Outside Insights | November 2017

How Small Restaurants Can Compete with Web Content

The web can be a perfect place to boost your restaurant's branding for a low cost.
Web content does not only make businesses more trustworthy to a customer, it also makes them more worthy of being shared. flickr: Marco Verch
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According to the National Restaurant Association, there are over a million restaurant locations in the U.S. Nine out of 10 of these restaurants have fewer than 50 employees, while seven in 10 are single-unit operations. In their State of the Industry report, the association said that projected sales for 2017 for all of these businesses are pegged at around $800 million.

These numbers indicate that small restaurant chains outnumber their larger counterparts, but there is no assurance that a big bulk of the total sales projections will go to mom-and-pop eateries. In fact, it is reasonable to believe that smaller establishments may only cop a portion of that total amount. So for owners of independent eateries, what can be done to measure up to the established branding of the larger chains and proactively raise the potential for more profits?

The answer may be surprising, but it will no doubt provide that palatable flavor to accounting books if it is handled properly. And it is called web content.

The Importance of Web Content to Business Success

An infographic by the content marketing agency PointVisible says that around 70 percent of marketers will create more B2B content for this year, while 73 percent will do more for B2C. Why? Content marketing, which involves the creation and publication of web content, is geared to be a $300 billion industry by 2019, because of the benefits that it provides to enterprises that are aiming for business success.

What are these benefits and why are they worthy of recognition for small chain restaurants?

More Trust from Clients

It is projected that around 70 percent of customers prefer to learn about a company through their articles rather than a targeted ad. In addition, 68 percent of them will feel better about a brand after they have consumed some of its content. In other words, content generates more trust for businesses that take the time to invest in proper web content production.

Small restaurant chains may not have as much brand recall as larger enterprises, but web content can level the field between the two. A small eatery that routinely dishes out informative articles and other content that are designed to help customers get more pleasant dining experiences, for example, will be able to establish a better name for itself. And customers can reward the help that it has provided with patronage.

More Leads and Returns

Web content does not only make businesses more trustworthy to a customer, it also makes them more worthy of being shared. That can translate to more Web traffic, which can boost brand recognition and entice clients to give the business a try. For example, infographics are three times as likely to be shared than other forms of content, which can significantly—and positively—impact reach and engagement with target audiences. Similarly, emails that have customized subject lines are 26 percent more likely to be opened than those with generic content.

More importantly, web content can get through the walls that consumers have erected to protect themselves from the constant barrage of ads in the digital sphere. For example, it is reported that around 309 million users have ad-blocking enabled on their mobile phones. So while a big brand can invest in as many sponsored ads as it wants, at the end of the day, a blog post may serve more advantage in reaching out and actually getting through to customers.

How to Manage Web Content for Optimal Growth

The advantages that web content marketing offers should be harnessed properly through the right strategies and techniques. For small restaurant chains that wish to capitalize on these advantages and use them towards their success, consider two of the most effective web content methodologies.

Making Proper Use of Tools and Resources

Web content marketing can be automated to fit certain business needs, as well as ease the process for entrepreneurs that are only getting started at it. Tools and resources such as templates are ideal for managing some important aspects that go into web content creation and syndication; chief among these are managing what goes on social media pages, mapping the content that the business should ideally cover, and taking stock of the best keywords for the niche.

If these sound too technical, there are plenty of articles and videos on the Web that can provide comprehensive guidance even to beginner content marketers. Additionally, there are solutions providers that can help a small business make the best of its content marketing goals at its available budget.

Personalizing the Approach

Templates and other resources are designed to deliver a great customer experience, but they are not enough to communicate what a business is truly about. In a successful web content marketing plan, the core of the techniques and strategies should represent the unique selling points of the business. This is especially important for small businesses that want to make a name for themselves in an industry that is already saturated with too many competitors.

Arthur Gibbs is the current executive content director for Project Macro. He has covered health care, lifestyle trends, and business for more than 10 years for different publications. Born and raised in NYC, he prefers biking around the city and traveling the world searching for the next mountain to climb.