Digital Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Email, Brand Management, SEO, Website Design, Content Management, CRM
Flor de Sal Restaurant is an award-winning fine dining restaurant in Toronto, Canada.
As Digital Marketing Manager for the past 2 years, I have been responsible for the long-term development and execution of its marketing strategy across all digital properties.
When I took on Flor de Sal as a client, I felt the navigation of their website was bulky and poorly planned, and that the restaurant’s incredible food and location were not being spotlighted enough.
While planning my proposal on how to structure the information architecture, I kept in mind that the user’s main goals when visiting the website would likely be to view the menu, check the location and hours of operation, and to make reservations. The goal was to structure the website in such a way that a user could do what they needed to do in a minimum number of steps while ensuring photos of this remarkable place were displayed front and centre.
To address this, I made sure that the user would be able to achieve their goals no matter where they located in the website by enabling them to click through to pages, significantly decreasing the need to constantly click the “back” button, resulting in an easy and intuitive navigational flow.
The design was also conceived with a “mobile-first” approach in order to tailor to users’ increased frequency of searching for restaurants on mobile, and to support local SEO targets.
Visit the restaurant’s website to see the full scope of the project.
I opted for a bold, yet clean and minimal design with high-resolution images and video. The goal was to craft a visual style that would support the high-end brand positioning of the restaurant.
I frequently update the website’s content to reflect any changes happening within the restaurant. This includes ensuring menus are up-to-date, refreshing photo galleries, creating special landing pages for promotions and events, etc.
Flor de Sal’s website is fully optimized and up-to-date with current SEO best practices. The SEO strategy places a strong emphasis on local SEO, in order to improve mobile discoverability and attract new diners. Additionally, I regularly conduct website audits and troubleshoot any SEO errors uncovered by analytics via Search Console.
Over the past two years, I have improved the website’s SERP ranking for target keywords through geo-targeting, link building, landing page and web copy optimization, achieving an overall 566.2% increase in organic traffic.
Although I have placed a stronger emphasis on developing Flor de Sal’s online presence through organic/inbound tactics, I have also developed and designed some PPC, display and retargeting campaigns for different audience segments to capture new prospects and leads. This also included frequent quality score optimization by improving relevance of keywords, ads, and landing pages, along with monitoring and optimizing keyword bids.
Flor de Sal is a fine-dining establishment, and to uphold the credibility of this status, it is imperative that all digital content reflects this. High-quality photography of its food and location has been integral to upgrading Flor de Sal’s digital image. Upon joining the team, one of the first changes I made was to hire a photographer who specialized in food and event photography to deliver bold, eye-catching imagery in order to spotlight everything this fine dining establishment has to offer.
When I first began working with the restaurant, its social media presence was very weak, both in reach and in quality of content, and did not reflect the upscale nature of the establishment.
I decided to focus my efforts on building up the restaurant’s presence on two key platforms: Facebook and Instagram, since both are highly visual, and are also highly frequented by the majority of the restaurant’s target audiences.
Audience + Community Building
Building up Flor de Sal’s audience and community required a strategic blend of:
- Devising carefully crafted copy that both embodies the classy yet approachable tone of the restaurant’s brand, while remaining clear and informative and upholding a consistent communication style across all digital properties.
- Developing a strategic content sharing schedule to align activity with peak audience exposure times, increasing visibility, engagement & website referrals. This also means ensuring content is published consistently but not incessantly, to retain a sense of high-end exclusivity, while remaining appropriately communicative, further supporting the restaurant’s brand.
- Creating and curating high-quality images, including photographs and custom graphics.
- Engaging directly with the community by replying to comments and direct messages on social, as well as managing presence on rating and review aggregation platforms such as Google Maps, TripAdvisor and OpenTable and replying to reviews to enhance online reputation and clientele interaction
Reach and Engagement
The majority of Flor de Sal’s Instagram audience was obtained organically. I grew the community to 10k+ in under a year. On Facebook, however, as current algorithms make it very difficult to reach an audience organically, I often implement targeted paid promotions for a range of objectives—i.e. to increase page likes, to promote events and to boost high-performing posts.
Overall, I have maintained an average organic engagement rate of 3.7% on social media.
Email marketing is a key aspect of Flor de Sal’s digital strategy. Fine dining is an industry that thrives on personalized customer relationships. Email has been a great medium to engage more directly and build a relationship with clients.
Email campaigns revolve around a variety of objectives—including the latest restaurant news, contests, events and more.
Combining data from analytics and CRM system, with qualitative data from monitoring social channels to produce email campaigns, I develop and execute all steps involved in this process including copywriting, segmentation, automation, layout design and more. I use the A/B testing method frequently to further optimize the email creation and delivery process each time.
Overall, I have achieved an average open rate of 50.76% and a CTR of 4.1%, compared to the industry average benchmarks of 20.26% and 1.06%, respectively.
Email addresses are regularly collected from clients via feedback cards that are handed out at the restaurant at the end of meals, and once a reservation is made.
Another key list-building element was the creation of a VIP program, which resulted in an overall 47% list growth. Members are offered first access to event announcements and exclusive offers. To further boost customer relationships, clients are also given the opportunity to provide personal information regarding birthdays and anniversaries, which are then kept on record in order to deliver automated personalized messaging via email, offering exclusive perks regarding restaurant visits on these special days.
Analytics and Reporting
Data is the lifeblood of digital marketing. It informs all decisions and approaches from budgeting to strategy to optimization, and beyond. I often use data to evaluate trends in web traffic in order to gain insights about site performance and identify themes driving visits and conversions. I also set and track a number of KPIs and oversee the progress towards delivering on goals. Lastly, I develop reports using insights gathered from data analysis to optimize digital marketing activities, discover new opportunities and achieve the most optimal ROI.