How to Use Email Marketing to Boost Your Restaurant Business

Visual hunt

Segmentation gets content to the right people at the right time.

Are you using a consistent email marketing strategy to build relationships with your customers and get more diners in your door?

If not, it’s a great time to get started. In this article, we look at how to use email marketing to boost your restaurant business.

But first, for those of you who are on the fence about the viability of email marketing, let’s look at why you should use it.

Email Marketing is Good for Your Restaurant

Did you know there are more than 1.86 billion people using Facebook each month and more than 328 million monthly Twitter users? That’s a lot of people.

You might be wondering why we’re telling you this since we’re discussing email marketing. This is because we’re hitting you with three more astounding facts:

  • There are three times as many email accounts than Twitter and Facebook accounts combined.
  • This adds up to five billion email accounts worldwide. Consequently, you can reach more people through email.
  • A survey by the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric found that email had a median ROI (return on investment) more than four times higher than other marketing formats they looked at including social media, direct mail and paid search.

Bottom line: your 2000+ Facebook followers don’t have the same value as your 2000+ email subscribers, and email works.

While very few of your social media followers see your posts (unless you’re paying for them), you can see email open rates approaching 40% if you’re doing it right.

So, email marketing is strong, and you should be utilizing it. Let’s look at how to use it to boost your restaurant business.

Send a Personalized Offer

Promotional emails are a simple form of email that provides a discount or deal to your customers. (tweet this)

You can encourage people to join your email list either in your restaurant or online by promising them consistent deals and discounts.

This is a great way to entice people to join your list. Once they’ve joined, it’s up to you to keep the offers coming.

The key to the offer is to segment your customers on your email list. Each one of your customers has unique needs and interests and a different value to you.

For example, if you have customers that only order from you online, this should be a segment that you target with online ordering offers.

Or, you might have another group of people that only dines in your restaurant. This is another segment to target with dine-in offers.

Gather the right info from your email sign-ups, and you might even send a targeted birthday email to customers during their birthday month.

With the promotional type of email, you’ll have the best success if you email regularly and consistently with offers and info that are relevant to each customer.

email marketing

Content creation is important when designing emails.

Nurture Your Website Leads

Do you have an email sign up form on your website? Most restaurants do, but many of them don’t do much with these contacts other than send a couple of emails each year.

If you fall into this category, you’ve got a missed opportunity on your hands, and it’s time to change tactics.

Once a person signs up on your website, it’s time to nurture them on a continual basis.

This begins with the welcome email. Send this email immediately. Thank them for joining your list and tell them what they can expect from you in future emails.

Create additional emails to send automatically to these customers as promised. Perhaps it’s once a week or even once a month. But, follow through and give them what you promised.

Set your customers up in an automated drip campaign that provides staggered emails, and you’ll nurture these people through their relationship with your restaurant. (tweet this)

You can also retarget customers. For example, let’s say someone filled their shopping cart with their food order, but they didn’t complete the order.

You can send them an email reminding and encouraging them to do so. You might even send a coupon as an incentive.

Nurture Loyalty Program Members

If your restaurant has a customer loyalty program, you can touch base with these valuable customers on a regular basis through email.

Your customers are more likely to return to your restaurant again and again if they feel appreciated.

Send them updates on their points. Include monthly specials and event information. You might even send them a recipe or a cooking tip.

The goal is to send emails that nurture and engage your customer and ultimately end with them dining in your restaurant.

Now that we’ve looked at some ways to boost your restaurant business, let’s look at some email best practices.

Must-Dos for Sending Email

Follow these tips for sending the best emails to your customers.

  • All emails must be responsive and mobile-friendly. People usually open emails first on their phones, so they must render well.
  • Personalize emails. Add their name and segment your content.
  • Make your calls to action visible and relevant.
  • Test your emails to see what content, images and subject lines work best. Compare the results of your campaigns to see where you can improve.
  • Include links to your social media pages in your emails.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve looked at how to use email marketing to boost your restaurant business, it’s time to ask yourself if you’re doing enough.

If the answer is yes, then congratulations. If the answer is no, then it’s time to put together a strategy for your email marketing.

You can drive sales to your restaurant if you use email marketing, and you’ll excel if you have an email marketing strategy in place.

Do this by creating a plan. Get a calendar and start making a list of a month or two worth of emails. Test their success. Revise as necessary and start again the next month.

It’s a glorious thing to have obtained your customers’ email addresses. This means you’ve been invited into their inner sanctum – their inbox.

This is a unique privilege only granted to businesses they want information from. Take care and send your customers the information they want, when they want it.

Build a relationship. Offer things of value, and you’ll soon find your restaurant is booming.

Do you use email marketing? If the answer is yes, please share what is working (or hasn’t worked) for your restaurant. We’d love to hear your thoughts and learn about your email marketing success stories.

Images: Visual hunt

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