Running a restaurant means juggling an increasingly chaotic number of things.
Unlike other businesses, your “product” must be created anew every single day. Moreover, it’s well known that competition in the food industry can be more voracious than almost anywhere else.
Due to these considerations, something like email marketing might be pushed to the wayside. In the moment, it may not always seem like the highest priority, so you may often feel like it can wait.
But we know this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When it comes to restaurants, email marketing can give you a significant advantage over your competition, both in terms of having a direct channel of communication to your customers and in boosting your reputation.
Here’s how to improve your restaurant email best practices (hopefully it’ll inspire you to keep email top of mind!) and why they’re so crucial to running a successful business.
First thing’s first when it comes to email marketing: you need a healthy mailing list. And not just any mailing list will do.
When constructing your mailing list, you’ll need to make sure that you’re assembling addresses of people who are most likely to interact with your brand. For this reason, purchasing a mailing list from a third party is a big no-no. Sending emails to people who aren’t going to engage with your material (and who also did not opt-in to receive said material) isn’t only a waste of time, but will hurt your open rates and click-through rates. In turn, your email reputation will suffer among email providers, and your emails will have a higher likelihood of landing in the spam folder.
One of the best ways for a restaurant to assemble a mailing list is to optimize its website to allow for online reservations and online ordering, whether it’s delivery or take-out. By allowing your customers to make orders online, they’ll have to give you their email address as part of the process.
From there, you can provide an option for them to opt-in to the mailing list, in order to receive notification of any upcoming offers.
This way, you’re sending emails to people who are already predisposed to interacting with your restaurant.
Email marketing doesn’t merely consist of one type of email. When marketing a restaurant, you need to make sure that you’re utilizing every email strategy possible.
Here are a few of the types of emails that can have a lasting impact on your restaurant’s business.
These are a great way to keep your customers up to date on the goings-on of your restaurant.
When it comes to the information you’d want to include, you might want to tell your customers about upcoming events (music events, all-you-can-eat contests, specials on particular days, etc.) or even recipes, if they’re not too top secret.
Not only will these newsletters provide information to your subscribers, but it will keep your brand alive in their minds. If there’s constant activity around your restaurant, it can create the impression that your business is the place to be.
Source: Really Good Emails
What better way to get people interested in your restaurant than flaunting the food?
A fantastic way to promote your menu through email is by keeping customers informed about any changes. If a new product is added, be sure to cook up an email that spotlights the product. Use pictures, a video with the chef describing it, or even testimonials from customers who’ve tried it.
To give the whole menu its due, you may consider sending out a weekly email that spotlights a particular dish. This way, you’re giving people ideas of what to order beyond their usual choice.
Of course, it’s also just a great way to show off your food.
Making liberal use of emails with coupons attached is guaranteed to capture the attention of your mailing list. When someone is thinking about ordering food or going out to eat, a good discount could very well tip the scales in your favor.
While people will gladly accept a discount at any time of the year, it’s a good idea to tie in discounts with holidays. During the holidays, people are more likely to eat out, and you should give them every reason to choose your restaurant for their Mother’s Day dinner or spring break hang out.
Even better, email personalization can take your discount emails to the next level. For instance, you can send someone a discount on their birthday, which is far more likely to be used than a regular discount.
In fact, birthday emails have been found to generate a 342% higher revenue per email than the average promotional discount.
In the modern age, email marketers don’t have to go it alone. In fact, in most cases, you shouldn’t.
There’s email marketing software out there that can not only simplify your current tasks but can perform tasks that would be otherwise impossible.
When choosing an email marketing software, look out for these important features.
While it was once considered a luxury in email marketing, automation has quickly become a necessity. However, simple automation isn’t enough anymore. The best email automation is elastic and can fit different circumstances.
You want to make sure that your automation includes welcome emails. When someone signs up for your mailing list, you should have a welcome email that is automatically sent. Ideally, this would include a piece of content or video of someone making a personal introduction and include information surrounding the restaurant.
Another important use of automation are emails that include recommended products based on the customer’s behavior. This way, you’re making sure that your mailing list is seeing personalized information that they’re most likely to engage with.
A template goes a long way in email marketing. It not only gives your emails a unique, professional look that separates your restaurant from the rest of the customer’s inbox but also provides consistency from email to email.
A great email marketing software will include a wide range of template tools in an easy-to-use manner. You want to be able to create a template that matches the character of your restaurant, but you also want the template creator to have a user-friendly interface, so you can make quick alterations if needed.
Even better, some email marketing software will also include unique templates for mobile emails, which make up about 53% percent of all open rates. While many still think of emails as being attached to the desktop, mobile devices are quickly taking control of the email space.
While drip campaigns are automated, they’re a very specific type of automation, because they aren’t triggered by a single event.
Instead, these emails are pre-set to be released at a certain time, and they usually connect with one another. In some ways, you could think of them like the inbox’s version of a TV show, with each email correlating to a show’s individual episodes.
This type of email format is conducive to a few different approaches. You could use a drip campaign to dole out a serialized story related to your restaurant or as a countdown to a particular event.
Because one email builds on the other, drip campaigns are known to bring in more open rates and click-through rates than regular emails, even going so far as to bring in 320% more revenue than non-automated emails.
Email marketing for a restaurant is unlike any other form of email marketing. This is because most restaurants only sell their product in-store, meaning you’re doing very little—if any—e-commerce, which email marketing is most commonly associated with.
Nonetheless, many of the same rules apply to restaurants, such as creatively utilizing automation and making sure you’re using the best, simplest template maker. In other words, to really improve your restaurant email best practices, you’ll need a great email marketing software.
You also can’t afford to ignore the cultivation of a fruitful mailing list. This will make sure all of your amazing emails get to all the right people.
When trying to figure out which emails you should send, you have many options, some of which include:
Discounts, personalized or otherwise
After you’ve combined all of this information into a single, all-powerful email campaign, you’re bound to see results.
Now that you know how to optimize your email campaigns for a restaurant, you can get started. Here are 7 ideas for kicking off a restaurant marketing campaign.