The smart restaurant email marketing guide to winning more customers
Drive repeat guests with a powerful email marketing strategy; Supercharge your campaigns with TableCheck's new EDM feature
Despite the noise many social media marketers make about their platforms, email marketing continues to rule the roost of marketing strategies due to its excellent return on investment (ROI).
According to Hubspot, every dollar spent on email marketing generates a whopping 36$ ROI.
Email marketing allows a restaurant to increase foot traffic on slow days, publish updates about new menu items, announce New Year's Eve specials, and generate top-of-mind brand awareness–all done within a single channel.
For restaurants, email marketing could be an effective tactic to establish excellent brand recall with diners, push offers and encourage repeat visits. However, as with any marketing tool, getting email marketing right takes some planning.
Having the customers' email addresses is the first step. If a restaurant uses TableCheck, they are already ahead of the game. TableCheck's booking forms and guest surveys allow operators to capture guest data so they can create an email list of their customers.
Let's take a look at how email marketing can help restaurants.
Building an email list
There are several methods for collecting email addresses and building a marketing opt-in list.
1. Use a booking platform
There are booking platforms that allow hospitality operators to create guest profiles and provide complete access to guest data for use in email marketing. However, restaurant owners should be aware that when they register on such a platform, there could be a privacy clause. Online Travel Agency (OTA) platforms typically own the guest data so restaurateurs get very limited access to diners and are unable to retarget them for future marketing campaigns.
With TableCheck, restaurants own and control their own guest data. Hospitality operators are the main data owners and have full control of their customer data.
2. Guest surveys
In order to get crucial data about customers, hospitality businesses can conduct guest surveys using booking platforms like Tablecheck. These surveys are helpful in a number of ways because they enable restaurants to understand customer preferences better and provide them with wow moments. For example, if the data shows that a guest enjoys the restaurant's Tiramisu dessert, they could personalize the experience by providing the customer with a free Tiramisu on their birthday or special anniversary.
READ MORE: Top 10 restaurant survey questions to improve guest satisfaction
3. Sign up at the restaurant
For walk-ins, restaurants can ask guests to either sign a guest register or sign up digitally at the end of their meal. This gesture also shows that restaurants think about every brand touchpoint to improve their guest experience and that they are willing to listen to their customers.
At Pizza 4P's, guests are given a handy device after they finish eating their meal to get direct customer feedback.
READ MORE: Transforming Pizza 4P's into a global brand
4. Website sign-ups
Diners frequently visit a restaurant's website to explore the menu, place an order, check the schedule, or see if any special deals are advertised. Restaurants should use a website form to collect the necessary contact information from consumers so they may add it to their mailing list.
Tip: To make it easy for guests to make reservations, restaurants should embed their booking forms on their websites. This is another way they can capture rich guest data in order to build an email list. The TableCheck booking form is embeddable on any restaurant website.
5. Social media contests
Running contests on social media is one way to engage customers especially if they are inclined to secure deals and discounts. This aids the restaurant in collecting email addresses and other vital data (birthday, anniversary dates).
Note: The Terms & Conditions of contests should explicitly ask guests for permission before using their email addresses for newsletters and retargeting activities
The why, when, and how of email marketing
1. What is the purpose of the emails? What should the content be about?
Before drafting any emails and starting any outreach campaigns, restaurant owners and managers should clarify the goals and objectives. Is it to promote specific sales and discounts to increase restaurant traffic or to personalize customer service?
For restaurant owners who are thinking of running happy hours or other theme nights on certain days of the week, sending emails to their loyal clientele about these events is the best way to drive traffic to their venue. At the same time, restaurants that aim to forge a more personal connection with their clients should keep in touch with them by sending special greetings on their birthday or anniversary. It is surefire way to stay on top of their clients' minds and drive guest loyalty.
2. How often should you send emails?
Restaurants should ensure that the rate at which the emails are sent does not overwhelm their recipients. Building a content calendar that tracks milestones, events, or promos is a good guide on how often to email clients. Customers expect to gain something when they receive an email in their inbox so restaurants should only send emails when it is worth their while.
Simple and powerful restaurant email marketing ideas
It's time to move on to the creative and fun part of email marketing: content creation. Restaurants can use email marketing to accomplish several goals, from increasing foot traffic on a dull workday to telling customers about the new cocktails on the menu. The content must be helpful, the tone must be engaging, and the brand voice must be consistent.
1. Wishes on client's special day: birthdays and anniversaries
Sending clients birthday or anniversary wishes is a great way to connect with them. Restaurants can use the occasion as an opportunity to extend a discount or offer to tempt customers into spending their special day at the establishment.
2. Theme nights
People appreciate entertaining themes at restaurants as it gives them a chance to have a one-of-a-kind, unique dining experience. This is the time when restaurants get an opportunity to shake things up and get the town talking. The email invitation informing patrons about the theme night should be stylish and appropriate, whether it is a ladies' night or a 70s retro night.
3. New menu
As much as guests love repeatedly dining at their favorite restaurant, everybody enjoys change. So if a restaurant is revamping their menu or coming out with a seasonal menu, they should also share the exciting, delicious news with their loyal clientele via email.
This Instagram post from Sami Sami Restaurant at Ayana Resort and Spa in Bali, Indonesia can be converted into an email newsletter to make sure it reaches the hotel's loyal guests.
4. Promote special events, parties, and live gigs
Has the restaurant prepared for a night of music and dancing? Do they have a fabulous New Year's Eve party planned for December 31st? Is a well-known magician performing at the establishment? Restaurants can inform customers of the exciting, vibrant, and pleasurable events they have in store for them. Make the invitation engaging and event-themed. Don't forget to state the event's date and time clearly.
5. Holiday specials
Eateries can use special holidays to connect with customers, extend an offer, or simply notify them that they are closed for the day.
6. Promotion for slow days
Every restaurant has peak business days on Fridays, weekends, holidays, and other special days. How do they boost foot traffic on regular days? Restaurants could accomplish this by announcing special offers to entice people to visit their establishment on weekdays.
Given how visually appealing food is, it is extremely probable that restaurants would include multiple food photographs in their emails.
However, maintaining brand consistency by adhering to a specific writing style is crucial, as is the text itself.
Because guests likely receive hundreds of promotional emails, it is important to keep a few dos and don'ts in mind. The advice provided here will help any hospitality operator stand out.
Keep your message concise and clear.
Use a subject line that summarises the email's main point. Enjoy our 1+1 deal on cocktails this Saturday night, for instance.
Use percentages and integers in the topic line. For example, "Take advantage of 15% off our fresh, delicious Angus steaks"
Use the client's name whenever you send a welcome email or advertise a special offer. Visitors are likely to notice an email that uses their first name to address them.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are the most successful days for promotional emails, with Saturdays and Sundays seeing the lowest open rates.
Segmenting the audience
The significance of email marketing and its excellent return on investment have been largely discussed in this article. However, collecting email addresses, creating a sizable database, and hammering clients with emails won't be enough to achieve success. With the help of email marketing, hospitality operators should be able to segment their customers and provide them with a more customized experience. For instance, by emailing them a unique deal, you may create a wow moment for patrons who have spent more than $100 at your restaurant in the past.
If the guests believe the information is pertinent and beneficial to them, they are more inclined to open promotional emails. Segmentation ensures that customers receive emails from restaurants comprising content they are likely to find valuable. So whenever a restaurant uses segmentation wisely, it receives a fantastic open rate for every email it sends.
There are several examples to emphasize the value and necessity of segmentation. One such example is of a restaurant conducting a Ladies’s night. Segmentation allows the restaurant to advertise the ladies' night to female guests without bulk emailing the entire database.
TableCheck's EDM feature
TableCheck has an electronic direct mail (EDM) feature that allows restaurants to easily build automated email marketing campaigns at scale. They can send timed promotional and personalized messages to their guests with minimal effort. It's a time-saving solution for restaurants to help them with their marketing campaigns and cultivate long-term relationships with their guests.
What we do
Let TableCheck manage your restaurant while you focus on growing your business and delivering what you do best – creating magical moments for your guests.