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Email marketing is a critical tool for promoting your restaurant, and it’s clear to see why: everyone has an email address, and everyone has a stomach. Still, many restaurateurs aren’t able to see success with their email marketing, or are too inexperienced to consider trying it. Let’s discuss what makes email marketing fast, fun, and profitable for any kind of restaurant!
Even if your business doesn’t have a dedicated marketing team, crafting and sending out impactful emails shouldn’t have to be a scary process. Think of email marketing as an extension of your restaurant’s existing promotional efforts, and use it to show off items, sales, or events that you’re proud of. By keeping customers in the know about your business’s activities, you won’t just be whetting their appetites – you’ll be tempting them to boost your bottom line!
Before you type the first letter of your next e-blast, take a step back and make sure you know what your goals are. What are you trying to achieve? For an email campaign to be successful, it must be focused – if it isn’t, customers won’t know what you’re trying to tell them. Different kinds of emails are better-suited for different topics, and by having a strong idea of what you want to accomplish, you’ll find writing emails to be faster, easier, and more effective.
Ask yourself: Why do I want to start email marketing? What can email marketing help my restaurant with that other forms of marketing can’t? Emails are best-suited for detailed, customized advertisements. If the subject you’re looking for is aligned with those attributes, then email marketing is right for you! If not, you might want to look into social media or delivery app marketing, instead.
As a restaurant owner, you’re in a great position to collect your customers’ email addresses. Many customers will happily give you their information in exchange for your marketing! Think of all the websites you’ve visited that let users sign up to newsletters – this makes a great way to build up mailing lists. Be sure to give customers some incentive to connect, too – many restaurants offer free items to patrons that subscribe to their promotions, for example.
Don’t forget about real-world ways of gathering contact details, either! You can let customers log into your Wi-Fi network with their email addresses, include an email field on your suggestion cards, or prompt patrons for their email information on receipts. Customers want to stay informed about your business. By actively helping them do so, you’ll collect plenty of email addresses in no time.
Like all forms of advertising, email marketing needs to be prepared for before it is implemented. Plan out how many emails you want to send your customers for each topic you want to promote. Less is often more – many applications detect repeated messages as spam, which may prevent your work from being seen. Instead, create a schedule for your emails, and keep it consistent, not cluttered.
Consider your customers’ expectations, too. Will you be sending them what they want to see? Restaurant patrons are excited by new items, specials, and promotions, so make sure that you’re meeting their demands with every one of your messages. Never give customers a reason to unsubscribe – keep them engaged constantly, and your brand will always be at the top of their minds.
Now, the fun part: Creating your email! Customers today are used to well-written, visually-appealing messages, so you’ll need to send them your best work. When writing or designing visual content for your emails, use a tone and style that fits your restaurant’s existing presence. Keep your emails aligned with your other forms of digital marketing to prevent confusion, but give them their own unique attributes to provide exclusive value.
Effective marketing emails make the reader’s experience short and sweet. Tell customers what you want them to know ASAP, and they’ll act just as quickly. Be sure to include direct links to your website or delivery app storefront, and use CTAs – Calls-To-Action – to prompt rapid engagement. Don’t forget about writing appealing subject lines and preview text, either! Make customers want to order from you with a strong message, and give them the tools and motivation to do so.
Unless you’re looking to change your title from “Restaurant Owner” to “Email Marketing Specialist”, you’ll want to automate how your emails are sent out. These days, you’ve got plenty of email marketing software to choose from, like Mailchimp and Sendinblue. Applications like these are essential to sending out great emails – in addition to automating distribution, they’ll collect vital data on customer engagement.
Automated email applications know how to circumvent spam filters, and lend your messages an air of professionalism. Many of these platforms also include built-in design features, letting you put together attractive messages in one place! Look into what each of these services can offer your business, and select the one that’s right for your needs.
Your job isn’t done once your emails have been sent! In fact, next to sales, data is one of the most important things an email marketing campaign can provide your restaurant with. Once you have this data, consider what it means for your marketing efforts. Are customers interested in what you’re offering? What percentage of your emails were opened? How many direct sales were driven by your email campaign? The answers to these questions are crucial for improving future marketing activities.
Any email marketing software worth its salt will make campaign data easy to access and comprehend. Once you’ve collected your first round of email analytics, congratulations! You now have a solid foundation to improve your activities and strengthen customer engagement. By combining what you’ve learned from this data with your in-store and delivery app sales metrics, you’ll have a strong understanding of how to translate email marketing into restaurant success.
Emails are a great way to round out your restaurant’s digital marketing efforts. They’re simple to build, endlessly customizable, and extremely effective for driving engagement. Use email marketing to provide your customers with information, updates, and promotions in an irresistible way, and they’ll reward you with their time and money.
To help your restaurant start crafting great marketing emails, we’ve created a few message templates that you can use and customize as you like! Simply fill out the form below to download Otter’s complimentary email samples.