Doing PPC for restaurants and bars can be challenging, especially when justifying the ROI. Sure, large chain restaurants like TGIF, Olive Garden, and basically any Lettuce Entertain You branded restaurant can throw money at pay per click all day. But a local, privately owned restaurant most likely doesn’t have the budget for that. So how can you, the restaurant or bar owner justify and take advantage of PPC? Focus it on your private events and catering.
Private Events, Catering, and Chef Menus
If your restaurant has the capability to host private events, provides catering, or has special chef menus, this is where you can truly take advantage of pay per click.
For private events, pay per click is a no-brainer. You can target keyword searches for things such as “bridal shower venue”, “place to host a baby shower”, “rehearsal dinner”, and many more. Just think of all the types of events that are booked for private parties; retirement parties, office holiday parties, engagement parties, etc. These are all potential revenue streams that make sense for pay per click. The ROI can be huge if you book just one per month. Let’s say you spend $300 on ads for the month and book a $2000 private party. That’s not a bad return on investment. And that is if you just book one.
Following the same concept for catering can lead to great profits from PPC. You can target birthdays, graduation parties, office parties, and more.
Special chef menus are also a possibility, though the ROI might be a little tougher. For example, if you are having a special tasting menu for Valentine’s Day, you can use PPC to target people looking for a great restaurant for Valentine’s Day. Your landing page would show the tasting menu along with the form to reserve their table.
What About My Regular Diners
Doing pay per click is much more challenging when it comes to your regular diners. You could be spending hundreds per month and not knowing for sure whether it actually led to more customers or orders. Unless they make a reservation after coming via an ad, your tracking isn’t going to be able to make that correlation.
Your best bet in this scenario is benchmarking but even that can’t give you the exact ROI measurements. This doesn’t mean that PPC isn’t worthwhile for your standard dining but you face challenges when it comes to money spent vs. money brought in from that spend.
What You Need to Succeed
All pay per click campaigns require a handful of things in order to be successful.
A Landing Page
One of the most important aspects of any pay per click campaign is a customer-focused, clearly defined landing page that funnels the visitor into taking action. If you aren’t committed to creating a landing page, you probably shouldn’t commit money to a pay per click campaign.
A Form on Said Landing Page
The next thing you need is a simple form to gather the necessary information such as Name, Email Address, and Phone Number. You can include additional, optional fields such as Event Date, Guest Count, Comments, etc. However, the quicker the form is to fill out, the better you chances of someone converting. Remember, not everyone will know the exact date or how many guests they will have upfront, which might deter them from filling the form.
A Thank You Page or Push Event
Once a person completes and submits your form, you ideally want to redirect them to a Thank You page. The reason you want this is to make tracking simple. You can easily see how many unique pageviews your Thank You page received to gather a quick total of conversions. If you don’t want to go the page route, make sure you have some sort of event setup so that you can track the event to gather the conversion data.
Tracking is an important piece of your PPC because it helps you determine if your campaigns are succeeding. The easiest way to track your campaigns is to create a Google Analytics account if you don’t already have one. Goal conversions can easily be created within Google Analytics to show you how well you campaigns are converting. If you don’t have a Thank You page, it might be in your best interest to create a Google Tag Manager account. This allows you to add in Event tracking without having to alter the code on your website.
The Know-How to Run PPC and Social Ads
There is a difference between knowing how to setup Google Adwords or Facebook Ads and knowing how to use them effectively. Setting up Google Adwords is a breeze; hell, they give you step-by-step instructions. However, you can easily waste your entire budget if you don’t know the more complicated features such as match-types, modifiers, geographic targeting, ad copywriting, and more. The same goes for Facebook Ads. Again, it is super simple to setup but you need to know how to target the right people or else you can waste your entire budget.
Hopefully, this has jumpstarted some ideas for your restaurant and bar owners out there. Instead of relying on a magazine or newspaper ad, it might be time to start promoting yourself through pay per click to see what ROI actually looks like. If you have questions or need some help getting started feel free to contact us.