We, as restaurant operators, suffer from the worst cases of inertia in the entire business world. Our lives are so overwhelmed by repetition, and we are so busy we don’t know how to disrupt our own business to help it grow. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to email marketing. Our recent poll demonstrates how we are failing to take advantage of email -- which is more important now more than ever.
With recent changes in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, the cost of reaching a targeted audience has increased significantly. Where before on Facebook, a guest could follow you and see your content regularly, now the FB algorithm greatly favors the guest’s friends and not business pages. In fact, to reach the social media audience you created on Facebook, you now have to pay Facebook for ad placements (insulting if you ask us). Add to that LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are now learning how to monetize their platforms, so it won’t get cheaper. That’s why email remains the preeminent value in direct access marketing and why it’s so frustrating to see the results of this poll.
The survey results revealed three metrics that prove you’re blowing it with email.
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They're Your Audience First
Let’s start with how many of you have an amazing resource at your fingertips which dwarfs your social media presence. Half of poll respondents reported that they have 10,000+ email addresses on their lists. Likely that is far more than the followers you have on Facebook or Twitter. Plus, nobody can stand in between you and communicating with your core audience with email. Email contacts are yours to interact with when and how you please.
Think in these terms: Everyone reviews their email even if they don’t open every item. So, unlike social media where there is no guarantee that your content will even appear on a guest’s timeline, email insures they, at minimum, see your name and subject line. That alone gets you in their mind and, if your content is great, you can even get into their routine.
More’s The Better
The frequency with which we need to communicate is a big part of social media marketing. In order to be relevant on social media, you will need to make a significant and regularized commitment to maintaining your presence. With email, less is more. Ideally you only need to create content for two times weekly, but it appears only 14% of you understand this strategy and send that often. Worse, 43% of you sent monthly or less. Plus you can re-task content from Facebook or Twitter as your audiences are likely different, which means it’s less work incrementally.
In Your Own Words
The phrase content is king might sound obvious, but when it comes to bar & restaurant emails, it doesn’t appear you see it. Only 14% of you have a blog and only 29% of you provide content that is intended to entertain. If you want capture mindshare through interactions then you need to give your guests a reason to open your emails. We applaud the 57% of you provide B’Day coupons and special offers to your email contacts, but it’s not enough. Guests want to talk about sports, get to you know your staff, peak behind the veil of a restaurant or just have a laugh. Doing this through blogging and providing content other than calls to action will get them to open your messages more often. They may even seek them out when they arrive. Make yourself a part of their regular weekly experience and you will improve your chances they choose you when the appropriate occasion arises.
Our infographic tells a story about missed potential when it comes to restaurant email marketing. We hope it will make you revisit your approach and start thinking like a content marketer. If you want to learn more about content marketing for restaurants read this recent post by us on the Upserve blog. Don’t waste this valuable resource that you have worked hard to amass. Let email take its rightful place among your marketing strategies and you will save money and grow your business. What’s not to love about that?