Treat your website like an employee. You wouldn’t put up with a disheveled member of staff standing around doing nothing. Whilst a website can’t collect glasses or stock the fridges it is a vital part of your business presentation.
Don’t rely on social media hype. Whilst important, arguably very important, don’t get too wrapped up in getting likes and shares. Social media is good for customer retention but bear in mind that people who live their life online, don’t always come and spend time and money in your pub. Learn to use those people to help spread your message but don’t overdo it. Constantly posting the same old things will lead to your audience “muting” you because you’re filling their newsfeed with nonsense...and you won’t even know.
The real world still exists. Don’t forget the basics. The A boards, the banners, the posters. But use those things to help increase your online presence – always promote your website and facebook pages on everything.
Professional photos. A good photoshoot will do wonders for your image. Put the iphone down and spend a little money on someone that will make your business shine like a beacon. It’s amazing how many photos have been sent to web designers with problems from camera shake and poor lighting to mop buckets in shot and guest bathrooms with the toilet in view and the seat up.
Keep your content up to date. Still showing Christmas menus in February shows you don’t care, if your website can automatically expire content, use it.
Let the website take the strain. It’s amazing how many bookings and enquiries are lost because the phone wasn’t answered. Use a table booking system or at least an enquiry form to let people get in touch 24 x 7. Embrace technologies like online food pre-ordering and target local businesses to use it. Can your website automatically update Facebook with menus and events for you? All these tools exist.
Use the power of online marketing tools. Email newsletters are easy ways to communicate with people. SMS marketing is massively underused and is extremely cheap. However the first thing you need to do is get people to sign up. Use signup offers, feedback cards or stick QR codes on menus and posters that link to your website’s registration page.
Loyalty Scheme. Reward and encourage repeat business with a loyalty scheme. It could be a basic ‘stamp the card’ system or a built-in online tool that is linked to your tills. Check it is actually worth it, some schemes cost as much as £200 a month.
Mobile friendly websites are a must because over 50% of people now view websites on their phones.
Is your website secure. Make sure your website is served using the https protocol.
Function over Style. Don’t make it hard for users with a website designed purely for visual stimulus and endless scrolling. Chances are they already know your style – they just want to book a table, pre-order lunch or look at your menus and events.
Don’t throw money away. Shop around. When finding a website developer it’s easy to get drawn in by clever sales tactics and then find out “extras” cost more than the original design.
Answer enquiries promptly. Make sure that any web enquiries get answered quickly. Have emails go to your phone and reply as fast as possible.
Get in with local community groups. Talk to local community groups and be willing to promote local events for free on your website, even if they are held in the village hall. By helping them they may end up moving their meetings to you, boosting your daytime trade.
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