Restaurant Marketing Best Practices: Email Marketing

Date: 10-07-2012

Many people don’t do email marketing campaigns for their restaurant, café or take away.  Sometimes they think it is too much like spamming, sometimes it is too difficult and sometimes people think they just aren’t going to be able to make a difference with an email, but many restaurants make a huge difference to their business with their marketing campaigns.  If the emails are to past customers, who had a great time and who have signed up and if they contain relevant information, then they can make a large difference and email marketing is one of the cheapest ways to market your restaurant and if effective, it will be by far the best return on investment marketing that you will ever do.

Here are some Best Practice tips to help you get the most out of your emails.

  1. Build a database – There is no use in sending out an email to 25 people, it is a numbers game, so the more qualified people in your database the better.  Generally you want to build a database of customers, because they will have experienced your great food, great experience and great value.  There are various ways to build your database and you should try and use as many as possible.  The bigger your database, the more effective your email marketing will be.
  2. Use dedicated email software – You can’t just send emails out of Outlook Express or with Gmail.  Firstly, you need to manage the unsubscribes, people who don’t want to receive your email anymore.  Then you need to collate all of the emails together.  These need to be done, but they aren’t the important things in an email campaign.  The important things are knowing the open rate, the click through rate and ideally the actions taken from the email.  The success of your email marketing campaign will live or die by your open and click through rate.
  3. Subject lines are the new headlines – Remember when you used to design or approve the Yellow Pages ad The subject line in your email is the new Headline for your ad.  You are competing for attention in the inbox of your customers and just like Yellow Pages where you needed to use color in a big box to grab attention, you need a subject line that is as interesting and as exciting as possible.
  4. Make it relevant – Unless you are a rock star chef, most people aren’t interested in your restaurant and its goings on.  They are interested in WIIFM.  If you can always remember to talk about WIIFM in your marketing emails, you will be well down the road to success.  WIIFM stands for ‘What’s In It For Me?’  All of your marketing communications should be around what benefits your customers can get.  Whether it is a special that you are running, a change to your menu or an event that you have coming up, you need to very clear about the benefits to the customer.
  5. Test and Measure – Your emailing software will keep track of who opens and who clicks through.  These are two really important metrics to keep track of.  If the subject is great, your open rate will be great.  Same with the content,  great content will generate click throughs.  See what you customers respond and try to get the click through rate as high as possible
  6. Cross promote – Your emails will have a greater impact if they are followed up across other mediums, be it Facebook, Twitter, or even SMS.  There more times a customer see you, they are more likely to come back, if they had a good experience in the first place.
  7. Keep at it – Email marketing for restaurants is like a lot of things you have to do when you run a restaurant, it is something unfamiliar and difficult at first, but the more you do, the better you will get.  You will find out what you customers like and what works and what doesn’t.  If your emails are relevant, you open rate will improve over time and the effectiveness of the campaign will increase.

So that’s email marketing for restaurants, cafes and take aways in a nutshell. it is probably the quickest and easiest way to market your restaurant and it is virtually free.  The quickest and simplest way to do this is to use Marketing4Restaurants unique emailing engine which allows you to put in the subject and the content and our system will build a great looking email, send it out to all of the people in your database, manage unsubscribes and keep track of who opened and who clicked through.  Quick and easy restaurant marketing to help you get more customers!

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