The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Email Marketing

Email marketing is becoming more popular with small and medium sized businesses. Being a low cost, highly targeted, and very effective marketing method means restaurant email marketing should be contained within your restaurant marketing plan, and be a regular method of attracting customers to your restaurant.

Email marketing sounds expensive and complicated, but in fact, all it involves is emailing a subscriber base of customers and prospective customers on a regular basis, to keep them up to date with your latest offers and news.

Why is Email Marketing so Powerful

Marketing your restaurant via email is very cheap. Even if you include your time invested as an expense, you’re still looking at a marketing method that is far cheaper, much more effective and incredibly well targeted compared to most other marketing techniques.

People who you email will be people that have purposefully subscribed to your email list, and are therefore well targeted because they have already expressed an interest in your restaurant. Potentially they will be past customers, often your most loyal customers, but also prospective customers looking for special offers before they dine with you.

The Benefits of Using an Email Marketing Service

While collecting email addresses and sending out a mass email sounds easy in principle, it’s always a wise idea to use a specialized email marketing service. These services provide you with a platform for sending emails.

The Benefits of an Email Marketing Service

While sending out an email to many hundreds of recipients may sound simple, when you consider the logistics of manually adding your recipients to the email, it seems more time consuming than it needs to be.

By using a specialized service, you will find your emails reach more of the intended recipients. This is because services stagger your emails, sending only to a manageable load at once, and then moving on to the next batch, as opposed to trying to send to many hundreds or thousands of recipients at once.

A specialized service also allows you to manage you subscriber list via a user friendly interface, and provides stats on who is subscribed, when they subscribed, who unsubscribed and more. This makes your job even easier, and ensures your time is well spent writing emails, rather than managing the technical aspects of such a marketing method.

These services also allow you to easily modify your email design templates, giving you the freedom to easily position your own restaurant branding within the email.

Recommended Email Marketing Service Providers

There are many services out there. Some are free, others incur a small fee.

MailChimp – This is our personal favorite, and includes a free option for those who are willing to accept a limited feature list and send fewer than 12,000 emails per month.

Constant Contact – While Constant Contact offer a free trial, they’re service starts from $15 per month for 0 – 500 email addresses.

iContact – Like Constant Contact, iContact offer a free trial. Their cheapest package starts at under $10 for a maximum of 500 email addresses.

aWeber – Starting at $19 per month for up to 500 email addresses, aWeber tends to receive very positive reviews.

How Do Customers Subscribe to Your Email List?

The best way to allow people to subscribe to your restaurant email list is by adding a simple form on your website, allowing them to enter their name and email address. When they enter their email address, they are automatically subscribed to your list.

All the services we listed above work with Restaurant Engine, allowing your website visitors to easily express their interest in your restaurant by subscribing.

By law, a method of unsubscribing must be provided in every email you send to your subscribers. All the services listed above create an unsubscribe hyperlink automatically at the bottom of each email.

How Restaurants Can Attract Email Subscribers

Many of your subscribers will be past customers, but there will be a percentage that is not. Most people will subscribe in the hope of receiving discounts or special offers as a reward for their loyalty.

Offer Exclusive Coupons for Signing Up

Entice people to subscribe to your email list by sending them exclusive coupons for use in your restaurant once they subscribe.

Organize a Prize Giveaway

Everybody likes a prize, and when you have a user friendly list of subscribed email addresses via your choice of email marketing service, it’s very easy to pull an email address out of a hat to choose a winner.

Promote your prize giveaway in your restaurant and on your website, and make sure everybody is a winner by offering coupons to every subscriber.

Make Your Content Great!

The opportunity to build loyalty with an email list shouldn’t be underestimated. Your intention should be to retain subscribers for a long time, actively building a relationship with them with every email you send.

With this in mind, you must keep the content of the email entertaining, interesting and useful. By providing notes from your head chef, a list of the week’s specials and events, genuine reviews of your latest dish, you will provide content that is going to keep people subscribed and content that is going to be forwarded to their friends and family. This, in turn, will keep customers flooding through your restaurant door and filling your tables every night of the week.

Speaking of email, we’ve got an email list here on this blog too!  If you’re interested in seeing how we use email connect with other readers of this blog, you can sign up for free right here:

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