How One Restaurant Makes Sure Every Online Menu Stays the Same

If you’re marketing a restaurant online these days, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Aside from the website, you have to think about creating a Facebook Pagea Twitter account, and about a dozen menus and information for just as many review sites.
It doesn’t take long for everything to get scattered. The menu on your website may be current, but the one on Yelp could be completely out-of-date. If you have multiple locations, the hours for one could be right, but the hours for another could be totally wrong.

That’s what Judi Window found when she started marketing for Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse, locally owned, New Hampshire-based restaurant franchise with three locations across the state.

“We would have one website where our menu was from 2007, then another with a PDF that you couldn’t even open,” she says. “I knew I had to find a way to present everything in one big circle and that’s when I found SinglePlatform.”

Out of the frying pan and into the organizer

Judi was already an avid user of Email Marketing from Constant Contact, so when she heard about SinglePlatform, she was intrigued.

“We had old menus shuffled around everywhere on different sites, so I had to do a lot of organizational clean-up,” she recalls. The old menus made for a confusing experience across the board, whether you were a diner or the owner of the restaurant.

Judi wanted to find a way to make one menu that could be promoted across dozens of different sites at once and continually changed, too, so she could update it with specials and promotions.

She moved everything onto SinglePlatform in late December.

“I love SinglePlatform. I just go to one place to update the menu and it gets published on TripAdvisor, Google Places, our website, our Facebook Page and more, all at once,” she says.

Now, with just a single click, Judi can make sure that all three restaurants show the same menus, promotions, and specials, on every site where diners can find a menu.

The long future of Shorty’s

Without having to worry about whether or not there’s an errant menu from five years ago on a review site, Judi is free to focus on her other efforts to promote Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse.

She says that her big initiative now is to redesign the website and make it more user-friendly. She’s also experimenting with what works when it comes to using email marketing to connect with Shorty’s 9,500 contacts.

“SinglePlatform has saved me so much time,” she says. “I’ve started encouraging a lot of other organizations to use it, too, because it just makes everything so much more streamlined.”

Judi has big plans for the future. Now that everything is organized she can think about how to strategically publish specials, promotions, and offers, because no matter where diners are looking online, they’ll find the same menu.

Download the full case study

Keeping Up With Consumers: The Toughest SMB Marketing Challenge

I’m admittedly a bit of a social media/tech geek.  I love to try out the latest and greatest (or not so great) social networks and apps and often insist on telling people about them.  I also generally like everything. To that point where I have even come around on Google+, which I used to really enjoy bashing.
But I am a marketer by trade and literally get paid to know all this stuff. As a local business owner I can only imagine how it must all feel.  Just when you start getting comfortable with one marketing channel, another appears.  And another, and another and another.

In fact, our latest eBook shows that 70% of local business owners state that they don’t have the time to keep their online listings up to date on all of the networks that consumers use.  Heck, I barely have time to keep up with all of networks and I’m not trying to run a spa or a restaurant or a construction business.

So, what should you do about it?  I have three pieces of advice.

1) Focus on the networks that matter to your core audience.  Maybe you know what your customers like already, but it never hurts to ask them what channels they like and what they want to hear about from you.  For some businesses Twitter is right, for others it’s Yelp.  For many others it’s Facebook.  Don’t risk wasting your valuable time by just guessing!  Not sure what each network does?  Check out Constant Contact’s Social Quickstarter web site for a quick overview.

2) Use a tool to help you manage your listings.  While there are certainly challenges associated with the multitude of listing sites and social networks there are also many positives.  Even as the Internet splinters into tons of networks you can get your products and services in front of people by using software (like SinglePlatform) that lets you update once and publish everywhere people search online.  You can make yourself crazy by trying to be everywhere at once but there are tools to help make your life easier!

3) Run your business first.  My friend Mark Schmulen, co-founder of NutshellMail (also acquired by Constant Contact), likes to say “there is no marketing cure for sucking” and I totally agree.  If you’re not creating a great experience for your customers when they visit your business than it doesn’t matter what networks you are on.

How much do you worry about keeping up with the latest consumer networks?

Download our free eBook to see how local businesses are using local and mobile search to drive their business.

[Study] 78% of Local Businesses Believe New Customers Find Them via Search Engines

On this blog we often talk about how the way that consumers find local businesses has fundamentally changed over the last few years.
While traditional methods of attracting new customers to your location still may work, those local businesses who do not take advantage of online and mobile search directories, ratings and review sites, and social networks to find new customers will be left behind. In fact recent industry data shows that 2/3 of consumers use local search to find businesses at least once a week.

The good news is that many local businesses are starting to reap the benefits of this leveling of the playing field.  Today, you can win by being found online without buying tons of ads that many small businesses can’t afford.  But it’s not enough to just have your name and your hours published in your online listings across the internet.  You need to be include your products, your services, your prices, and more so whatever people are searching for they will find your business if you have what they need.

According to Google, more than half of local searches don’t have a specific destination in mind.  That means that your potential customers are searching for things like “flowers” or “buffalo wings” or “auto repair” near them and not just “Danny’s Pizza” or “Flower Barn.”

In fact, according to our own just released research, 78% of small businesses believe that they are getting new customers through search engines today and 85% of small businesses already believe it is important to be seen on major search sites like Google, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Yellow Pages .

While local businesses have traditionally been slower to adopt emerging avenues for getting new customers in the past, tons are already seeing the benefits of creating compelling digital storefronts across the web.

If you’re not putting your best foot forward by featuring your products and services on key search sites and mobile apps, you may be missing opportunities to reach consumers as they search for a great local business to visit.

Learn more by downloading our free eBook, 10 Facts: Why Small Business Owners Need to Pay Attention to Mobile and Local Search.