There is no doubt that building restaurant email list is important.
Since the beginning of the Internet, email has been around. Everybody needs an email address to function on the web. Sure, you can browse around and check things out, but in order to signup, login and purchase you need an email address.
Even with the increase in texting and social media the need for email remains. People are using it more than ever.
Even the experts recommend email marketing:
You know that email is important, but the issue is getting more people on your restaurant email list.
Let’s go over some practical ways to grow your list.
Most of the tips you’ll read about getting more email addresses are online related. Well those are great, but for a person that is busy in the restaurant it’s hard to devote tons of time to online marketing.
An easier way to get emails is to focus on the customer interactions that take place every day in your restaurant.
An easy way to get emails is to focus on in-person customer interactions. Tweet This
Create an incentive for the waitstaff to collect emails. If they are using iPads it would be easy for a customer to type in the email. You can also write down the email addresses.
Maybe there is typically a wait for a table. In the waiting area or in the bar have a physical call to action for people to visit your site and signup for the email list. Also have a pad of paper or a collection area for business cards so people can quickly opt-in to your email newsletter.
Use an enticing offer like letting those on the list know about exclusive specials or new menu items. Sometimes just asking for the email gets people to signup, but often you’ll need to make an offer to get them interested.
When you send out emails to your subscribers ask people to forward the email to others.
For example, say you’re having an event at the restaurant in a few days. Maybe it’s an event for charity or maybe it’s a great deal on drinks for happy hour. Ask your subscribers to forward the message to their friends. You could even use the text, “Hey – $5 appetizers at Joe’s Restaurant this Friday! Meet me there.”
If you choose to do this (and you should) make sure you include a new link to the signup form on your website. People that aren’t on the list will be getting the email so you want to ask them to signup.
Put a link in every email that asks, “Want free updates and offers? Signup. It’s easy.”
Word of mouth is a classic business model and it works for email too.
Restaurants host contests all the time to collect business cards. It’s a way to build the contact list for the restaurant. You can do the same thing by having customers signup for the contest with their email address. If they really want to win they’ll have to give you their real email address so it’s a good way to make sure your list is clean.
You could give away weekly free dinners or something similar that is ongoing. Make it worthwhile enough for a customer to want to signup repeatedly, but look for something that won’t cost you so much.
Free meals (or giftcards) can work well because you only lose out on the cost of the food. It’s better than buying a prize or giving out cash to the winner.
Do you know another company that has an email list? It doesn’t even have to be a company. It could be the Chamber of Commerce or a local newspaper.
Tap into their email list and do some kind of co-promotion in one of their emails.
For example, you could offer a free meal. The partner would co-sponsor the contest. You give up the prize and they give up the access to their email list. Tell people that the way to signup is to register for your email list on your website.
You’ll be tapping into an audience that is already built.
Do people like your food?
Of course they do.
An offer you could host on your website is to create a book of recipes. Customers can gain access to it, but they have to signup for the email newsletter. You can setup an auto-reply that sends them an electronic copy of the recipe book. It doesn’t even have to be anything fancy. You can do the writing and hire a designer to create a .pdf document for you. It should be a hundred bucks or so and it will be totally worth it for all the additional email addresses you’ll get.
You know that creating an email list is important. It’s an asset you own and control. When people opt-in to your email newsletter they are giving you permission to market to them. They want your messages.
Use the tips above to build your email list. With a little effort on these tips you can get a good number of emails and with a little extra effort and creativity you should see your email list explode.
For more information on email marketing check out The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Email Marketing.