This post was last updated December 2018.
Restaurant email marketing is a great way to draw in local customers and maintain a profit.
Successful restaurant email marketing is essential. What’s more, when done correctly, restaurant email campaigns and newsletters allow you to remain relevant, no matter the cuisine you represent.
Implementing fine-tuned messaging and campaigns, building loyal patrons from your contact list, and selecting the optimal email software is a must. This allows you to get a leg up on the competition while also boosting your restaurant’s reputation.
With the right email marketing tools, you can take any restaurant to the next level.
Why restaurants should consider email marketing
Utilizing email marketing for restaurants can help you reach those still new to your business.
It also allows you to reach the individuals who want to revisit you in the future.
Consider your guests. What would they want to know about your restaurant? What types of emails would they want to receive?
Brand awareness is key when providing promotions. Plus, an understanding of your brand will help you provide an ideal dining experience to both loyal and new patrons.
Customer retention is one of your main goals when strategizing a new restaurant email marketing plan.
Will you use social media along with email campaigns?
What type of discounts or promotional offers will you provide, and are they redeemable online?
Once you have a better understanding of what information you need to provide (e.g. what your guests are searching for when dining out and visiting your restaurant), you can provide content to meet their needs. Note how much you’re spending on ontent, however, as your ROI is imperative to keep in mind.
At the end of the day, ROI is what will keep your restaurant up and running (hopefully for years to come).
Calculating expenses and which deals perform best can also help you avoid financial issues, all while remaining ahead with your marketing.
Ready to see more authentic restaurant email marketing? Below we discuss how to build your email marketing list.
Building your restaurant email marketing list
There are numerous ways to build your restaurant’s email marketing contact list to boost sales, traffic, and popularity of your location.
One way to do so is by allowing patrons to make reservations (both over the phone and online).
Using services such as OpenTable is a way to allow guests to sign-up and reserve a spot at your restaurant.
Customers can reserve a table even during the busiest hours each day right from the comfort of their home, or anywhere on-the-go.
Offering takeout and delivery orders is another method of boosting sales and building a restaurant’s name and reputation, especially if you’re just launching your very first restaurant.
Provide a card to guests with a URL to sign-up. Alternatively, provide a link to the official website of your establishment to track incoming traffic and the orders (takeout and delivery requests) you receive daily, weekly, and even monthly.
You can also add to your email list by providing sign-up windows directly on your website.
Newsletter sign-up pop-ups can quickly attract new subscribers, especially when offering additional deals, discounts, and promotions to those who are loyal subscribers over time.
Building your restaurant email marketing contact list is also possible directly inside of your restaurant.
Using table tents or offering a “text-to-subscribe” service with advertisements and signage is a way to encourage satisfied guests to subscribe to your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter service via SMS text messaging with less effort.
Implementing your website’s URL and newsletter marketing copy directly into your printed menus or guest receipts is another way to discreetly mention potential discounts and promotions for those willing to register and sign-up while in your restaurant or once they have returned home.
Giving incentives to guests within your restaurant is a surefire way to remain relevant in the ever-changing restaurant industry today.
Creating your restaurant email messaging
Choosing the type of emails and email marketing campaigns to send to loyal guests and potentially new patrons are possible by getting creative with your marketing strategy and listening to feedback.
There is a wide variety of options available to implement in your restaurant email marketing campaign, even if you are launching one for the first time.
Newsletter emails are ideal for guests who may want to learn more about your restaurant, certain upcoming events you are hosting, or even recipe secrets you are willing to share with subscribers.
Share details about your restaurant’s founding, celebrations, and even cooking tips for those at home (especially reheating tips or chef’s specials).
New menu items
Promoting new menu items is another way to attract loyal customers and bring new patrons into your restaurant with ease.
Keeping up with a fresh menu is essential in the restaurant world and helps to continuously keep the interest of those who want a new and exciting dining experience.
Gift card offers
Using your restaurant’s email marketing contact list is one of the best ways to showcase gift card offers you have available, especially during holiday seasons.
Sharing gift card deals and discounts encourages satisfied diners to purchase cards for family and friends, spreading the word regarding your restaurant while helping to boost your establishment’s reputation altogether.
Getting the right promotion of your restaurant can be done with reservation options that guests and newcomers may be unfamiliar with prior to visiting your location.
Sharing information on how to reserve a table for any number of guests in an email is a way to increase web traffic while providing patrons with the ability to reserve their spots online or by phone (depending on the options you choose to offer).
Reservations help to keep individuals interested in a restaurant while reassuring the ability to dine at the time of their choosing.
Calendar of events
Sharing a calendar of events within emails guests have subscribed to is another way to boost traffic to your restaurant throughout the year, regardless of special occasions and holidays that are approaching close.
Calendars allow customers to plan ahead for special menus, promotions, and potential discounts so they are more likely to remember not to miss out on providing you with business!
Including special promotions within emails to your customers is not only a way to show you care, but it is also a simple way of saying “thank you” to those who are genuinely interested in the growth and success of your restaurant.
Offering deals only to subscribers and readers of your mailing list allows your guests to feel special and appreciated, often prompting more visits in the future.
Sending out specialized birthday emails is a way to gain customer loyalty while also giving back to those who spend time reading what you have to say with each newsletter you send.
Obtaining a customer’s birthday is easy with the right sign-up form.
Some restaurants even send emails on a customer’s half birthday!
Birthday emails are a must-have to truly stand out amongst competition while greatly boosting customer loyalty.
Meet the chef/Staff opportunities
Sharing details about meeting your head chef and other members of the staff is a way to create a restaurant atmosphere that feels inclusive and caring about guests.
Allowing patrons to meet those who help manage and run your restaurant day in and day out showcases that you are down to Earth and truly care about the entire dining experience you provide at all times.
Story behind certain dishes
Writing a story behind certain or signature dishes your restaurant offers is heartwarming and helps connect with potential patrons and satisfied customers on a deeper level.
Allowing others to learn more about your business and how various foods came to your menu is a way to truly make an impression on your customers while building a positive reputation for the establishment and food you represent.
Share a recipe
Providing recipes in emails to restaurant newsletter subscribers is generous and useful to individuals who have an avid love of food and dining experiences.
Whether you choose to share a family recipe that has been passed down generations or even a “copycat” version of a dish at your own establishment, foodies who enjoy getting to know more about restaurants are sure to be grateful and pleased.
Ask for reviews
Requesting reviews in email newsletters is one way to garner more traffic to your website while allowing satisfied guests and loyal customers the ability to share the experiences they have had in their own words to the world.
Reviews online often help make or break a restaurant’s success–so putting your loyal restaurant email marketing subscriber list to use can greatly impact your future.
Hosting charity nights and sharing the details with loyal newsletter subscribers allows you to resonate with patrons while providing them additional incentives to visit your restaurant and participate in special occasions together.
Charity nights are ideal to give back to the community while showing you care about specific causes that are most relevant to your loyal followers and fans.
Things to remember when sending your emails
1) Ensure all emails you send to subscribers are responsive
A mobile-optimized email will maximize your open and response rate, regardless of the content of your emails.
Responsive emails allow individuals to open and properly view your email’s content on all devices and web browsers without issue.
Be sure to test all email templates prior to mass sending to those on your contact list.
2) Use personalization techniques
Reach your subscribers with first name greetings or even upcoming birthday special reminders (based on the information you currently collect).
Showing you are not simply sending a mass email to all users with the “same” content allows individuals to feel special and cared about, often giving them more of an incentive to visit your restaurant in the future.
3) Focus on your call-to-actions
When writing your emails, it is best to determine the right method of getting individuals more interested in your restaurant’s website or the promotions you have to offer.
Using A/B testing is one way to gain insight into the mind of your customers to deliver the right marketing copy and calls to action with each type of email you send out.
4) Choosing to segment emails based on consumer data
True personalization with your newsletter subscribers is having their historical information at the ready to segment for your campaigns.
Having consumer information (such as location, age, or upcoming birth dates) allows you to deliver messages that resonate and are most likely to receive responses and openings based on the type of customer you want to reach for certain and specific occasions.
5) Integrate your social media strategy into your emails
Email marketing for restaurants isn’t solely limited to emails themselves.
Incorporating all of your restaurant’s social media pages into the emails you send out is helpful in gaining traction and more visitors to your official website and fan pages across the web.
Sharing multiple social media accounts increases your chance of boosting followers and online loyalty with all patrons and guests.
6) Utilizing A/B testing
A/B testing is a must when managing emails and comparing the results of each campaign you send out.
A/B testing is one of the quickest methods of gaining insight into what marketing copy, titles, and promotions work best with specific customers or your entire subscriber list.
It’s also very useful to create the most effective marketing campaigns for your restaurant.
Choosing the right restaurant email marketing software
Making sure the email marketing software you choose for your restaurant’s email marketing doesn’t need to feel like making a souffle for the first time.
Remember to find an ESP that includes the features you need ensures fewer issues when reaching your subscribers.
You’ll also want clear tracking to measure the results of each campaign you launch and promote.
Here are eight key features to look for when shopping for software and restaurant email marketing services:
- Automated emails that are sent with specific triggers or on various days throughout the year are highly effective methods of reaching a specific audience or segment of your subscriber list. Email automation is a must for fast-growing restaurants to stay ahead of the competition.
- Adding email templates to your messages boosts professionalism while giving you the opportunity to showcase your brand, logo, and overall aesthetic with ease. Using email templates also helps subscribers remember your restaurant and the type of information you provide within each newsletter.
- List-building capabilities are also necessary when you are creating newsletters and launching email campaigns to draw in new patrons while keeping loyal customers coming back for more. Having the ability to import new contacts in various ways is a way to quickly boost the number of subscribers you have.
- A great email marketing program provides the ability to integrate with other systems and connections to build your subscriber list as quickly as possible. Email marketing programs that offer integration give you the ability to connect with reservation websites along with traditional newsletter services.
- Email software that allows for multi-channel marketing opportunities is another way to gain loyal patrons, even if you are a new restaurant to the scene. Allowing for direct mailing coupons using customer data is a way to reach individuals even when they are offline.
- Implementing text-to-subscribe promotions and capabilities with an email program is a way to reduce the hassle of seeking out additional programmers or software. Email programs that include text-to-subscribe capabilities ease the stress of incorporating the technology into your future email marketing campaigns.
- Email marketing software should always have a customer support system in place for those who wish to unsubscribe or want to get in touch with the restaurant directly. Offering customer support builds loyalty and helps keep patrons satisfied with your restaurant and brand at all times.
- Choosing an email marketing software solution that allows you to read reports on campaigns to better track results of your marketing strategies is a must. Tracking and reporting of data are essential to continuously appeal to individuals who are most likely to bring business in for your establishment.
Having a clear understanding of how to reach loyal guests and potential patrons is a way to quickly build a positive reputation from your restaurant email marketing strategy.
The more you’re involved with email marketing, promotions, and maintaining a personal connection with subscribers, the easier it becomes to boost traffic and ultimately, revenue.
Email marketing software from Delivra allows restaurants to build amazing campaigns and increase revenue. Experience Delivra for yourself here.