Email Marketing for Restaurants
You’ve created a website full of photos of your delicious dishes. You’ve created an engaged following on social media. And yet, something is missing from your restaurant’s online marketing strategy. The answer is simple: email marketing.
If you’re involved in restaurant marketing, email might not seem like the most effective way to attract diners. It’s actually a great way to keep them up to date on the latest news, specials, and menu items. Plus, since people have to sign up for emails, you know you’re reaching out to an interested audience.
On this page, you’ll find out how email marketing can help your restaurant, as well as learn some things you should—and shouldn’t—do to develop an effective email marketing strategy.
How Can Email Marketing Help Your Restaurant?
Restaurants need two things to be successful: steady revenue and a faithful customer base that regularly visits your location (and recommends the restaurant to others). Email marketing can help your restaurant achieve both of these things.
When you follow restaurant email marketing best practices, you enjoy better sales and revenue. This is because email marketing has a ton of fantastic benefits for every business! They include:
Lower Marketing Costs
The costs of advertising and direct mail make traditional marketing tough for small marketing budgets. Email is cheaper, no matter how many messages you send.
Some direct mail and advertising campaigns may take weeks to generate returns. Email marketing can take only a few days or even hours to generate the same revenue.
Higher Returns on Investment
Because email costs less than other marketing channels, each sale yields a higher return, regardless of overall response rate.
However, research has found that email has an enormous ROI; on average, for every dollar spent on email, businesses get about $45 back!
Online analytics allow for better measurement of email campaigns, showing you exactly what is working and what isn’t. Additionally, with the detailed reports included in email platforms, you’re able to find out exactly what email components got your subscribers clicking, how many times your messages were opened, and so on.
The Creation of Loyal Customers
With email, your clientele feels more appreciated—and more loyal—because these messages allow you to:
- Send personalized messages to each individual recipient
- Offer targeted deals based on demographics, region, and past orders in your restaurant
- Test and refine each message to get better results in subsequent campaigns
Email marketing allows you to reach prospective diners more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. However, this is only possible if you understand how to implement an email marketing campaign that increases sales, engagement and loyalty. Keep reading for an overview of the ground rules for email marketing.
Restaurant Email Marketing Best Practices
While restaurant marketing emails can be incredibly effective, they need to be created—and sent—with care. If you don’t follow email best practices, you run the risk of upsetting your customers, or hurting your business in a big way.
Emails can be better targeted than other marketing communications. Most other channels target dozens or hundreds of people at a time—an email can be sent to literally one person. That’s why your strategy needs to strike a balance between your goals and users’ privacy.
When it comes to restaurant marketing email, best practices are a must. Before launching your next email campaign, make sure you do the following:
Make Emails Optional
The biggest mistake you can make is to send an email people didn’t ask to receive. Even your most loyal customers don’t want to get unsolicited communications. This is why you should only send emails to those who have opted in.
Add a “subscribe” field to every page of your site so people have the choice to start receiving emails, as well as an “Unsubscribe” link to every email sent afterward. Make sure the unsubscribe link is in plain view and not obscured. Let’s face it, some people just don’t want to keep getting email, so giving them an easy way out is crucial. (It’s also the law!)
Make Them Personal
Your emails should always read “Dear [Name] rather than “Dear Subscriber” or some other generic term. Whenever possible, customize the offers—for example, mention their favorite meals when promoting specials.
You may also find that you get better results by personalizing the subject line in your messages. In one study, personalized subject lines boosted click rates by more than 17 percent.
Say Something Relevant
Email helps you stay in touch with prospective diners, but it only works if you reach out with something important to tell them. This could be a change in operating hours, new dishes on the menu, or a special coupon. As long as it’s relevant to subscribers, it’s appropriate for an email.
The one exception to this rule of relevance is holiday greetings. It’s fine to send an end-of-year “Season’s Greetings” email to thank people for their business. At every other time, though, you should have something to say that isn’t broad and untargeted.
Include a Call to Action
After subscribers have read your email, what do you want them to do? The only way they’ll know what you want them to do next is if you add a prominent call to action to each email.
An email shouldn’t just end with, well, the email—it should be the first step in an ongoing exchange. The call to action presents that second step. This could be a link to a blog, landing page, contact form or video.
Whatever the next step is, make it clear. Add a link to your message, or put the link in a brightly colored button. Making your calls to action crystal clear can invoke further actions—and an ongoing relationship between you and your diners.
Email Regularly—But Not Too Often
When it comes to restaurant email frequency, the range of “often enough” goes from once a day to once a month. The real answer for your restaurant probably falls somewhere in the middle.
If you’re not sure how frequently you should send email, try providing an option for your subscribers. Choose a program that allows them to choose between receiving daily, weekly, or monthly emails. This options ensures everyone gets an email often enough... but not so often that it’s potentially annoying.
Harness the Power of Restaurant Email Marketing
When you own or manage a restaurant, marketing emails allow you to offer special deals and discounts, announce changes to the menu or hours, and stay in touch with regular patrons. If you come up with an email marketing plan now, you’ll be sure to stay in subscribers’ minds when they’re looking for a place to eat.
Need help launching your own email marketing program? Want some advice from the experts? Or don’t you have time to do email marketing yourself? WebpageFX can help. Contact one of our expert marketing strategists to find out how we can help you launch a marketing program designed to grow your ROI, increase your customer base, and get more people in the door.
Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to find out how restaurant email marketing can grow your business and attract more customers than you ever thought possible.