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How do I engage and excite online customers?

This is a loaded question. There is no absolute answer.Clearly, the simple answer is to serve world-class food with superb service atgood prices, provide the right ambiance and select an easy-to-access location.If you have all of the above, clients and critics will rave about you online.You will need to do very little to excite the online community. All you willneed is time and a little bit of luck.

In the absence of the above, we have compiled a list foryou. Just check off all items on the list and give it a bit of time:

 

First and foremost, get a domain name and create a website. Most of you have already done these, but some of you haven’t updated your website in years. Do so by giving it a fresh look (we recommend Web 2.0, but that is a topic for another day). Here are a few tips (most are common sense):

moBistro Google   moBistro Bing
Make sure that your website is a good reflection of your “brand.” We recommend limiting use of Adobe Flash, but plenty of designers/developers will disagree with us. We agree that Flash will add sex-appeal to your website, but plenty of users will not be able to view it.

Make sure that your phone number, address, menu(s) and photo gallery are easy to find.

If you have ever-changing items like specials, events or coupons; make sure they are reflected accurately. These items generally result in repeat traffic on your website.

Once you have a website, submit it to the primary search engines. The grand-daddy of them all is Google. Other big ones are Yahoo, Bing and MSN. You can hire a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialty company (be careful selecting one; some are expensive and some promise you the world), or you can read up on it and do it yourself. Wikipedia is a good source for information on this. Your basic goal is to make sure that you are listed. For example, if you are a Thai restaurant, a search of “Thai restaurant (city)” should result in your restaurant showing up.

moBistro Yahoo   moBistro MSN
Next, we come to social media. Why should you do social media? The detailed answer can take hours to write about; the simple answer is 1) Loyalty and 2) Publicity. There simply isn’t enough that you can do on social media channels. The easiest ones are Twitter (make sure it is relevant – see the moBistro Twitter example) and Facebook. There’s a yogurt place in Arizona that tweets their flavors daily and has developed quite a following. If you have time, you can blog, photo-share, video-share, wiki, do social bookmarking, etc. etc. (again, see Wikipedia).

moBistro Urbanspoon   moBistro Yelp
Last, we come to mobile devices. This would be a perfect place for a moBistro plug, but since you are reading this, you already know about moBistro. The growth statistics for mobile devices are staggering, and moBistro may even be ahead of its times. Fact is, you need a mobile presence. Period.

moBistro Twitter   moBistro Facebook
Try accessing your existing website on a mobile device (iPhone, Android, Palm, BlackBerrry, etc.). See what it looks like. If it works well and is easy to navigate, you are ahead of 98% of your competition. If not, you should get a mobile-friendly website. Talk to your existing designer/developer and get a quote. If they don’t know about moBistro, have them call us; we’ll be happy to help out. If you are tech-savvy enough to read this, you are tech-savvy enough to launch your mobile website quickly, easily and affordably directly through moBistro.

moBistro Wikipedia   moBistro CitySearch

We wish you all the best on your endeavor to create engage and excite your online customers. Remember,it is not a science; there is no absolute formula. It will take time and effort, but with patience, perseverance and a bit of good karma, success will come.

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