nothing worse than someone coming in to enjoy a meal or drink they saw on your website, that was mistakenly still on there from last season and is no longer available. This not only can lead to a customer starting his or her experience dissatisfied, but in the age of online reviews, could result in some negative chatter online.

Aside from keeping your menu and prices updated, the functionality and platform that your website resides on is equally (if not more) important to keep up to date.

Website developers are constantly changing how they build and design websites, not only to stay current with the latest trends online, but to make sure your website is performing at its greatest potential.

It’s also crucial to know when your site may be in jeopardy of no longer functioning properly if not updated according to necessary advances in technology. For example, Adobe Flash websites will no longer be supported by Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox as soon as 2020 (See article here). So if you have an older website using Flash, know that currently more than half of your potential customers may not be seeing you accurately (or at all) online, and soon, none of them will!

It’s safe to say that you will want to optimize the functionality of your website annually for peak performance, and much more often than that to keep it fresh and updated with recent photos and special offerings to entice customers and bring in new and recurring business.

Make Sure Your Website is ‘Idiot-Proof’

Simplicity is your answer.

As previously mentioned, you want to convey your message as easily as possible when someone lands on your website. Ideally you’d like them to find everything they are looking for within a minute of looking at your website.

By adding a simple navigation bar at the top, keeping the font clear and readable, as well as having a website that is responsive and mobile friendly, will optimize user experience and not frustrate them and cause them to look elsewhere for the information they seek.

Think about creating a website that both a tech-savvy teenager can successfully navigate, as well as your 85 year old neighbor.

If you have any questions regarding the functionality or overall look and feel of your website, get in touch with us! Ordereze has options to cater to any budget size and will deliver you beautiful websites that will surely drive business your way!