How to drive customers to your online ordering site

Posted by Elizabeth Kelly

Elizabeth was the Marketing Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions from 2017 to 2021. As the previous Managing Editor for the On Point Blog, she ensured our audiences got the restaurant and delivery technology information and news that we're known for.

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You have invested a fair amount of money into your pizzeria’s online ordering site, but are your customers using it? Below are a few best practices for ensuring your online ordering site is easy to find.


Optimize Your Site for Search Engines

Before you set out to spend money on advertising your online ordering site online, make sure you are getting as many organic (non-paid) visits as possible to your website from search engines. Organic visits occur any time a customer searches for something related to your online ordering site on a search engine like Google, and clicks on a link to your website.  

1. Set up your Google My Business profile

Ensure your Google My Business profile is set up. This will put your restaurant on the map—literally. It is how you get listed on Google Maps, and how you get a prominent feature (like a side-bar image and description of your business) when someone googles your business name. We discussed the in-and-outs of setting this up for restaurants in the article Google My Business Primer [New Features for Restaurants]. For restaurants that offer online ordering, it is possible to set up an “Order Now” button that leads to your online ordering website. 

A large part of your organic website traffic will be from local searches, like "best pizza place near me." Setting up your Google My Business profile is one step to take to increase your ranking in results for searches like this.

2. Ensure your menu is easy to find

There is nothing more frustrating for your customers than going to your website looking for an “order online” button, only to have to spend time clicking around to find the online menu buried deep within the site, or worse yet, not find it at all. Make sure the link to your online ordering site is easily visible from your restaurant’s home page. 

Check this by asking a friend to Google your restaurant, open your website and try to place a delivery order. See how long it takes them to find your online ordering site, and if they had any issues. If your customers can’t find it, they’ll move on to the competition. 

3. Respond to reviews

If a customer found your online ordering site through a search engine, chances are they will also read your reviews. Respond to the reviews of your restaurant, both the good and the bad, to show these customers that you pay attention, and care about your quality of service. We covered a few best practices in Responding to Online Reviews of Your Restaurant

On review sites such as Yelp, take the time to go through and update your profile with how customers can contact you, and the link to your online ordering site. Search engines consider how many reputable sites link to your website when ranking results, so this works two-fold: it will help increase the ranking of your site on Google and Yahoo, and it will help the review site visitors find your website.


Move Customers from 3rd Parties to your website

In a recent webinar on delivery profitability, Previti Pizza owner Kevin Wade referred to third party online ordering as a “necessary evil.” He talked about the importance of viewing his presence on third party websites as marketing spend, rather than operational costs. The goal, he said, is to bring in new customers, and then convert them over to his own website.

In a previous post, we discussed how to encourage customers to order directly from you, rather than through a third-party. There are a few strategies, including offering discounts, using box-toppers, and offering loyalty rewards. 


Advertise Online

If after you’ve optimized your Google account, and your website for organic search results, if you still aren’t getting the visits to your website that you would like, consider using paid online advertising. 


Advertise Offline

Advertise the link to your online ordering site everywhere. Print the URL on your pizza boxes, menus, and physical coupons. Put a sign up in your restaurant. When customers call in to place an order, ask them if they know about your online ordering site. Simple human-to-human communication will go a long way towards increasing the awareness of your site. 

Dominic Barraco, the owners of Zazzo's in Westmont, IL, told us in an interview on PMQ that he added the link to his website everywhere he could. “I added the website to my boxes, bags, a direct link from my company website. I removed my take-out menu from my website entirely, now that customers can see everything from the online ordering site. It encourages them to order online rather than call in.”

It will take time to build awareness of your online ordering site, but by being consistent in promoting it, you will be able to grow your online ordering, and ultimately your sales.

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Posted on Wed, Oct 30, 2019 @ 07:10 AM.
Updated on May 4, 2022 @ 12:06 AM PST.

Tags: Online Ordering, Restaurant Marketing

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