The Secret to Effective Restaurant Email Marketing
Restaurant email marketing is, without question, one of the most reliable tools for building customer loyalty. Small businesses are spending about 15% of their overall marketing budgets on email marketing. That is still better than social media and even face-to-face contact as a marketing method.
The secret to effective restaurant email marketing is planning what you want to communicate and forming a clear strategy. This might seem obvious, but a lot of restaurant owners take a haphazard and non-strategic approach to emails.
Don’t let email marketing be an afterthought! Work through these steps to build an effective strategy:
Choose your email marketing software provider carefully.
You want a company with a proven track record. Take the time to learn how the system works, how to build your lists, and how to segment your lists. TrafficWave started in the year 2000 and offers a 30 Day Free Trial.
Set up your basic message template in advance.
As soon as you open your mailing list to new subscribers, you will want to be prepared with a “thank you” landing page and confirmation message. This way you, as soon as you start getting subscribers, you will be putting forth an attentive and professional image.Your message may be a simple one-liner, or you could offer an extra gesture of appreciation such as a discount code or access to special offers.
As you are setting up your message template, make sure to add the basics such as your logo, your address, phone number, hours of operation, etc… This template will save you time as you create your messages moving forward.
Don’t forget to add an attractive header to your template. Leading restaurant email marketing campaigns always include attractive images to increase reader attention and interaction.
Also, don’t forget to add links to your website and social networks.
Start building your list.This is where all the work you have done in the first 2 steps comes together.
Make sure your opt-in form is visible on your website’s front page. You will want to add a form to your menu, take-out order and reservation pages as well.
Consider offering a small reward in exchange for signing up for your list.
Example: The Smoke Haus offers “subscriber only” specials when you subscribe to their list.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to occasionally share your opt-in form.
Comment cards are a strategic way to gather emails offline. Try bringing a comment card to customers along with the check. Customers are likely to pass the time filling out the card as they wait for their receipt.
Have your wait staff invite customers to join you list from their smart phone.
Plan ahead and stay on track.
Every restaurant has busy times and slow times. Factor this in to your email marketing strategy. This helps you be consistent and stay front of mind with your customers.
Use those slow times to plan your email updates ahead of time. Some topics are easier to plan in advance than others. Do you have a new chef joining your team next month? Put together a little ‘Come Meet the Chef’ feature in advance. Cue it for sending out to your list as soon as she joins the team officially. Do you have live music or special events coming up? Put together an announcement and schedule it to go out the week before the event.
Offering discounts and perks can be a great way to boost sales during slow periods. Sending news updates about awards or community contributions will boost your image without cutting into your profit.
Use this sort of pre-planned email strategy to make your newsletter workload be a matter of one or two tweaks and clicking “send”. This helps you stay consistent and take advantage of the best times for sending emails.
Learn More About Restaurant Email Marketing at http://www.trafficwave.net/restaurants.html