Rev Ciancio Joins Yext as Director, Partner Marketing

I’m honored and excited to announce that next week I will be starting as the Director, Partner Marketing at YextBrick and mortar businesses use their cloud-based software to correct, manage, and control their location data and online reputation.

As you probably know, I am a huge advocate for both location-based marketing and also reputation management. In 2015 search queries on Google for “near me” doubled and if that’s not proof that local is king in search, type in the word “Burger” into a Google search and tell me what you get. The top results will be for restaurants known for serving Burgers.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a Burger recipe, grinding instructions or the history of Burgers, the search engines prioritize local search first. That means if you are a location based business owner or a marketer for a company that has location based businesses, search should be the foundation of your marketing plan.

I learned this brick by brick when I was a co-owner in a bar in NYC. Idle Hands Bar may not have been the busiest bar, but we certainly figured out how to out market our competition using location based search, SEO, content marketing and reputation management (ratings and reviews).

When you do location based marketing and your location data is correct, you can compete on the same level as the biggest of companies. Learning the power that gives you turned me into a proponent which eventually lead me to learning about Yext and what advantages their software can give a location based business.

I’ve had the pleasure of using the Yext Location Cloud not only to learn more about the subject but also to help some of my own clients embrace the future of marketing.  

In my new role, I will have the honor of working to with both the sales and marketing teams to help ensure the success of Yext’s amazing reseller partners and their brick & mortar clients. I look forward to bringing my experience as an owner of both a brand marketing agency and a local bar/restaurant to help businesses all over the globe drive more customers through their front doors.

Want to learn more about Yext? Check out how brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Cicis, Denny’s, Freebirds World Burrito, and Huddle House are using Yext to attract more customers today: Yext Customer Success Stories

Want to understand why location data accuracy is so important for brick and mortar businesses? Click here

And yes, I still DEFINITELY like burgers.

Posted in Location Data, Marketing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Simple Facebook Ad Hacks That Will SERIOUSLY Increase Your Targeting

  1. Instead of targeting what seems like the obvious key word, instead use a competitor as your targeting.
  2. Target the Facebook pages to your biggest competitors.
  3. Use industry keywords only your audience would know about.

Don’t you love it when you don’t have to scroll through a bunch of text and get right to the information you are looking for? Now, let’s unpack these and explain each of them a little more deeply.

The Lemon Pizza from The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry, NY with  smoked scamorza, garlic, chili, and basil.

Facebook advertising can be really expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing. That may seem obvious, but it’s easier than you think to get your targeting right if you have a couple of clues and guides on how to get it right. These 3 easy-to-use tips will help you increase your ROI by giving your targeting a laser-sharp focus.

Competitor Targeting

If you are a Burger restaurant (c’mon, you knew I was going to use that as an example) it might seem like the obvious choice to choose the word “Hamburger” for your Facebook ad. It might even get you to some Burger lovers, but the word could be associated with groceries, cooking, ground beef and sandwiches, along with restaurant.

The problem with using broad terms is it gets you a broad search. If you want to showcase the brand-new Burger on your menu, or drive in reservations for a special event, you need to be more specific.

Example: Let’s say you are two8two Bar & Burger in Brooklyn (excellent Burgers by the way!) and you want to place a Facebook ad. Instead of targeting the word “Hamburger” target people who like “Shake Shack” on Facebook. I wouldn’t suggest targeting a brand like Burger King, not only because it’s a totally different audience, but because it might be too broad.

The Lamb Burger from two8two Bar & Burger in Brooklyn, NY – Fresh ground lamb, seasoned with fresh herbs and spices, topped with house-made tzatziki.

Similar Competitors Targeting

Try this:

  1. Go to a competitors Facebook page.
  2. Unlike the page if you already liked it and refresh your browser.
  3. Like the page and Facebook will show you other similar pages.
  4. Click “See More Suggestions” and a new page will open.
  5. Add those to your targeting.

Example: Let’s say you are Liberty Burger, a better local Burger chain based out of Texas, and you want to place a Facebook ad. Go to the Five Guys Burgers & Fries Facebook page and see what Facebook suggests as similar pages.

Pages like Liberty Burger

See More Suggestions:


Want to go deeper? Take a look at who Facebook thinks you are similar to. Here are the pages that Facebook thinks Liberty Burger shares an audience with. Unless you are a huge brand, many of them may be too small to be able to target against with Facebook ads.

Industry Specific Keywords

If you are trying to target a specific audience, often times general and broad keywords will reach an audience that isn’t as specific as you want. If you are trying to target people using a broad key word (are you starting to see a trend here?), that might get you so broad a look that you are wasting dollars. But if you can use something that only clicks with your intended audience, you might be able to get them right into your advertising crosshairs.

Example:  If you are trying to target people with an accounting product that’s specifically designed for restaurants, using “accounting,” “POS” or even “CPA” seems obvious but might just shoot you way over the heads of the people you want to reach. Instead, try targeting for keywords like “QuickBooks,” “Breadcrumb,” or “Square.” You will nail people who are interested in what you are offering.

Example of good targeting with a Facebook boosted post with only a $5 spend.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Using broad search terms in your targeting for Facebook advertising will often drive up your costs but not reach your target audience. Targeting people who like products or companies similar to yours will yield more specific results.

Posted in Advertising, Burgers, Facebook, Marketing, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

6 Simple Steps That Will Keep You From Hating Yelp For Business

Are you a restaurant owner or operator that hates Yelp? It’s not uncommon. Many restaurant owners feel that they are being held hostage by the site and customers who post reviews on it. No one opens up a restaurant business with a desire to expose their weaknesses to the public and Yelp can act like a magnifying glass to expose the negative moments.

I would advocate that you fully embrace Yelp and put more effort into managing than any of your other social networks. But for some operators, they just don’t have the time. Between balancing books, scheduling staff, ordering goods and every other to do list item under the sun, there is just no time left in your day.

I’m here to help you.

Neapolitan pizzas from Urban Fire in Madison, NJ.

Why should you optimize your Yelp page?

On going management of a Yelp profile (or any review site for that matter) is a job that requires time, a lot of patience and a huge slice of humble pie. But optimizing your Yelp page doesn’t really take a long time and the benefits are incredibly important.

Yelp is one of the key websites that the search engines look to for information on brick and mortar businesses. It is a central hub of data for the key bits of details that people are interested in when searching and qualifying a business to fit their needs. Information like the hours of operation, your phone number and menu play an important role in local search for your business.

Check out the Poco – NYC page if you want to see what a full optimized Yelp for business page looks like.

If you want to learn more about local search and SEO, read this article.

The 6 Steps To Optimizing Your Yelp Profile

Step 1: Set up a personal profile

You won’t be able to claim or manage your business page if you don’t first create a personal profile. It only takes a couple minutes. Make sure you include a nice photo of yourself for the profile picture. This will come into play later.

Step 2: Claim your business on Yelp

Before you can update your data and other key informational points on Yelp, you’ll need to have control of your business page. This is the longest part of the process but from here on out, it’s very easy, smooth sailing.

Click here for instructions from Yelp on how to claim your business page. It’s best that you do this while you are inside the business and have the ability to answer the public phone number for the business. They need to call to verify you are the owner.

If at any point the process becomes confusing or overwhelming, you can call Yelp (877-767-9357) and they will help walk you through the process.

Step 3: Correct your business name

One of the biggest problems with local SEO for brick and mortar businesses is inconsistent data across networks. The biggest culprit is the name of business. It’s quite common for a business with apostrophes, words that can be abbreviated, numbers, multiple words, ampersands, possessives and more to have difference in listings on different networks.

Example: Boston Burger Company vs Boston Burger Co.

Either way, looks pretty good to me!

Now that’s a stack to drool over.👊🏻

A photo posted by Boston Burger Company (@bostonburger_co) on

Step 4: Include your general information

Address / Map Marker – Here is where it starts to get fast and easy. Make sure your address is correct in the listing. If you have a word in your address that can be abbreviated like “Avenue” to “Ave” or can be listed two ways like “3rd Street” or “Third Street,” make sure you list it the same way on Yelp as you would your website … and then every other network.

Hours of operation – If you don’t include your the hours that your business is open for operation, Yelp (and other websites) will update it on their own based on search data … even if that data is wrong! Customers can also make suggestions to your hours. It’s better if you just start by listing the correct hours of operation for each day of the week that you are open for business.

Bonus: Include you holiday hours of operation. If you are closed on July 4th, add that in. If you open on New Years Day for those looking to “shake it off,” be sure to update that section.

Website – What? You don’t have a website? Well then you should pause immediately, buy a domain and build one. Then come back and include it in your Yelp profile

Step 5: Categories

Yelp allows you to use key words to differentiate your business from others. It’s also very important for search data for people on and off Yelp. If you are a Burger restaurant that also serves salads or pizza (in my dreams!), then use both “Burgers” & “Salads” or “Pizzeria” as your categories. Ideally you should use at least 3 categories.

$$$ Bacon Burger from Burger, Inc. NYC – Daily grounded Angus beef cheeseburger, applewood smoke bacon, house sauce, brioche bun.

Poco – NYC is a primarily a Spanish style tapas restaurant but is also well know for their brunch so they can use both of those. Are you a steak house with an extensive cocktail program? Use both categories.

Here is a current list of all available categories on Yelp. Before you think they won’t have an applicable category for your business, here are 3 examples of how in depth their category list can go:

Step 6: Photos

Nothing sells a restaurant business with decent to great ratings like incredible photos. You should up load no less than 3 pictures to your Yelp profile. I would suggest 2 stunning food photos, one of which should be a signature dish. The other photo should be of either the store front of the business or a picture of people enjoying themselves and or food in your establishment.

Feel free to add 5, 10, 25 or more, but do not put less than 3. 3 is the default photo view on the profile page of a business.

ADVANCED USERS

You’re on this website and you’ve read this far so I assume you are in it to win it. If you really want to crush the optimization side of your Yelp profile here are some additional things you can add to your profile. Doing these will truly put you ahead of the game.

Specialties – Are you known for one particular dish or cocktail? Maybe its for your comedy nights or for being dog-friendly. Whatever it is that gets people talking about your business, add it to the specialities section.

Meet the Business Owner  – When people walk into a business, especially a bar or restaurant, they want to be treated like Norm from Cheers. Friendly greeting, automatically offered their food / drink of choice and an on going tab that never has to be paid. Yelp can’t do that for you, but it can turn you into Sam Malone, the friendly face behind the business.

Update you the Meet the Business Owner section of your Yelp profile and tell your customers a little more about you, why you got into the business and what interests you have outside of the business. It will personalize you and make people feel more at home. When they see you in the bar, they will be more likely to say hi or even “thank you,” and you can start to build a relationship with them.

KEY TAKEAWAY:

  • Optimizing your Yelp for business page is easy to do and worth it alone for the local search benefits.
Posted in Burgers, Location Data, Marketing, Yelp | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here’s The Best Time To Post On Instagram

What’s the best time of day to post on Instagram?

Have you found yourself wondering about this? Have you tried asking others? Have you experimented on your own? There are lots of ways to get good answers, but only one way to get the best answer.

EXPERIMENT

Gaaaaaaaaahhhh! I’ll bet that is the exact answer you were hoping to NOT find. I feel you. Life would be so much easier if people just gave us the answers. But, in the words of Ice-T in the Body Count theme song; “it ain’t like that!”

What I can do is help guide you to the correct answer so it’s a little easier to figure out.

Let’s start by gathering some clues.

According to this article on Huffington Post, 5:00 pm EST on Wednesdays is a prime time to post. The second best time would be 2:00 am. Keep in mind though, this research and article was posted before several updates to the Instagram algorithm.

As reported by Lifewiremidnight, 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm seem to be the winning times. That article however goes on to report that 3:00 – 4:00 pm is the WORST hour of the day to post due to a sheer volume of posts. From a strategic day standpoint, they report that Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays have higher engagement than the other days of the week. That would suggest that you should save more important posts for those days.

Here’s one more blog post I suggest reading from Hootsuite. In it, they suggest “The best time to post on Instagram is from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday.” Their research shows that people are scrolling through Instagram posts during their lunch hour, hence making it a good time to engage. The article also points out that in general, from 6 am until 12:00 pm is a good window.

Jalapeño cheese fries from Boardwalk Fries Burgers Shakes in Hoboken, NJ.

THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITIHM

One thing to keep in mind as you try to determine what is the best time to post updates on Instagram is their algorithm. To quote Instagram, it works “based on the likelihood [the audience] will be interested in the content.”

Photos are not shown to users in the order they are posted, meaning if I post at 7 am and you post at 8 am, someone who follows us both may see yours before mine if the social network believes you are more likely to be interested in your content. In other words, posts with more likes and more comments and more likely to show up at the top of your followers’s feeds.

That puts the pressure on you to not only post at the right time but to share inspiring or useful content. So, with all that in mind, let’s get you to an answer.

THE BEST TIME TO POST FOOD PHOTOS TO INSTAGRAM

This blog is intended to provide insight and tips for people in the restaurant and food marketing business. I’ve owned and operated a bar in New York City, I was the director of marketing for a food manufacturer, I’m a blogger and an influencer so I’ve gone through many levels of experimentation that will help you to figure out when best to share posts to Instagram.

I’ll bet you never thought Domino’s Pizza could look so good!

So whether you are a foodstagrammer, influencer, restaurant operator or bartender, here are my suggestions on the best time to post to Instagram.

THE GOLDEN RULE

The best time to post a food photo to Instagram is right before people are hungry or thinking about eating. If you are a global brand, this tip is a little harder to use since morning in Japan and morning in Portland, OR are at two separate times of the day. If you are location based though, post at these times:

  • 6:00 am – 7:45 am
  • 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
  • 4:00 pm – 5:45 pm

You will be sharing food content right before people are starting to get hungry. That way when then flip into Instagram hopefully your content will have the best chances of appearing first.

CONTENT RELEVANCY

If you follow me @revciancio on Instagram,  you’ll notice that I only update once a day and it’s typically between 6:00 am – 7:00 am EST. You’ll also notice that I care not what time of day it is, if I want to share food that is not traditionally consider to be breakfast food but more like Burgers, pizza and french fries.

I do this because I’ve experimented enough to know that my followers like the idea that I am getting out of bed and shoving a belly bomb into my face. So I stick with it.

For most food / restaurant accounts though, I would suggest a different path. For the most part, share photos of items or activities that are relevant to that part of the day. In other words, share breakfast in the morning, lunch at midday and dinner in the early evening. People may not come running to your restaurant immediately but you’ll hit them with content that makes a mark at a time of day when eating is on their brain.

HOW MANY TIMES A DAY SHOULD I POST?

Good question. If you have the content and the ability, I suggest 3 -4 times per day at the times I suggest above.

If you have less time or content, go with twice a day and stick with the content relevancy theory (breakfast at breakfast, etc.)

If you only have enough time and content to post once a day, then do that. I suggest first thing in the morning. Set the tone for your followers. Inspire their whole day. Let them know that you too are an early riser and thinking about how your day is going to plan out.

EXPERIMENT

I’ve given you the roadmap to figuring out best works for your brand. The first step is to make your plan and then stick to it. Consistency is more important than anything else. If you choose to do 2 posts a day, one at breakfast and one at lunch, do that every single day unless it doesn’t work. Then try something else.

Experiment for 2 weeks if you can. That way you can compare 7 days against each other as well as 2 of each day (Monday:Monday). See what works best and either stick with it or revise. Then do another 2 week test and see what kind of results you get.

Just make sure you are consistent!

Bacon Cheeseburger and bacon fries from Playwright Celtic Pub in New York City.

KEY TAKEAWAY:

  • The best time to post to Instagram for restaurant and food accounts is in the 90 minutes before traditional meal times.

Do you need help with your Instagram strategy?

I can help you.

Email me: instafood@burgerconquest.com

– Rev

Posted in Instagram, Marketing, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ultimate Food Holiday Foodie Calendar and Guide

Do you always find out that it’s National Nachos Day too late to do something special in your restaurant?

 

Are you a foodstagrammer who misses out on all the likes when it’s National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day because you  don’t have a photo ready to jump on that hashtag?

 

Is it National Hamburger Day, National Cheeseburger Day or National Burger Day, and what is the correct hashtag anyway?

Cheeseburger, tater tots and a Butternuts Porkslap Pale Ale from the Trailer Park Lounge in NYC

Did you find out about Extraterrestrial Abduction Day after it’s too late? OH NO.

Just a normal day at work. #ExtraterrestrialAbductionDay

A photo posted by @l.loveitt on

(Wait. That’s not a food holiday.)

WHO CARES?!?!?!?

Wouldn’t it just be easy if you already knew or better yet, someone could just remind you well enough in advance?

You could check sites like Days of the Year, the nibble or Foodimentary. Maybe it wold be easier to just follow @national_day_of,  @itsreallyaday on Instagram, or its sister account, @itsreallyamonth and get updates as they post them. But that algorithm? Who has the time to figure it out?

LOOK NO FURTHER!

I can help you out.

Download my totally free, easy-to-use Ultimate Food Holidays Foodie Spreadsheet! It has every day, month and food week that exists (or at least, that I was able to find). It also has the corresponding hashtag listed.

  • You can download it.
  • You can save it.
  • You can edit it.
  • Or, you can just come back to this link as it is a live document and I will update it from time to time when I discover there is a new food holiday!

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!

I also created just for you, this handy-dandy, totally free, easy-to-use, Ultimate Food Holidays Foodie Calendar.

  • You can follow it.
  • You can add it to your calendar.
  • You can print it.
  • You can also scroll through or search it and add just those food holidays that you care about to your calendar!

IT’S THAT EASY!

Once you’ve added the whole calendar or just certain holidays to yours, you can go in and set reminders that suit your needs.

Large corporate chain restaurant that takes 9 months to plan an LTO for National Cheese Fondue Day?

NO BIG DEAL!

Search for your date and add a reminder that gives you more than enough time to plan.

One location, mom-and-pop neighborhood doughnut shop?

EASY AS PIE!

Just add the calendar item for National Strawberry Day, happening on February 27th to your calendar and set the reminder to 4 weeks ahead so you remember to order strawberries for that special French toast strawberry cream doughnut you’ve been working on.

Food blogger with tens of hundreds of thousands of followers that people look to for inspiration on where to dine in their town?

FRET NOT!

November 12 is National National Pizza With Everything Day (Except Anchovies). Set one reminder for 2 weeks in advance so you can go eat a loaded pie somewhere and take a photo. Then set another reminder for the morning up so you can post of an amazing boomerang video of you doing a cheese pull right out of the bowl before anyone else does.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I post succulent and delicious photos of food today that no doubt set the calorie scales rocketing into the outer atmosphere. I mostly stick to Burgers, pizza and French Fries since not only do I love those foods but they get the most likes. That leads to more followers which I can then leverage to click the link on my bio and send them to this website.

From time to time I’ll theme my posts around certain food holidays. What is a food holiday ask? It’s a day or time of year dedicated to a particular food item. As an example, November 6th is National Nacho Day. Knowing that in advance, I would prepare by ordering a heaping plate of cheese drip covered nachos with all the fixins. On the morning of, I would share it on Instagram using “#NationalNachosDay” in the text of the message.

Don’t let your food marketing skills slip, use my special Ultimate Food Holidays Foodie Spreadsheet and Ultimate Food Holidays Foodie Calendar now! It’s free and easy to use.

GET YOURS NOW

Posted in Burgers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What To Do When People Change Your Google My Business Listing

Did you know that any user on the web can make a change to the location and business information associated with your restaurant on Google? 

ANYONE CAN DO IT.

Do a Google search on your favorite restaurant and I will show you you. As an example, I’ll use a Burger spot here in NYC that I love; Schnippers.

When I enter the word “schnippers” into a Google search,  my results come back looking like this.

If you look right at the bottom in the red circle. Do you see where it says “Suggest an edit”? You, and anyone else, can click that and have the ability to change the information associated with the business.

You can change the phone numbers, hours, their connected social profiles, images and even the category of the restaurant. With one click, you could turn this lovely Hamburger joint from an “American Restaurant” to “Vegan Restaurant.”

Don’t believe me? My friend Sara owns a fantastic tapas restaurant in the East Village called Poco NYC. They’re very well known for their sharing plates, delicious brunch, interesting cocktails and their breakfast tacos (which you can get catered to your home or office!) I was helping her fix her location data and in the click of a button, I turned Poco NYC into a seafood restaurant. 

Not long after I clicked the button, Google sent me a thank you email that encouraged me with reward points to make more changes to local businesses!

As of the writing of this blog, Google does NOT offer a way to suppress or turn off “Suggest an edit.”

How scary is that?

As a business owner there are 2 actions you can take to protect yourself from people incorrectly, or worse, nefariously, changing your location data.

1. Claim your Google My Business listing

– it’s free and relatively easy to do. Once you have control of your profile, you can quickly make edits and updates to your page. Here’s a quick video that will show you how to claim your Google My Business listing.

2. Use software like Yext PowerListings® to control all your location data.

Yext will save you dozens, if not hundreds, of the man hours that it would take to update your location data on all their partner websites through a single dashboard. You can update Bing, Yahoo!, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare and dozens of other listing sites, including Google, with their software.

One of the best parts of using Yext to control your location data is that it locks it so that no one can make an alteration. You have the ultimate control of your data. It’s worth the $50 a month cost just for that feature alone.

By the way, this is not a sponsored post and no one at Yext asked me to write it. But, I am a fan of what they do and I would advocate using their software.

I also advocate for eating this Burger from Duke’s Original Roadhouse on the Upper East Side. They call it the “Southern Comfort” and it comes topped with crispy bacon, onion rings, monterey jack & Duke’s roadhouse sauce.

KEY TAKEAWAY:
Claiming your Google My Business listing is vitally important to a brick and mortar business. Anyone on the web can make edits to your business listing and the only way to correct it is by manually changing the information or through using location data management software.

Do you need help correcting and managing your location data accuracy?

Is your location data so bad that people literally can’t search for your business online while standing in front of your door?

I can help you. 

Email me: fixmydata@burgerconquest.com

– Rev

Posted in Burgers, Google My Business, Location Data, Marketing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Here Is Why You Should Stop Using PDFs for Your Restaurant Menus

Stop it. Just stop.

Stop uploading PDF menus to your website.

If you scroll through the photos app on my smart phone you’re going to see exactly what you expect, and endless stream of Burger, pizza, fries and other comfort food. I’m a big fan of the #lategram: sharing a photo to Instagram hours, days, weeks or even months after it was taken. Like most foodstagrammers, I bank photos for later use so I always have content to share on a daily basis.

pdfs-bad-seo-restaurant-menus-burger-conquest-food-photos-3921

Often times I can’t recall from the top of my head the exact and complete list of toppings were on a Burger I ate or the funny name of that sandwich I devoured. When that happens I have to go to the restaurant’s website and look it up. Usually I just cut and paste the description into my Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Blog post. However, it’s nearly impossible when on mobile to cut and paste from a PDF menu.

But that’s really NOT the justification you should stop using PDF menus on your restaurant website. There’s a much more important reason; it’s a huge search mistake.

Yes, the search engine web crawlers can read and index them, but they don’t like it because it takes extra steps. They might look nice and be easy for people to share on desktop but you are effectively helping to bury them in search. Yes, there are ways to optimize a PDF to be more scannable but why handicap yourself?

Check out this tasty cheesesteak from Jack’s Cabin in Hoboken, NJ. Also check out their menu, it’s a perfect example of what you should do. (Admittedly,  by turning it into an image on this website isn’t helping, but the back link to it is!)

pdfs-bad-seo-restaurant-menus-burger-conquest-food-photos-jacks-cabin-14-29-pm
PDFs often lack some of the key search information that the search engines need to be able to know exactly what the content is about. You are far better off having a page on your website built in html that you can easily update the text for a menu. When the text is on the actual site, search engines are able to index it in the context of how it relates to the rest of your website / business.

You know what is even worse than a PDF menu? A png or jpeg of your menu! They are absolutely unreadable by a search engine!

pdfs-bad-seo-restaurant-menus-burger-conquest-callahans-fort-lee-3416Double Cheeseburger with Bacon from Callahan’s The Original Hot Dog Emporium in Fort Lee, NJ.

KEY TAKEAWAY:

  • PDF menus are harder for search engines to read than regular html
  • Using a PDF menu on your website will hurt your search results
  • PDF menus do not contain the context information a search engine needs to apply it to the rest of your website

If you are absolutely insistent on using a PDF, first of all admit that you are being lazy and then follow the steps in this optimization guide from trademarkmedia.

For more information on how to avoid common mistakes restaurants make online, read this article on GeoMarketing.com

Posted in Marketing, Search | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 2 Secrets To Winning at Local Search SEO

I’m obsessed with how little value restaurant operators and owners place on location data accuracy.

They’ll tell me that they were just featured on [insert] media site or just had some influencer post their signature dish on Instagram and it got 3,000+ likes or that they hired a publicist for $5,000 a month and spent several thousand dollars on competing and [fill in the blank] high-profile food event.

Great.

So if someone who happens to be looking for a good Burger joint who doesn’t read that website, isn’t following that influencer and didn’t attend that event (which mathematically is close to 100% of the population) and they search “best Burger near me,” then what does that restaurant have working to attract that customer?

arthurs-steaks-hoboken-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest

Chances are though, they obsessed over negotiating the difference of a $00.05 per pound on a key item they buy from a distributor or spent more than hour updating Twitter, Facebook & Instagram but did not include appropriate hashtags, calls to action or geo-location targeting all the while, the food menu on their website is outdated. Priorities …

Take a look at these statistics:

  • 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase (TMP / comScore)
  • 74% of internet users perform local searches (Kelsey Group)
  • 73% of online activity is related to local content (Google)
  • 61% of local searches result in purchases (TMP / comScore)

Putting “word of mouth” aside, the odds are in the favor that someone is likely to happen upon a local restaurant through a search engine. Don’t get me wrong, all that other stuff is good and can drive in new customers, but it supports local search, it doesn’t trump it.

To win at local search, you need to know what the search engines have been programmed to find. 

ACCURACY

There is nothing more important in local search than accuracy. Think about it this way; if someone searches “best tacos near me” (“near me” is one of the top Google search terms and has doubled alone in the last year) and they happen to be literally standing in front of a restaurant that offers tacos, the web crawlers will return with results that have the highest amount of instances of similar and recent data.

If the web crawlers see that a restaurant has their name listed differently on their website than it is on their Yelp page and something else on their Facebook page, they score that business negatively in search.

Example: Let’s say your business is called “David’s Morning Cafe.” But for some reason when you claimed your Yelp page it’s listed as “David’s Cafe” and on Facebook you forgot the apostrophe so it reads as “Davids Morning Cafe,” Google will know they are the same business but look unfavorably upon it from a search perspective.

This is a real problem and it happens way more often than you think it does.

Check out this example; sam a.m. in Jersey City. You’ll notice that the inconsistencies in the how the name of the business is listed.

sam-a-m-jc-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-51-35-pm

Website:
sam-a-m-jc-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-36-31-pmGoogle:
sam-a-m-jc-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-36-19-pmFacebook:sam-a-m-jc-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-36-04-pmYelp:sam-a-m-jc-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-35-14-pm

Now check out this pork on pork sandwich they have on the menu. It’s amazing!

It could be from mismanagement, like different people registering different accounts, or someone forgetting an apostrophe. It could be from customers and users updating the information on their own. It could also be from the networks themselves trying to self correct to be accurate (ever get a pop-up from Facebook after you check in at a restaurant asking for their hours?) The point is, it’s easy to mess up and easy to lose control.

You probably think this is something that only happens to small mom and pop restaurants right?

  • Is it Red Robin or Red Robin Gourmet Burgers?

red-robin-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-45-40-pmred-robin-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-45-33-pm

  • Is it Five Guys or Five Guys Burgers or Five Guys Burgers & Fries?

five-guys-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-46-21-pm five-guys-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-46-06-pm

  • Is it Capital Grille or Capital Grille? Is there a “The” that proceeds either?

the-capital-grille-memphis-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-53-22-pm-35-15-pm the-capital-grille-memphis-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-53-22-pm

Location data inaccuracy happens all the time to all sizes of businesses.

But that’s not all.

RELEVANCY

The search engines that propagate local search are also looking for relevancy.

What does that mean? In a nutshell; recent positive ratings and reviews. If they can see that a local business is getting a lot of positive reviews, they will favor that over a local business that has all of their location data correct or has more back links and search queries. It’s true.

Would you rather go to a restaurant with a 4-star Facebook rating that hasn’t had a new review post in more than a year or a restaurant with a 4-star Facebook rating that has several reviews from last week?

Pretend you did a search for a local pizza joint. Pretend you did a search for a local pizza joint. Several results come up that have 3.5 stars or higher on Yelp.

best-pizza-hoboken-yelp-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-53-22-pm

  • Pizza Joint A has 4 stars and 95 reviews
  • Pizza Joint B has 4 stars and 239 reviews
  • Pizza Joint C has 5 stars and 10 reviews

Which would you choose? The answers is obvious, you are going to Johnny Pepperoni.

That is because you would choose the restaurant that meets the following criteria:

  • Highest rating
  • Most amount of reviews
  • Most amount of recent reviews

Search engines work the same exact way. More recent positive reviews means more customers are choosing to recommend one business over another and therefore are more pertinent.

The search engines want to deliver the absolute best results to you the user. That means they have to have the information correct when they send it to you and they want to have the results be the best of the best so that you are connected to what you are looking for faster.

PRIORITIES

It’s been reported that the half-life of a tweet can be as fast as 5 minutes. Studies have shown that a post on Facebook has a life expectancy around 5 hours. Ratings and reviews and location data are forever. Local search happens in real time. Therefore it could be argued that you are better off spending time validating the accuracy of your online location data and responding to reviews than posting updates on social media … or negotiating 3 cents on that head of lettuce.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Search engines rely on a system of accuracy and relevancy to deliver search results.
  • The local business with more accurate location data across all channels and with more recent positive ratings and reviews has the best shot to come out on the top of searches.

Want to learn a little bit more about perfecting local search? Check out this blog post:
3 Easy Ways To Rank Higher In Search Results

CONTRADICTORY SIDE NOTE

While in the middle of writing this, I saw these fries on @SkinnyPigNYC and immediately started making plans to visit Mile End.

I wonder if Mile End Delicatessen knows that they have 76% inaccurate location listings, most of which have to do with their name?

mile-end-winning-local-search-seo-burger-conquest-34-45-pm

Posted in Burgers, Location Data, Marketing, Search | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Seriously Upgrade Your Restaurant or Bar For Less Than $300

Your bar needs an upgrade. You know it, I know and the customers who have chosen to take their business elsewhere know it. Maintenance and upkeep are hard enough with daily operations that the idea of an upgrade causes aneurysm level stress without even seeing an estimate.

bathroom-691341_1280

OK relax. I’m not talking about that kind of upgrade. If this is your bathroom, you already know what needs to be done. 

Assuming that’s not your restaurant, don’t worry. I have 2 very simple, easy and inexpensive upgrades that you can do this week, that will have serious impact on the way customers regard your business.

PROBLEM:
What does nearly every single female customer take with them into the bar? Besides a sense of pride and a need for libation, most women carry a purse. That purse contains some of the most important things in their life; a wallet, a cell phone, keys and who knows what else.

photo-1445633814773-e687a5de9baa

You know what they don’t want to do with that purse? They don’t want to lose it and they don’t want to put it on the dirty floor either. The same goes for men carrying bags. Bags could draped over the back of the chair, balanced them on a lap or maybe held but it’s certainly not preferred.

stocksnap_aw1i0l8ydz


EASY UPGRADE 1:
Put hooks to hang bangs under the bar. Install one every other seat that way there is one hook per person seated. For less than $20 you can get 10 of these: Richohome Retro Octopus Double Prong Robe Hook,Coat and Hat Hook- Pack of 10.

richohome-retro-octopus-double-prong-robe-hookcoat-and-hat-hook

While you are at it, get 10 more and make sure there is one on the back of the door in all of your bathrooms. Nobody, including you, wants to put their bag or jacket on the floor of a bathroom that isn’t in their own home.

Putting hooks on the bathroom doors and under the bars shows that you thought of the customer first. It lets them know that your customer service is a cut above the rest.

Click here and buy some hooks from Amazon.com right now.

PROBLEM:
You know who loves to eat out when they have the chance? Moms, Dads and Grandparents. You know how often they get to eat out, have a hot meal or even just be able to sit down while they eat? If you have kids then you know the answer is practically never.

Most people think Saturday and Sunday afternoons are just for boozy brunchers but that’s also when parents with young kids can get out of the house to see friends, eat lunch and blow off some steam. They might be looking for a place with a kid -friendly menu or perhaps accessible parking and if you have those, great. But you know what’s more important to new parents than anything else when choosing where to go with their kids?

EASY UPGRADE #2
A diaper changing station.

ecr4kids-horizontal-commercial-baby-changing-station

Without fail, every single time my wife and I take our baby out with us for a meal, the first thing we do is call and ask if they have a baby changing station. We might go there and the food could be amazing or they might have an unbelievable selection of craft beer but it will be totally known there forward as the place without a changing station.

For less than $2oo you can order the ECR4Kids Horizontal Commercial Baby Changing Station with 500 Disposable Liners from Amazon. Do it now.

ecr4kids-horizontal-commercial-baby-changing-station-hanger-liners

Also, I’ve never been to a bar that had a station with liners. I didn’t even know that was a thing until I wrote this post. I guarantee if we found a bar or restaurant that not only had a changing station but was always stocked with liners, we would go there before anywhere else.

Most parents roll with other parents who have kids their age and gems like that become a quick topic of conversation. Make it easy for a parent or grandparent to take their kids out and you will make loyal customers out of them.

Want to be a real fave with parents who want to spend their money at a restaurant or bar? Put a changing station in both the women’s and men’s room. Most restaurants will put one in the women’s room but Dad’s change diapers too.

Do Mom’s a favor and click here to buy a baby changing station from Amazon right now.


CASE IN POINT

I can tell you 2 things about The Quiet Man Public House in Peekskill, NY. First of all, they have an absolutely, over the top and ridiculous Burger called the “Mad Mac.” They call it the “twisted version with all the fixings” but I call it a “food party!”

the-quiet-man-public-house-peekskill-burger

It comes topped with corned beef, Irish bacon, bacon jam, fried mac n cheese and onion rings on a brioche bun.

You know what else I remember about The Quiet Man Public House? They do not have a baby changing station in their bathrooms. I know this because on my last visit we had to change our son on a table in the corner of the restaurant. The staff was super nice about  it, very accommodating and also apologetic.

The food is great and the place has a really nice vibe. But it’s burned in my head now that if we want to go there, it means there is going to baby butt in everyone’s face at some point.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Upgrade your bar or restaurant for less than $300 by installing a baby changing station and under the bar coat / bag hooks.

friedmac_0-edit_0

You could also try adding crazy toppings to your Burgers, but I would suggest trying the hooks and station first. Once you do, here is a recipe for deep fried mac n cheese from Food Republic.

 

Posted in Burgers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Get Your Customers to Take Action

CALLS TO ACTION

My mother used to always say to me “don’t ask, don’t get.” She taught me the valuable lesson of learning to ask for things. They say the number one mistake sales people make is not asking for the sale and the same rings true for restaurant and bar operators.

If you don’t ask your customers for feedback, positive ratings on review sites like Yelp & TripAdvisor or to sign up for your newsletter, you shouldn’t expect them to do it. Even a dog knows when it’s time to ask for dinner! Chances are that dog gets fed every day around the same time but he doesn’t want to take the chance you might forget.

begging-dog-burger-conquest-dinner

Be like your dog, ask for the dinner.

I used to be a co-owner of a bar in New York City called Idle Hands Bar. By the time we sold the bar and closed it for good, we had 174 reviews and a 4.1 star rating on Yelp. That didn’t happen by chance. We used to host a weekly Wednesday night beer tasting event. At the beginning of the event we would make an introduction announcement andI ended it the same way every time;

“If you have a 5-star kind of experience tonight, would you mind giving us that rating on Yelp?” People did.

I followed that with “And if you don’t feel that we have you a 5-star experience tonight, stop me while you are here in the bar tonight and tell me how we could’ve improved.” They did.

For those things that we got wrong, we learned to correct them. For those things that we did right, people rewarded us by giving us a positive review on Yelp.


Read Darwin G.‘s review of Idle Hands Bar on Yelp


This rule doesn’t just apply to ratings & review or in store communications. You need to be asking all the time. In the business world this is a call to action (CTA); a request for immediate action from an audience.

If you want people to sign up for your email subscriber list, you need to ask them to do it. But you should also make it easy to do and offer them a reason to do it.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST AND GET A FREE APPETIZER

Which sounds more appealing to you?

texas-roadhouse-vip-club-free-appetizer

Texas Roadhouse knows that when you see those onion petals and the word “FREE” you’ll gladly send over those personal details. Want to meet me at the Teterboro, NJ location once it opens and split my order?

Check out this Ben & Jerry’s call to action. As part of their social conscience program, they planned to delete some flavors that used ingredients that could be effected by climate change. They called them “Endangered Pints” and put all the ingredients & flavors on their website. They took a photos of those pints and shared it on Instagram.

In their call to action they asked followers to click the link in their bio. For the passionate Ben & Jerry’s fanatic, they clicked and participated in the conversation.

When coming up with your CTA, think of it in terms of an exchange. You would like the customer to do something but what can you do for them if they take the requested action? It doesn’t always have to be a free drink or appetizer. Sometimes helping the customer on their journey is enough.

If you’re marketing message is about birthday parties, don’t just tell me you offer them, tell me how I can book one and make sure it’s easy!

photo-1464347744102-11db6282f854

To help you along your way, here is a list of great initiatives that a restaurant can use to create calls to action that market and bring in new customers.

  • Book a private party
  • Make a reservation
  • Subscriber to a newsletter
  • Download a coupon
  • Follow on _____ social network
  • Buy a ticket

Want to know what not to do when it comes to calls to action?

Never, ever, ever, ever, never buy or place advertising without a call to action. That’s a HUGE waste of your money. Check out this sponsored post on Instagram from 123 Burger Shot Beer, a bar in NYC.

123-burger-shot-beer-instagram

I’ve been there. It’s a good concept and they run a nice business. In this advertisement they spent money just to tell you what the “123” in their name stands for. Cool. But now what? You don’t know where this is, you don’t know if they show sports on their TVs, they didn’t ask you to follow them, click to their page or site or do anything else at all that would move you along the sales journey.

Allow me to help…

How does $1 Burgers, $2 shots and $3 beers sound to you? Check out 123 Burger Shot Beer in Hell’s Kitchen NYC! Follow @123bsb on Instagram for event information, party photos and killer food shots like this!

Our Double Cheeseburgers #foodporn #sports #drinks#cocktails #sportsbar#jelloshots#cheapdrinks#boozypopsicles#fastfood

A photo posted by 123 Burger Shot Beer (@123bsb) on

KEY TAKEAWAY

The best way to get your customers to take an action is to use a call to action that gives them something valuable in return.

Posted in Burgers, Marketing, Strategy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment