Market Brew

March 17, 2015

Run Your Digital Marketing Program Like A Restaurant

Run Your Digital Marketing Program Like A Restaurant

Over the weekend I came up with a funny analogy – if search bots were human, they would be restaurant critics, so for successful search rankings it makes sense to run your digital marketing program like a restaurant.

Before you chuck this away as laughable, think about it…wouldn’t you want your food inspected by the chef for quality before it was served to you? From confirming it matches your order to making sure it meets quality standards, I think your answer is yes. Additionally, my guess is that after a pleasant dining experience, you will rush off to write rave reviews on websites like Yelp, Facebook and maybe even your personal blog. Ultimately these references will help the restaurant rank higher and generate more traffic, which will equate to more revenue…right?

Since the foundational purpose of SEO is to drive traffic and revenue, let me ask…why do you serve search bots before your site is inspected? My hope at this point, is that you are ready to explore this concept in greater depth, as we analyze the different roles within the restaurant as they relate to modern digital marketing and why you must empower your head of SEO to be your Executive Chef. The best way to look at this comparative analogy is to view it through the lens of a diner’s experience, so let’s begin by analyzing each role carefully.

Interior Designer = Front-End Designer

When you first arrive at a restaurant you are immediately greeted by the visual design and decor of the space. A restaurant with great food but poor decor and design will typically not do well or at the very least have limited success. Based on this factor alone, patrons will immediately cast judgement on everything else and assume that the food is bad too. As a result, many will explore other options on where to eat, and consequently leave.

A website’s look and feel are no different, and can also be detrimental to a site’s popularity and growth. In web design, bounce rates are a clear reflection of this similar reaction by visitors. As we look at minimizing bounce rates, an aesthetically pleasing website for the visitor, that also has a great xml sitemap and link architecture for the search engine, will make a search bot want to explore deeper, index it properly and attribute the correct weightings to each page.

Restaurant Host = Social Media Ambassador

Upon arrival at a restaurant, we are greeted by a host. Their job is to be the welcoming face of the business who guides us to our dining table, hands us the menu and introduces the server. A host who is improperly dressed, has a bad attitude or doesn’t know how to manage the restaurant traffic flow properly can turn customers away.

Similarly, in digital marketing the Social Media Ambassador has a similar function with similar consequences at risk. They are the client facing image of an organization, welcoming visitors and providing information. From tweets to Facebook status updates to blogs post, they are the voice of the brand and ultimately the website. A bad tweet could send people running.

Menu Writer = Content Marketing Specialist

After receiving a menu, we immediately begin to scan it trying to pick up keywords that resonate with our cravings. For many, reading something like a flame kissed filet mignon, grilled and seasoned to perfection will usually have a better chance at being sold at a higher price than something that simply says Filet Mignon.

Website content is just as important, and in SEO content is definitely still king. With attention to the keywords and thereby traffic you are targeting, and more specifically the audience that it is intended for, your content team must be able to create engaging articles that people not only want to immerse themselves in but share across various outlets with peers who share similar interests.

Restaurant Server = Conversion Rate Optimizer

How many of you are guilty of being up-sold by a great server? Once upon a time I was a server, so my apologies for doing this to you, but let’s be honest – your taste buds loved me for it. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for your wallet. A server is not only there to take your order but they are there to “educate” you, make sure you have a great experience and ultimately make you drop more money by up-selling you.

The Conversion Rate Optimizer, by the internet marketing definition according to Wikipedia, is responsible for implementing the “method of creating an experience for a website or landing page visitor with the goal of increasing the percentage of visitors that convert into customers”. Seems like a pretty similar goal don’t you think?

Point of Sale = Content Management System

Now that you have ordered, the next thing that happens at any restaurant should be a well oiled machine. It all starts with the Point of Sale (POS) software system, where the server enters the order instructions for the kitchen staff. The expediter then calls out the instructions that he receives from the POS to the kitchen staff – ensuring that everything comes together flawlessly to make sure your order is presented on-time and to succulent perfection.

In the tech world, once design, content, and copy have been determined, the process is quite similar to how your restaurant order was created. The web developer enters everything into the website’s Content Management System (CMS), such as WordPress, and the end-result is a well oiled experience for the user.

Executive Chef = Director of SEO

It is the responsibility of the Executive Chef to setup proper procedures to avoid catastrophic mistakes like improper food handling, an unsanitary environment or contamination, which could cause allergic reactions or food sensitivities in restaurant guests. The government’s restaurant inspector is responsible for penalizing restaurants and their Executive Chefs who do not follow proper procedures. In extreme cases, a restaurant can be shut down indefinitely for not following the rules.

Search bots are essentially those inspectors, who can apply website penalties, reducing a website’s ability to rank by burying pages below the fold, or worse yet, by removing a website from their search index altogether. Like the Executive Chef, the Director of SEO is responsible for setting up proper procedures and following best practices, thereby avoiding catastrophic penalties.

In SEO, improving page authority by pleasing the search bots will have them coming back for more and help to gain higher rankings and bring more traffic, better converting traffic.