By Tiffany Harper, Contributor
With hundreds or even thousands of restaurants in every major town, it is getting increasingly difficult to keep and attract new customers to your locations.
You obviously can’t just sit and wait for the nearby residents to visit you if you have any hopes of growing. So, what can you do to improve brand awareness and the overall profitability of your business? The answer lies in email marketing.
According to a National Restaurant Association report, over 80% of restaurants are turning to technology to help them run their companies successfully and efficiently. Email marketing proved to be one of the most rewarding tools in this category, and we want to talk about the best email campaign strategies to help your business flourish.
Practical Benefits of Email Marketing
Email marketing has a plethora of highly practical benefits, but we want to narrow down the options and discuss the most important ones only. Here are the biggest advantages of this marketing channel:
Affordability. Email marketing is highly affordable. While professional emailing services could cost you a few dollars, you can start from scratch without spending a dime on it. At the same time, email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent, while 20% of companies report a ratio of over 70:1. This basically means that zero investments can generate a huge profit.
Simplicity. There is nothing complex about email marketing. You can launch campaigns easily, allow content sharing with just one click, and measure results within minutes. Even amateurs or green marketeers can quickly figure out the concept.
Accessibility. Email is a widespread means of communication. People all over the world use it both for the personal and professional communication, so you can access almost every target audience globally. And where social media companies act as a gatekeeper to their users, you can get into guests’ inboxes for free.
Trustworthiness. This benefit goes hand in hand with accessibility. Namely, people consider email to be a credible medium of business communication and they won’t mind seeing digital messages coming from their favorite restaurants if the content is relatable and useful.
5 Email Campaign Tactics to Use for Restaurant Business
Now that you’ve seen the basic information about email marketing and its practical benefits, it is time to focus on the most interesting part of this post – five tactics to make your email campaigns better and more effective. Let’s take a look!
1. Create a good strategy
Strategic thinking is critical to the success of the restaurant-focused email campaign. You can’t just send emails randomly and expect them to generate user interest, but rather plan all activities before taking a concrete action.
First of all, you must think about the content. We recommend you follow the 80-20 pattern by sending 80% of educational content and only 20% of sales-related messages. The majority of information should build relationships between you and your guests, while the rest is supposed to promote your place directly.
Secondly, you must ensure branding consistency. Make all of your emails equipped with the same logos, templates, colors, and highly recognizable restaurant imagery. That way, you can build the brand and allow receivers to recognize the sender even before they read the content itself.
Besides that, think about the frequency. Most people don’t mind getting four to five brand emails per month, so you can just stick to this pattern and keep sending one message a week. It is enough to build anticipation, but also to remind people that you are still there without burdening their inbox.
Data protection is another important aspect of the strategy. Some countries already enforced anti-data leakage laws, and you better make sure to earn the trust of the subscribers. Additionally, don’t forget to allow your followers to unsubscribe – it will make your business look more credible and transparent.
2. Audience segmentation
The fact that everyone subscribes to the same email list doesn’t mean that your followers want to consume the same type of content. On the contrary, you have to segment the target audience to provide each user with the right kind of content.
Using a simple website analytics, you can discover who is searching for what on your website. This gives you more than enough feedback to segment subscribers and customize your email campaigns. What do we mean exactly?
You’ll most likely notice that people who visit a restaurant’s website are mostly looking for recipes, while others search for new meals or special offers. Segmentation allows you to break up your audience into groups based on their interests. Segmented campaigns make the message much more appealing due to the personalization effect, so you better take advantage of this email marketing tactic.
If this sounds too good to be true, take a look at the following stat. Studies show that segmented email marketing campaigns get almost 15% more email opens and nearly 60% more clicks compared to non-segmented campaigns.
3. Offer incentives
Incentives represent an easy target for marketing professionals, particularly in the restaurant business. It’s a great tactic to raise brand awareness, increase the number of subscribers, and attract new guests.
The sheer nature of the restaurant industry allows operators to play with many different incentives. You can probably think of numerous baits for email marketing campaigns, but we also want to contribute by proposing the following incentives:
Discount coupons: Give subscribers a 15% or 20% discount to visit your restaurant and have a nice meal.
Free appetizers: Everybody likes free stuff, even if it’s just an appetizer. This is the kind of incentive that doesn’t cost you too much, but you can gain a lot with it.
Holiday specials: You can create a special holiday offer for entire families or groups of visitors.
Event tickets: If there is a concert nearby, why wouldn’t you cross-promote it through your restaurant by giving free tickets to people who visit your place?
These are only a few commonly used restaurant email campaign incentives, but don’t let it be your limit and stop you from thinking about other uses. You should find enough inspiration in your everyday work to come up with fresh and interesting ideas to boost guest interest every now and then.
4. Use email marketing tools
Another great thing about email marketing is that you don’t have to do everything alone. Most of the work can be automated using the state-of-the-art tools. That way, you can schedule emails, adapt the style and templates to create more beautiful messages, design mobile-friendly content, and track and analyze campaigns easily.
Determine your needs and preferences to start looking for the most suitable email marketing tool. There are hundreds of options available online, but our experience tells us that most restaurants work smoothly with tools like:
MailChimp. MailChimp is one of the most comprehensive email marketing tools that provides clients with all sorts of email design features. You don’t have to be an expert to use MailChimp because its layouts are so simple and intuitive. You can even use it free of charge in case you are not running a big franchise, but you can level it up for only $10 a month.
Drip. Drip put an emphasis on email personalization, and we already told you how important this is for the overall success of your campaigns. The tool allows you numerous integrations with other apps, but the basic pricing plan will cost you a little as it starts at $49 a month.
Constant Contact. Constant Contact is another emailing platform that guarantees easy branding and customization. With a huge palette of drag-and-drop options, you can quickly craft powerful restaurant-related campaigns starting at $20 a month.
5. Test different options
How can you tell which emails and their components perform better than others? There is only one way to find out: testing. You can compare several elements to determine details which make the biggest impression on your subscribers, thus increasing open and click-through rates.
You can analyze the efficiency of all elements in comparison to each one of the audience segments. Test subject lines, colors, images, templates, calls to action, word count, or offers. It should give you more than enough data to detect the most productive restaurant email practices and remove pain points that proved to be inefficient.
Modern business requires contemporary tech solutions. It’s almost impossible to run a successful restaurant without digital tools, so we made an overview of the five best email campaigns to help you increase the profitability of the company.
Do you already use email marketing in your business? Do you know other simple but effective campaign tactics to share with our readers? Feel free to let us know in comments and we will be glad to discuss this interesting topic with you.
About the Author
Tiffany Harper is a talented writer from New York, an extremely active woman, and a real leader. She began her career as a journalist and later proceeded it as writer and editor. Now she works as an experienced freelance writer in Essay Writing Land, mostly in technology and education area.