Customers can be funny sometimes. They can tell you exactly what they want, and, as marketers, we can totally ignore them. To see what I mean, head on over to my new current 10-second timeout, Never Said About Restaurant Websites. It's a short-form, funny blog, written in pure satire/sarcasm about what elements of restaurant websites get under the skin of patrons.
If I were to open a restaurant today and I wanted an online presence (who wouldn't?), you'd better bet that I'd read through this comical yet true list of posts and make sure I don't do what this site is lampooning.
What's hard for me to understand is this: So many people clearly dislike Flash intros, small "click to skip" text, cursive text, outdated information, and hard-to-find key information. Yet so many restaurants' websites ignore this. Do they create a website like this because that's what other restaurants do?
The main reasons people go to restaurant websites are for:
- location (including a map, a restaurant address, a parking address if it's different than the restaurant's address, maybe even a visual explanation or description, and perhaps even GPS coordinates)
- hours of operation
- phone number(s)/an email address/a Twitter ID /a Facebook fan page URL/basic, upfront contact information
- a downloadable and viewable menu
If you're a restaurant owner, be bold, and break the mold. Use current data and trends to help your customers find you and like you (and I don't mean on Facebook). For example, head over to Yelp and see how the site classifies and displays information, such as hours, attire, and the like. Why not make all that kind of information for your restaurant incredibly findable and obvious on your website?
Case in point: I have two kids. A few years back, I didn't really care if a restaurant had a kids' menu. Today, I do. When I go to a restaurant website and I see the option to view a menu (or download it), and I can easily find the kids' menu, that restaurant earns a point in my book. They've made my job of potentially selecting them that much easier. They've marketed to me by making the information I want that much easier to find.
This isn't limited to funny sites like Never Said About Restaurant Websites lampooning bad restaurant websites. The conversation is all around you: social media, Yelp, e-pinions, discussion boards, Google reviews. You just have to go listen to what customers don't want, and do the opposite.
Restaurants aside, are you giving your website visitors the info they need and want upfront? Or are you making them dig for it, at the expense of a Flash intro that no one really watches anyway?
p.s.: Heading to the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Forum 2011 in Austin next week? Great! I'm speaking at a 9:00a session ("New To You: Social Media Best Practices to Heat Up Your Marketing"). Stop in and say hi, or find me there at another session!