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Using data and email to turn guests into regulars



Getting customers in the door (and back again) can seem like a daunting task… but it doesn’t have to be. Join experts from Emma and Venga as they teach you:

• How combining restaurant intelligence with email can help you drive repeat business

• Best practices for using data to power personalized, effective messaging

• Real-life examples of restaurants producing an incredible ROI with email

Hashtag: #EmmaVenga

Jamie: Welcome to today’s Webinar, Using Data and Email to Turn Guests into Regulars. I’m Jamie, I’m a Content Marketing Strategist here at Emma, and we are lucky to have our friends from Venga here. Before we hop into introductions and all that good stuff, I do wanna go through a little bit of housekeeping. First and foremost, we will send the recording out to everyone that registered. So if you signed up, you need to hop off or you just love today’s presentation, you wanna share with a friend, we got you covered. So look for your inboxes. We’ll be sending that your way. Also, your voices are muted, but you’re free to type questions into the Go-To-Webinar chat model really throughout today’s presentation. And we encourage that. We will have time for Q&A at the end of the presentation. So let us know what you’re thinking.

Let us know your burning questions. We’re happy to help. You can also tweet along if you want to quote something or even ask us the question @emmaemail is our handle and you can use the #EmmaVenga. So EmmaVenga. All right, so who are we? As I said I’m Jamie, I’ll be your host today. And we are Michael and I are at least representing Emma. And for those of you that may not know Emma as a provider of best in class, email marketing, software and services, and we help organizations really of all shapes, sizes, forms get the most from their email marketing. We have offices. We’re headquartered in Nashville first and foremost, but we have offices in Portland, New York, Melbourne, and yeah, a couple of other people scattered throughout. We power the emails of more than 50,000 organizations worldwide. And you can head over to, to learn more about what we do. And we are joined by Winston. Hello Winston.

Winston: Hi, how are you?

Jamie: Good. And Winston is the co-founder and a CMO of Venga. And so tell us a little bit more about Venga.

Winston: Sure. Thanks so much. So anyway, Venga helps restaurateurs better understand their guest’s preferences and habits, essentially by integrating together the technologies that they use most. You know, at our core we’re tying check level data from the point of sale to guest profiles and reservation platforms like open table and dine time. And what this allows is it really empowers restaurants from the guest experience it from the operator efficiencies and ultimately, you know, put those butts in seats at the restaurant. We’re based in DC, but we work internationally. We have a big presence in the UK and Canada as well as all across the US.

Jamie: Fantastic. And last but certainly not least, I’ve got my colleague here, Michael Baker.

Michael: Hello. Yes. So I’m Michael Baker, Senior Sales Executive here at Emma, based in Nashville and a work exclusively in the restaurant space helping folks like yourselves, get to hip to the conversations to their customer. So happy to be here. I’ve been working with Winston for some time now and really, really excited about this partnership with Venga.

Jamie: Absolutely. And thank you to all of you on the line and we’re just gonna hop right in because we’ve got lots of really great examples to give [SP], to go through and we’re gonna talk first about capturing the right data. So as we mentioned, we do email marketing here at Emma and you can’t do effective email marketing without an email address, right? So you got to get that and there’s so much more. It goes so much deeper than that when it comes to capturing diner data, guest data, there’s really cool stuff that you can do, but of course, you’ve got to get them in the door to get those butts in the seats. You gotta virtually get their info there to keep them coming.

And so to start our discussion today, my question to you guys is, you know, really what are the most common ways for restaurants to gather guest data? And I think it’d be best to kind of Michael kick it off with some of the most basic ways that restaurants and how to do that ways that some people might be familiar with. Show us some examples there, and then Winston, we’ll kind of tag you in to talk about maybe some more advanced tactics that you guys are seeing out there. So what are some of those important touch points?

Michael: Yeah, it’s all about the data for myself. So it’s really important. I like to talk to customers about knowing their various capture plots. So primarily, you know, on your website you wanna be able to leverage all the traffic that’s coming into your website. So there’s a lot of digital forms that you can put up onto website. You certainly don’t wanna make them invasive in any way. It’s just meant to encourage people to sign up. People are gonna sign up in various ways, so you wanna be able to capture them in those various ways. One of the primary ways is a Lightbox form. So there’s a little four-minute floats down on your website. You capture the data that you wanna capture. People sign up, so on, so forth. If they X out of it that they don’t sign up, it does not come back up on their screen every time they come back your website. So again, it’s not meant to be invasive.

You’re also gonna set up an embedded forms on your website, maybe a form on our contact us page. Think about if you have an email club, if that lives in a separate space in your website, and you’re gonna wanna have a sign-up form there. It’s really just being conscious of all those touch points, A on your website and maybe B, in your location. And just, you know, we have a great slide up here that illustrates an example. And it shows here what I like to say, you know, you really want the friction to a minimum when you have people sign up, because you want to encourage that signup. So you’ll see here the mina [SP] insider page that they only make the email required. Everything else is optional to sign in.

Now you can go this route. This is a good example of not being, you know, super invasive. We’ve all done it, had to fill out these forms. We get halfway through and you’re just gonna peace out basically. So this is a nice way to just make that required and you can capture these things down the line. It’s also, you can also set up a really simple form where your just capture the first name of the email address. And, you know, we can talk about automation later, but it’s always good to maybe ask for some of these deeper things in the welcome email or whatever it might be.

Jamie: Sometimes this relationship doesn’t start online. So what are we looking at here?

Michael: Yeah, definitely. And so this is always good to have touch points or think about the touch points in your locations too. So with Emma, I mean obviously, we’re pretty focused on digital, so we do have an iPad app that comes free, so this is great to just have a, at a bar, at, at a specific location, wherever it may be, to encourage people, especially if you’re having an event or something. It’s nice to have an iPad app. It’s pretty slick. People sign up straight from there and they go directly into your audience, within your list. It’s a great option to have if you do have sign up cards too, it’s always good to have those and always good to have everything branded, whether it’s the Lightbox, contact forums, cards or the guestbook branded to your voice and to your style guide.

Jamie: Awesome. And then as we sort of transition, obviously you can embed a form, you can have a pop-up form, where you’re asking for maybe not required but tons of information. But what we’re looking at here is I think a mutual client that we have at Patina group and what are we looking at here Winston? What’s kind of happening, what sort of data is being captured, if you will.

Winston: Thanks. What’s great is I sort of want to touch on what Michael was talking about, which is keeping friction to a minimum, and with our ability to get open table guests data and profiles, we really are eliminating the name for the guests to sign up for a newsletter. Obviously, if we look back at the Michael Mina example, there’s some information that is great to collect like the Instagram handle and such and the birthdays and anniversaries, which will help power marketing campaigns that we’ll talk about in a while, but there’s a second section that was sort of things like, I like to do things or I select your interests, like what locations. Because we’re seamlessly collecting guest profile and a email information if they’ve opted into receiving those from the restaurant, we can help tie that back to point of sale data to really power sort of those interests. So we know who the big wine drinkers are, we know who’s gluten-free, we know who’s a big spender, and so that really helps to complement and supplement the list being gathered by Emma.

Jamie: Yeah, absolutely.

Michael: And I’d also like to add to that, it’s really important to act on the data. So if you’re taking the time where you’re asking people to take the time to fill out all that information, it’s really important that you act on it. If they’re sharing their interest with you, it’s really good to segment your audience to instance point and then use that in your marketing strategies. A lot of folks fall into the trap of just capturing data so they’ll use it later. It’s not a good practice to get into. Not a good habit I guess because A, you can just be swimming in data which doesn’t help to guide any strategy but B, you know, people, consumers are very conscious these days of being marketed to and when they take the time to put that information in there, they expect to get communicated with us.

Jamie: Absolutely. And we’ll see some really great examples as we go on. I love that point of brands that really are doing that, doing it really well. So one thing I wanna point out is that the screenshot really can’t now, you know, Patina restaurant group, there probably a lot of people on the line today who are, They may be representing one sort of label or restaurant underneath a parent group or they might actually be working for the group themselves. And I know in the restaurant space, this is really common. And so I wanted to sort of transition into, you know, all these tools are fantastic, but when it comes to actually setting up the workflow, sort of internally the leveraging this awesome technology of email and data capture. What are the best ways or what are the best tips for sort of, let’s say a parent group or restaurant to ensure that, you know, the brands that they represent or the restaurants that are underneath that group sort of have a clear identity and what are, you know, how does that typically shake out?

Michael: Sure. Yeah. I talked to a lot of folks where this is the case and we kind of all know this too. We all maybe live in markets where we know what the parent group of a bunch of restaurants is, and we know that maybe it will be communicated to from that that parent company, or there are other restaurants that really like to have the autonomy that voice of have their own individual brand. So it’s really important just to really kind of take stock and then take a step back and understand the consumers that are in your market and who you’re communicating to. Are they aware that Jaleo is part of ThinkFoodGroup? Do they know, do they expect when they sign up for Jaleo’s list to get emails from Jaleo? Or are they conscious that it’s going to come from ThinkFoodGroup. So you know, you don’t wanna get into the habit of just bombarding your consumers. You want to meet their expectations when you can.

Jamie: And I’ve actually got a couple of different screenshots of, you know, if you land here on ThinkFoodGroups, sort of parent page, they do make it really nice and easy to navigate to the place you wanna go. And then this is obviously a Jaleo’s homepage. So probably the average diner I would imagine, doesn’t even really think about necessarily who maybe that parent group might be. So if I’m on this site and I go to join the list though, this is kind of the experience that they’ve set out for the diners. And II like a lot of things about this and you guys feel free to weigh in, but I think it’s really great that they’re truly only asking me for a minimal amount of information. That is my birthday by the way. If you wanna send me a present.

And then over here to the right, you can just hit, select all, you know, I love all of these restaurants. I wanna hear about one or no, I just want to hear about Jaleo and move on. And it’s nice because then they get into sort of a little bit more of a focused, you know, data capture, I feel like at this point where if I say Jaleo only then which one do you wanna know about? Obviously, if I don’t, you know, I live in Vegas, I don’t really care about what’s happening in Arlington and so on and so forth. So just wanted to kinda show you guys some of those examples here.

All right and kind of moving on and we’ve talked about, you know, obviously, there are data capture forms where people are filling things out. There’s, you know, the awesome tools that integrate with things you’re already using, like thing in open table and dine time and all that, all that jazz. But I’d love to express they kind of ask you guys, you know, I think there’s different schools of thought and some people I’ve had conversations with other people who work in the restaurant space and the restaurant technology space, especially when it comes to capturing data about sort of their philosophy around asking straight up, asking for the data that you need.

So here’s an example from Starbucks, just saying, “Hey, we don’t want to miss your birthday, Jamie. We wanna give you something for free.” What are your thoughts on, on asking for data and Winston we’ll kind of start with you? I think I’d just be curious and really both of you, what your thoughts are there.

Winston: Sure. And I think Michael had sort of said this before, which I think is really important is I think if used correctly, and if you definitely act on it then I think it’s a great idea to ask for some key pieces of information. I love the birthdays and the anniversaries. You know, creating that one to one engagement with the guest, to make it feel like, you know, everyone now I’m old here so I’m dating myself. But if you remember Cheers, everyone kind of wants to feel like [inaudible 00:13:33], when they walk into your restaurant, right? They wanna know that you’re recognized and collecting key pieces of information like a birthday I think are great at that as, you know, conversely though is if your signup has 15 different things, you’re asking them, their dog’s name or their ex-wife’s name or whatever, then I think it gets to be too much. But like keep it simple. And, but like Michael said, you really need to make sure you’re gonna do something with that information so they don’t feel like you’re just selling that list to others.

Michael:  I would wholeheartedly agree, I mean it’s just being conscious of what’s your asking for, keep it. I guess there’s like an overarching thing we tend to take a step back, but you always want to put yourself. We’re all consumers and we’re all marketers too, so I mean you, we all have inboxes. We know how cluttered they can get, we know how kind of annoying it can be. It can get to that stage. So you don’t wanna associate your brand with that. You wanna be very conscious about what you’re asking your customers to do for you, and then, and then conscious of what you’re delivering on that request. So it is always important to kind of keep that in the back of your mind. Like how would I want to respond to this? What are the types of things that I would find value in? I would love it if somebody sent me something for my birthday. So, you know, obviously, you know, as long you kind of act in that vein and kind of always approach your marketing with that lens, you’ll be working in their best practices face [SP].

Jamie: And I was going to chime in, I forget the exact figure, but it’s definitely over 50% of people that receive a date specific birthday, specific reminders are much more likely to actually take you up on the offer than if you sent them the same offer in just a regular, you know, kind of email because you can see something like, “It’s my day, I am gonna be in [inaudible 00:15:17] and spend money on myself.” So just specifically, these are powerful types of mailings to add in. That’s fantastic.

So before we start to move into using your data, you know, in really specific ways, you know, we’ve talked about really a lot of these entry points are, you know, that very first touch when someone’s making a reservation, maybe for the first time, someone signing up for the very first time, but what are some of the data points that if you’re not just automatically integrated, if you are gonna proactively gather data, what are some of those data points that restaurant specifically should be mindful of needing to obtain or wanting to gather really as the relationship or as time goes on, and sort of what segments do you guys feel are most important to act on, I guess as time goes on with, you know, in the relationship of a guest on a brand?

Michael: Winston you wanna go or you want me to go?

Winston: Go ahead. Go ahead, Michael.

Michael:  I mean, I think it’s important, obviously we’ve talked about birthdays and anniversaries. Now I’ll echo Winston’s point that those are really important. People are accustomed to getting those. They’ll gladly sign up and give you that information. It’s not out of the ordinary, but it’s always good to, you know, map out some of the objectives that you wanna get from folks. So if making people, turning them into your loyalty program, if driving them into the location on a regular basis, if just increased in their visits once or twice a year is some kind of objective, I mean you gotta get deeper into the data and figure out exactly what your objectives are. Map the customer journey that it would take for someone to walk in the tour for the first time, maybe put an open table reservation in and then you know, what does it take to get that person to become a loyal customer, and then communicate them accordingly.

So obviously, this is where the Venga data really comes in, but you can certainly capture the, you know, back to the birthday and the anniversary is a great way to just kind of have people come into the door, increase that frequency a little bit. Another little tidbit that a lot of people like to do and I think it’s a good idea. Obviously, were email folks so it falls in our wheelhouse, but just on an email signup anniversary, sent a little note, “Hey, you’ve been on our list for a year.” I don’t know if your discount, you don’t maybe send a little discount, if you don’t discount than you just acknowledge it. It resonates pretty well with people.

Jamie: Yeah, absolutely. I think those are great tips and specifically, you know, on, you used the word loyalty, I’ve noticed just in sort of doing some research for this webinar, you know, a lot of way, you know, brands that I came across, the actual loyalty program itself is the signup form. So do you find that to be as common sort of across the board or is that…are there certain types of restaurants that do that more frequently, or sort of that loyalty program on the site is truly their email capture? You’re just calling it the loyalty program.

Michael: Yeah, it happens a lot and it’s really almost down the middle. Some people do that, some people don’t. It just depends on how they wanna set up their loyalty program and what that means for them. You know, I often recommended that they should maybe widen their nets when it comes to at least email capture because you can leverage that traffic. Maybe people aren’t prepared to just sign up for a loyalty program, especially if there’s a cost or something. But, you know, so you can kind of broaden that capture with a touch point and then again, map that customer journey to say, “Okay, well, you know they’re interested, we don’t need to push them in any direction that they don’t wanna go in, but let’s just, you know, produced that friction and let them come to us and if they want to then make it easy for them to get into the loyalty program.”

Winston: Yeah. And I just to chime in on loyalty. So going back to what I was saying before, because we’re seamlessly capturing guest profile data and we’re tracking their visits and spend to the restaurants. We have the abilities to sort of do…we sort of call it behind the scenes loyalty or surprising delight, and the idea is again, going back to that friction point, getting people to sign up for loyalty through email or through downloading, an app or whatever it is, does require the guests to do something. And so what we’ve learned from working with a lot of restaurateurs that the idea is surprising and delighting the guest is a better approach to it, because they aren’t in the habit of discounting necessarily. Some brands a discount, is a great way to go. And it sits [inaudible 00:19:57] for a lot of restaurants especially some of those on the call today that I know are on the call.

It’s less about discounting, it’s more about how can I give the guests a better experience. And to them it’s because we’re tracking, okay, this is this guest fifth visit. We can notify the GMs, “Hey, do something cool for that guest when they walk in.” And so it’s sort of, it’s building loyalty throughout…through a different way, through a more natural seamless way.

Jamie: Absolutely. Well, and you guys are so good that actually, our next section is using data in smart ways. We’re already talking about it. That’s pretty good. And so we’ve got actually the section is really chock full of examples that I’d love to just sort of go through. Have you guys speak around those? You know, and we’ll kind of start, you know, when we say using data in smart ways and you know, Winston spoke so eloquently to capturing that data seamlessly with the tools that are at your disposal. But really when we talk about combining those tools with something like Emma, what we’re really speaking about or you know, any ESP we’re really speaking about is automating those processes. And there are lots of fantastic reasons why one would want to do that. As a restaurant, we find it to be incredibly helpful in this space. I know with our own clients. So to sort of walk through using data in smart ways and specifically data plus. So smart automation, wanna kind of start from square one and talk about what are we looking at here, Michael?

Michael: Yeah. This is a great example, so I’m gonna talk a little about and then Winston is going to get deeper into kind of what he’s alluded to already about that, that kind of building that loyalty behind the scenes, which is really, really powerful. But some of the things that we talked about before that I mentioned with the signup pages and everything, are some of the basic automation that you want to be running out of your account. Welcome emails are really important. So if somebody does sign up on your website for your newsletter or whatever it may be, through some of those capture points that we talked about, it’s really important to have a welcome email hit their inbox right away, 75% of folks expect one. So it’s good to meet that expectation.

As I said before here, it’s really nice to come up with some creative ways to. So this is just a welcome, it shows a recipe a lot of folks, I mean a lot of foodies out there. Obviously, this is awesome. It’s really good content. It’s something that’s going to resonate with someone when they sign up for your list. Really powerful.

Jamie: Exactly. And Winston’s point, you know, this is a way to give value to a new subscriber without necessarily giving away something for free. I mean you’re giving away a recipe for free, but really this doesn’t cost anything, you know, to the bottom line at the end of the day. So it’s a nice one. This is the exact email you get when you fill out that very first form.

Winston: And what’s great about this kind of approach… Sorry to cut in.

Jamie: No, it’s okay.

Winston: When you think about the bigger picture of marketing for restaurateurs, right? It’s not just email marketing but to social engagement through Twitter and we’ve spoken Instagram and everything. I can tell you, most people aren’t tweeting or instagramming the fact that they get $10 off of an entrée, but what they’re are tweeting and socializing are, you know, the chef visited the table or they got this special menu or a recipe, that kind of stuff. And so again, going back to the experience and I think that’s where you see much higher engagement with your dinners and creating that one to one connection

Jamie: Or they’re making this recipe and putting it on Instagram when they’re like, “Look what I made.” And so to that point, this is the same email with the Emma click app over it. So what you see here, I’m just from a design standpoint, it’s really nice. Michael touched on sort of that seamless branding. You know, what I love and what I wanted to show is that they carry the branding from the signup form directly onto that first email. So when you have this experience, when you opened this email, it’s familiar, you know, where it’s going. Also, it gives a new subscriber, plenty of things to interact with. They could have just sent the recipe, but by actually having, you know about us restaurants mimicking that navigation bar on their own website, they’re able to actually at this very first touch point with only an email address start to put people into segments. And what you see over here on the right are just, you know, this is a just a small, small segment of some of the different groups that they put their audience into, but it’s just a nice reminder that even at this very first touch point, you can build a smart email that starts capturing, you know, click data and lets you know what people might be a little bit more interested in. So that we talked about the birthday email, here’s a nice one.

Michael: Yeah, exactly. It’s just a great way to kind of set the tone welcome series, the birthday series. To Winston’s point too, it’s not about just hammering people with discounts or something. If you can start that tone, bring them into the fold of the brand, bring them part of the family if you will. They’re coming in to dine with you. It’s just a great way to carry that all the way through your communications. And when you’re sending a birthday, you know, like this, it’s just, it’s very clean. It’s very crisp, it has the branding on it, but it’s very, you know, tastefully done. It really resonates well with people. I keep saying that, but it’s true. And it obviously drives the reserve your table now because that’s ultimately what we’re looking to do and you know, when you say happy birthday, you’d be surprised how many people take advantage of that.

Jamie: Absolutely. And you know, obviously we just talked about sort of segmenting, and so what are some other ways, Michael, kind of before we hand it over to Winston and look at some, a sort of deeper behaviors, what are some other things just off the top of your head that you could segment by beyond just some date-based events?

Michael: Sure. If you’re segmenting, we saw it on some of the signup forms before, but you definitely would like to get into location. So the whole point of the program is to set that one to one relationship with the customer. So you know if you have a wine event because that’s going on at a specific location, you want to be able to isolate that location and send that information out to those folks. It’s relevant, they’re gonna act on it rather than sending just a broadcast message. So location is really important. Even frequency. So in this day and age, the inboxes cluttered, you know, if you want to ask people like, “Hey, do you want to hear from us weekly, biweekly, monthly, that’s always a good thing to get some feedback here. You’re asking them to be a part of your marketing campaign, which is great.

You know, if you’d run a loyalty program, you can ask them for that. Although Winston’s gonna get into all the back end, how you can build that organically, which is great. And you know, you can also send, you know, based on purchase behavior and tying that check-in, which I’ll let Winston kind of get into that because that’s where it starts to get really, really powerful is being able to build segments based off the data that’s captured in Venga and then pumping that back into Emma so that you can send that are relevant to the folks that wanna get it.

Jamie: Absolutely, yeah. You can only rely so much on how much someone is willing to impart and give you. So when we talk about automating, when we talk about segmentation, you know, as Winston already said, the tools that you have at your disposal now actually make it so that you can capture, you know, a wealth of data about your diners that their behavior is really dictating the experience that you’re able to serve them versus them raising their hand and exerting some effort. It’s reducing that friction. So I’m gonna have Winston kind of walk us through now some different ways or some different use cases specifically that he’s seen be incredibly effective when it comes to taking that data that we’re able to capture on the back end and sort of secretly and surprise and delight. So what are we looking at here, Winston?

Winston: Sure. Great. So first off, this is our Venga Dashboard, which is working with Emma on this kind of stuff. And so the idea is if you look on the left-hand side, there’s a series of reports, top visitors, top spenders per person spend. And the list goes on, essentially what you can do as a marketer is have your cake and eat it too, which is, you really can sort of segment this list and targeted it down to the people that really care about a newsletter that you’re sending out or things like that.

One example that is being used by a ton of our restaurants today across last month, getting ready for Valentine’s Day is identifying the biggest spenders. And the idea here is, you know, obviously Valentine’s Day, we hope that every restaurant that’s listening in is gonna be packed to begin with. So how do they make sure that cheapskates like me don’t show up and order a salad and a glass of water, but instead, how do they maximize that revenue when they can’t add more tables to the restaurant? And so what they’re doing is they’ll pull the list from Venga, who their biggest spenders are. Or maybe it’s the biggest, maybe it’s the most frequent guests and all that kind of stuff. And then they’ll use an Emma campaign to reach out to those guests. And we’ve seen a lot of restaurants, some may call them so they don’t use marketing for that, email marketing because that’s not consistent with the brand, but a lot do. And oftentimes they’ll send this out before they open up reservations to the public.

Jamie: Yeah. And here’s just switching to an example of what that can look like, you know, but I think it’s a great point that obviously on those, you know, there are so many dates I feel like in the calendar year that restaurants really need to seize and capitalize on. So I think that’s a great place to focus. And if anyone wants to buy me a salad and water for Valentine’s Day, that will be the last time that we’re going out on that date. So fun fact. And what are we looking at here?

Winston: Yeah. So again, I think this goes too really, I think as marketers, we spend a lot of time capturing email addresses. So when someone unsubscribes, you lose him forever and there goes your ability to stay engaged with them. And so again, using the Venga data and leveraging Emma’s capabilities as well, you can really drill down into sending targeted messages based on a certain habits. So the example here is, and again, everything here is sort of at the enterprise level for restaurants so they can look at any one particular restaurant, or in this case they can pick multiple restaurants. So some of our groups have all the restaurants in one region, some are by coastal, etc.. So you can look at, let’s say just your East Coast Diners.

And what this example shows is, you know, show me all the guests from the east coast and you can select any time period, you can even do accustomed select field, you know, last seven days last year, all time, etc. that has spent at least $500 on my red wine categories in the point of sale. So we’re pulling this red one, California red wine fancy, etc.. We’re pulling exactly the categories that are in your POS [SP] today, and that list will be generated and you just send it directly to Emma by clicking that link.

A couple of examples. So this is for, you know, that’s one for a wine dinner, so you know, let’s say you’re doing a wine dinner featuring Pinot noirs from Oregon. You can drill down and really see who’s ordered Pinot noirs from Oregon. A couple other examples. You know, gluten-free obviously is very important to a lot of diners and they’re very interested. They’re very loyal to your brand if you’ve got a great gluten-free menu as part of your offerings. But for others, they probably don’t care as much. And so again, don’t send an email blast to everyone on your email list, because inevitably you’re gonna get some unsubscribes from people who don’t care about gluten-free. No offence to those that are gluten-free. Let’s be honest.

Jamie: No, it’s quite true.

Winston: Another one good example of children’s menu. You know, you asked me a year and a half ago, I would have unsubscribed because I didn’t have a kid, but guess what? I now have a 10-month-old, so, you know what, I’m suddenly interested in those children’s menus.

Jamie: Right. That’s a great point. And what a VIP is yes. Tell us, tell us more. How do we…

Winston: Yes. So this is another great example. You know, let’s say you’re opening up a new restaurant in the same region, you know, a sister restaurant in the same city. You can work through the guest codes and open table. And for those that, you know, I think there’s some on the webinar today who don’t have open table or dining time because they don’t take reservations. So this is a little more focused on restaurant groups that use open table, but there’s this notion of guest codes and open table that you can sort of tag a guests. So examples here are things like VIP or PPX is another popular one that denotes of a big spender or a very important person in front of the owner, you know, a lot that I see on my guest profile is PITA. I’m not sure if people know what PITA is, but it’s a pain in the ass. Probably don’t want to be at your restaurant, but the idea here is let’s say you are having that opening, you can pull a list from open table of all those guests. So you can reach out to them and you know, maybe you do a special event for them or sort of a pre-opening event or pre-opening seating, a friends and family kind of thing. And you know, the other thing that a lot of restaurants do at the beginning of the year, is they’ll use this list and maybe they’ll add big spenders as well, and they’ll send an email to Emma saying, “Hey, you know, thank you for being such a loyal patron in 2016. We wanna provide you with a dedicated reservation line. So we want to get in on a Saturday night at 8:00 and you see that were not available. Give us a call and we’ll try and fit you.” And so again, just it’s a very personal touch, but it’s based on data that helps you keep that one to one connection with your VIPs.

Jamie: That’s awesome.

Michael: Yeah, which is extremely powerful.

Jamie: Yeah. Absolutely. And, and what is this?

Winston: Sure. Party size, so again, this is probably big as it leads into the holiday season, but what a lot of restaurants can do. Again, here’s an example of a restaurant that was looking to, the private events team was looking to increase private events for the holidays, you know, this past Christmas holiday season. And so what they did was they looked at all guests who had visited the previous year during that December period with eight or more, you know, guests in the reservation. And they send out a targeted personalized email to them saying, “Hey, you know,” I forget what the exact language was, but basically inviting them in and trying to sort of get them to do their event again this year and maybe even make it a bigger event this year. So again, another example of how you can use this data to really target the people who are more likely to come back and more likely to do a private event with you during the holidays.

Jamie: Absolutely. Yeah. And this is public. This isn’t the exact example, but this is a, you know, a nice one of just saying, “Hey, winter bookings are coming up,” you know, targeting people just with that language that they’ve done a private event, send them information about how they can keep doing it. Fantastic stuff. So, you know, one thing that I wanna sort of talk about or one specific use case or type of mailing that is incredibly important and you know, I talk all the time about email in the B2B space. I’m talking to other vendors and other brands like Emma, and in our space it’s really, really common to look at your data, look at who’s not responding and try to re-engage and say, “Hey, you haven’t logged into your trial in a minute.” Or, “Hey, you haven’t done this.”

And these types of campaigns are also, you know, really gaining prevalence and are important in lots of different verticals and industries, and they tend to be highly effective. I know in our space, if you send what we would call a reengagement or win back campaign out, even if that person doesn’t open the mailing, they are incredibly more likely to continue to open subsequent messages, even if they’ve never opened an email from you. Just bubbling your brand up to the top is a super powerful. So in the restaurant space, how does this work? How does this translate? Is it opens via email that you’re tracking or some other types of data? And how do you really turn around and use email and that data to keep people engaged. And I know we’ve got, I think an example here of just that happening. So walk us through it.

Winston: Sure and Jamie I think and Michael you’ve touched on these points before, right? So connecting with a guest doesn’t mean you’ve got carte blanche to email them on a weekly basis or a daily basis, right? They’ve afforded you the privilege of giving you their email address, so you wanna respect that and you wanna respect that relationship with them. So that’s why again, we think that using the data to help with inform when to send this kind of campaigns make sense, not only for the diner from their perspective but also from the restaurant to maximize revenue. So a lapse guests is a perfect examples for that traditional, you know, the we miss you kind of campaign. What we’ll do with a restaurant once they sign up with Venga, is we’ll analyze their complete diner history and we’ll break it down to a guest who visit on a weekly basis…by week.

So a number of guests that visit by week, and the idea is we’ll work with the restaurant to determine one is the right time to send out we’ve missed you campaign. Traditionally it’s usually about 50% of the guests have returned already, but that means that there’s still another 50% of guests who haven’t dined with you. And the idea there is if you send it any sooner, you’re probably gonna cannibalize some of your revenue, because those guests are gonna come back anyway. But if you wait too much longer, you may have lost the forever. And so finding that right time to do that right, and that can be done through email. So what’s great about the data right is we at Venga provide the data, but you can choose as a restaurant how to use that data. So email obviously is a great way to do it. It’s amazing. That’s why we’re so excited with this partnership with Emma.

But you know, there’s some restaurants where email, it’s just not their cup of tea. And so we have a lot of restaurants that will ask us for a report or they can actually get it right from our dashboard, what guests haven’t visited in 60 days. And then the GM is responsible for, you know, reaching out our guests via by phone number, be it by a handwritten letter, whatever it may be. But again, it could stay consistent with the brand. We’re just providing the restaurant with that data, that actionable data to make sure they’re hitting the right people at the right time.

One last way that you can also do it, which is a little less intrusive as well is through Facebook advertising. We can also help power Facebook advertising and what’s great is that, that can be sent to any guests that we have either a phone number for or an email for. And again, you can use Facebook advertising for, you know, launching a new menu or if you’ve got an app to ask diners to download your app. So instead of looking like campaigns, you’re actually targeting people who’ve actually been to your restaurant.

Jamie: That’s great. Anything to add?

Michael:  I mean, I think that’s really powerful to kind of information that Winston and Venga can drill down into is amazing, so helpful to marketers. And I know, I mean it’s such a great experience, you know, getting a phone call from a [inaudible 00:39:05] or GM is really powerful. I mean I think that there are a number of brands that are out there, and I guess I can speak to it from an email standpoint that the lapsed list is really strong, but you know, I always encourage our customers to take a look at their list and do a reengagement campaign as well. From an email perspective, you’re kind of focused it on the opens from that standpoint. But I was kind of like to talk about the ego list and it’s not good to get caught up in your total numbers of like, “Hey, look, we have a million people on our list and we’re sending to all these,” but your response rate is really low.

There’s really no reason to keep that dead weight on your list. I think it’s very important to reach back out to them. Come up with some really good creative. Some really, you know, on point on brand messaging that can, they can genuinely reach out to these folks and see if they’re still interested in participating in your conversation. If not, it’s a really good idea to just cut them loose at some point, come back if they want to. But it’s gonna disrupt your response metrics. And I always like to tell people it’s always really important to stay engaged with those who are engaged, and focusing on the people that are engaged with your campaign because they’re the ones that are driving your revenue. They’re the ones that are driving our engagement, you know, and cut the dead weight at some.

Jamie: Yeah. And that’s what this example, you know, I know there are a lot of people on the line who are representing brands that are not the same as let’s say a chipotle, a Mexican grill, but the sort of mechanism and the way that this works, the buttons that are here, this tactic can work really, no matter what type of restaurant you are, if you find that that’s within your brand and it’s appropriate. And I like that they’re truly not just saying, “Hey, we want you back,” there saying, “Do you, do you wanna still hear from us?” I think to Michael’s point, that’s a bold question. You’re gonna lose some people definitely, but those people didn’t wanna be there. And so I love the term Ego Less. I think you just coined that. We’re gonna add it to the webinar lexicon.

So moving on, you know, we actually, you know, I’m gonna babble here for a second. So in my role here at Emma, what I get to do and talk about often is the design of emails, and it’s something that, you know, specific to our company is a hot topic mainly because we actually lean in quite a bit with all of our clients have of all ilk, of any industry. And we’ll do custom design work, build custom emails for people. So it’s something that we’re really passionate. And so I just wanna take a moment and would love you guys to chime in, but just wanna run through just really quickly for those on the line, some top tips and throw out some stats here so you can be swimming in amazing data.

You can have your email list hooked into all the right stuff. If you were not sending mobile-optimized emails, it doesn’t matter because more than half of all humans that answer email regardless of whether it’s a restaurant or an email from their boyfriend or whatever it might be there, they’re answering and looking at email first on their mobile devices on average. And especially I feel like that’s got to be even more prevalent in the restaurant space. I know that if I’m out traveling, I was just actually visiting DC, and used my phone almost exclusively to look at websites for restaurants and check my email for to see if anyone had sent me anything tasty.

And so what we’re looking at here is on the left you’ve got a great email, and we would say here at Emma, this is really optimized for mobile and we’ve got this great sort of easy to read sized up text that tells you the brand, you’ve got a nice little graphic up at the top, over 80% of your audience is merely scanning and skimming. If they do open your email, so you wanna make sure that you anchor the top portion with some nice visuals?

If you look down, there’s a really nice focused call to action. They want you to browse classes and then they’ve got this awesome video down at the bottom that shows you really what’s gonna happen if you go to one of these classes. You’re gonna learn how to make this awesome bread. So focus calls to action, a nice clean one column design. All of these things look really, really great on phones. And video on a mobile device can greatly increase your clickthrough rates. So if you’ve got great beautiful video assets, whether you’ve got someone making one of those beautiful recipes or you know, or your chef telling you about the new specials, please use that content and then when I click through and make sure that I land in the right spot on your site that matches, and is also a great mobile experience.

Michael: Yeah, it’s really important for this mobile. And I know for a lot of folks, maybe it’ll be, you know, preaching to the choir, you already know this, but it is very important. We still do come across a lot of folks that aren’t very conscious about the responsive design that’s necessarily, you know. If you click onto an email that isn’t responsive design, you’re gonna click off of it really badly. And in Emma it’s, you know, Jamie quoted, it’s over half the people, 56% of all email I think is opened on a mobile device. But it’s tipped the scales obviously. In Emma you would be able to see what those metrics are specifically for your list. So that’s important, if you skew your younger brand, hipper clientele, whatever, and everybody’s opening on mobile devices, you could be skewing it, 85% of the role. You want to design with that in mind. So it’s just good to know that data.

Jamie: And this is another example and I highlighted it because you see that reserve now, which is, let’s be honest, what you want everyone to do, we’re not sending emails for fun. We want people to actually take an action of some sort and typically that is transactional in some way. And so you notice if you look over, the most clicked thing by the size of the little green dot is that reserve now button, and buttons specifically as the call to action are really, really powerful on mobile because…and Apple figured this out, the average surface area of a human fingertip is around 46 by 46 pixels squared. Yes, these things are just in my brain. I don’t know if that’s impressive or sad. But buttons are an important way to convey a CTA because you can tap them easily, more easily on a mobile device than you can, you know, just a text link. So bear that in mind when you’re designing your emails.

And last but not least, I love this example. It’s just a fun little-animated gift and, what a nice way to sort of visually convey something. You know, Winston spoke to surprise and delight. But again, nothing that I tell you to do is just because it totally is delightful. Gifts actually increased clickthrough rates sometimes as much as 300%. It’s absurd. So we are lizards at heart. We see something moving, we wanna click on it, we wanna figure it out. And the goal here obviously is to get me to do something. So if I land on the site, it’s more likely that I can actually reserve a table and go through with an action. And gifts are kind of that Nice Pied Piper in the inbox that can get you there.

So, fun little tips. I’m gonna dismount my mobile design soapbox now, and we’re gonna move into kind of our last section before we hope in to take some of your questions. I know we’re kind of running low on time, but closing the loop when we say that we really mean, again, we’re not doing this for our health. You know, all this segmentation, all this smart automation has a goal to increase return diners, increase ROI, etc.. I don’t know that Winston has some really lovely things to say about that. So I’m gonna move over to this screen, and he’s gonna walk us through it and then we’ll jump into your questions.

Winston: Great. So one of the number one things I always hear when I talk to existing clients or prospects is, you know, I need to be able to justify that the marketing budget to my superior, so I need to show or my campaigns being successful. In fact, one client and I’m gonna steal it for us and I had been for the last couple of years. So, you know, we can’t take clickthroughs to the bank. So, you know, help us close that loop. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with the help with Emma, right? So Emma has tremendous insights into who’s receiving it, who’s opening on and who’s clicking on it, where they’re clicking it on, you know, all that kind of information, which is tremendous and provides a ton of insights. But we’ll go ahead and take that one step further to show you, okay. Not only who opened and clicked and all that information, but more importantly we think, who came back in, how many reservations resulted in that campaign, how many covers, what was the total spend?

And so you can really close that loop in and you know, our restaurants use it for the things like we said, like those we miss yous, or they’re using it for birthdays or anniversaries or in the case of the one I have up here sort of a cross-pollination campaign, meaning that they’ve got a couple of restaurants in the same region and they wanna, you know, increase the brand as sort of Michael and, Jamie were talking about before with ThinkFoodGroup, you know, “Hey, thanks for dining at Zaytinya, why don’t you try at Jaleo, our sister restaurant,” that kind of information.

But what’s great is we are seeing more and more of our restaurant doing AB testing. You know, what is driving more repeat business? Is it a compliment appetizer or the complimentary glass of wine, whatever it may be? So it’s really been exciting. I think we’re the only ones out there that do this as far as I know, and it just helps the marketers, not only gauge the success of those campaigns but also when they do reporting to others on the team, show what exactly is working?

Jamie: No, and I think that’s fantastic and just to close the loop on our end, just to show kind of the Emma interface, you know, have Michael sort of speak to, you know, what are we looking at here? What does someone feel when they actually log in? What do we do?

Michael: Yeah, definitely. I know we’d touched on on Winston’s points. I mean that’s where we do we do email and we do it really well. We have a very easy to use interface where everything is laid out really nicely. We do give you some tips here, you know, your open rate, can use Lyft, there’s gonna be some snippets in the tool, kind of show you these things. There’s also, you know, our professional services team. We will help walk you through some best practices, set up your email campaigns, build out, you know, help you close the loop between a service like Emma and Venga because that closing the loop section is really, really the most powerful thing that Winston and I and Jamie can talk about today. It’s really, you know, returning on investment that’s the marketing dollars that you have out there. It’s really important to tie that back to the revenue that’s coming back into the restaurants and show the effectiveness of all the work that you’re doing. So it’s really important that we’re really excited about it.

Jamie: Absolutely. All right. We’re gonna we have time for a couple of questions. First though, Michael, who’s on the line, FYI new Jaleo website is going to launch today. So what do you know, of all the restaurants I could have chosen? That was perfect. So yeah, go check it out and go eat there. We’re gonna take another question here from Zack. Zack wants to know, “We have a small marketing team and would love your take on how many emails we should be sending a month”. So I think that’s a great question. We talked about frequency and what are your thoughts there both of you guys?

Michael: Yeah, I mean I think this is a question that we get all the time. So right off the bat, there is absolutely no silver bullet. There’s no answer that we can give that says, “You said send four and half emails a month that’s going to increase your revenue in your restaurants.” It’s really up to you. We touched on this before, both Winston and I. You wanna be very conscious about, you know, people giving you their email address, you don’t want to oversaturate their inbox. You wanna deliver something that’s on brand, on message that fits within your voice really. And that maybe once a week, maybe twice a month. I would encourage everybody to test that, test it to a degree, you know what I mean? I would definitely say do not be sending daily, that would be way too much. So you know, think of on a weekly basis if you have something to say. And more likely than not with Venga with the information that you could segment on, you’re going to be sending more email to fewer people, to smaller groups and that email is going to be delivering useful information to those people.

Winston: Yeah. I think to that point, just in terms of that targeting to is, you know, when you think about subject lines in those emails, if you are able to segment whether it’s through on the signup website to Emma, you know, particular pace, making sure you tell them what the content of the email is, you know, teasing them on that. So it’s not just a monthly newsletter, right, because then they feel like it’s spam. But if you say upcoming red wine dinner, if they’re big red wine drinkers, you know, then you get that personal engagement and they feel like, okay, they knew who I am. So I’m going to take the time to open this up and see what this is all about.

Michael: Yes, that’s an excellent point. It’s also worth noting too, that it’s always good to be conscious about the inbox that you’re sending to, so your competitors are not necessarily that the restaurant down the street or the high-end restaurant in the city. It’s also pottery barn and west elm, you know, all these things that are in the inbox, you know. And if you’re just getting inundated with a bunch of monthly newsletters, it just becomes noise. So to Winston’s point is really important to kind of get that subject line together and deliver something that’s valuable

Jamie: And mapping that customer journey no matter what is valuable regardless of the industry. So those are awesome tips. So we actually have… I’m noticing now these questions are sort of similar. So Carl wants to know, do you have any suggestions on the best way to allow our location managers to send emails on their own about things like wine dinners or events, etc.. So what advice would you have to Carl and then I have kind of a followup question from Fred that’s similar, but what would you guys say about that?

Michael: Yeah, I mean I think Winston touched on an enterprise version in Venga. We have an enterprise version and Emma too, so it’s really just a tier to count on. A lot of restaurants are structured differently. It’s totally up to you how your operations are run, and if you do have locations and you put a lot of marketing autonomy into them, we do have an enterprise level that allows them to sign into their individual accounts and send on your behalf. You can put branded templates in there and stuff, so there on point, but we do have that kind of level of accessibility, or if you’re a restaurant group that sends, you know from a central corporate marketing team, then you can just do that out of one account. It really depends on how you want to do it. But we make it very easy for location managers to do that and train them up too.

Winston: And the nice thing whether when you use the automated emails that both of us power again, I’m dating myself, but there’s that old infomercial that rotisserie set it, forget it and the idea that exactly. And the idea with the location managers is right. We know you all are swapped at the minute they walk in the door, they’re wondering where the sous chef is, why those tomatoes look [inaudible 00:54:21], why that refrigerator at 82 degrees, right? The last thing they’re thinking about doing is sitting behind a computer and putting together an email template to then send out. And so with those targeted automated campaigns, you know, they can work with us directly or Emma. Emma’s got some great customer service there to really help get those going, and so they can focus on what’s most important, which is being on the floor and providing that great guest experience in the restaurant.

Michael: Exactly.

Jamie: And I think to that end too, and you know, I’m kinda rephrase this question, but you know, I know each restaurant group works differently, you know, the way that things are divvied up, you know, obviously we both provide solutions that meet sort of these, I guess tiered platform solutions you’d get like a parent account and sub-accounts and all that kind of stuff. But what are some of the risks that you guys see of a risk and rewards that you guys see of, let’s say those location managers having more autonomy or less autonomy? Like what data do you think is the best? Is it from that parent level or is it really from the sort of location I guess? Or what are the risks associated with it?

Michael: It really depends on how the operation is set up, you know, I mean obviously everybody out there knows their business the best. I think that what we’ve come across into Winston’s point, he’s kind of alluding to this, but you know, a GM is gonna be very concerned with things that at the location level, their goals and their responsibilities are very pertinent to what’s going on in the moment there. And it is often very difficult for them to think about shift gears and try to go back into an office and not be on the floor, and start sending out some marketing message.

That being said, there are also, you know, If they’re responsible for driving the revenue in that location, if they’re planning out wine dinners there are specific to that, maybe local concerts or something that are happening at the location. That kind of information is pretty valuable. So I think it’s really, you know, they need to be supported in the best way possible. So give them absolutely everything they can do, make it as easy as possible to get that messaging out.

Jamie: Totally. Or like weather if there’s a tornado, they know a little bit better than corporate. Those are great points. All right. I think we have time for one more and of course, it’s a good one I think. Angela wants to know if we’re working in Emma, how do we hook into Venga. How does it actually work? And you have to get too technical. Please don’t because you might lose some posts, but theoretically, how does one do that?

Michael: Yeah, exactly. Well, we’ll take on a lot of that work and Winston, I mean you can chime in too. But I mean Winston and…well, Venga and Emma and Winston and have been working for a while and we’ll take on a lot of that work, we’ll make sure that everything’s running seamlessly in your account, that these things are hooked up and then we can get that segmenting which is really powerful and closing the loop on ROI. We’ll make sure that that is all set up in your account for you.

Winston: Cool. Yup. Yeah, yeah. Feel free to reach out to either one of us obviously, and technically speaking, this is as technical I’ll get. All we need is the API key and then we’re good to go and we can probably get the restaurants up and running in two weeks.

Jamie: Oh, that’s awesome. See, I even know API key is. I’m good. I’m not just a marketer over there.

Michael: You don’t have to, we do. Is not a problem.

Jamie: Exactly. Just raise your hand. We will get your data to a place. Awesome. Well, guys, we are out of time. We are one minute to 2. Thank you so much, Winston. It was a true pleasure. You guys really know what you’re talking about. Michael thanks for taking the time.

Michael: No problem. Thank you, Jamie.

Jamie: Thanks Winston.

Winston: I appreciate it.

Jamie: Yeah, absolutely. And again, if you’re on the line, and and we will send the recording out to you and links to catch up with us. So feel free to reach out if you have any questions. You can tweet at us at @emmaemail and again, or to get more info. Thanks so much.

Winston: Thank you.

Michael: Great. Have a good day.

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