We know that owning a restaurant is one of the hardest jobs and that it always looks messy but it brings the joy of food to your customers. People bond and share stories eating your delicious treats!
And email marketing seems as it is another thing for you to worry about. One more thing that you think it has nothing to do with what you do every day or the well crafted and presented dishes you prepare for your customers. But the truth is a little bit different: Whether you are a restaurant owner or a marketer, in this article you will find how email marketing can affect the way you do business. A little effort in this area can boost your business performance, get you returning customers, reduce your costs and make your life a little easier.
Email marketing? Really? Why?
Advertising a restaurant used to be easy. It was all about good relations with the magazines, the famous food critics and of course the quality of your food. Sometimes, just the first one was enough. Or just the third one.
The last few years, people’s decision criteria have changed a lot leading to a more reference based decision making. Word of mouth is the king and the people controlling it, are the Prime Ministers. But what does this mean for your business?
Every time a restaurant owner performs any kind of promotional activity, only a small percentage of people will actually convert to sales, let’s say a percentage between 0,1 – 3%. All the rest will abandon mid-flight (maybe just after seeing the ad, or after visiting your website or after checking the menu). But what if you had a way to collect some of those people’s emails?
Unless you are selling falafels in front of the Times Square in NY, you probably need people to come more than one time in your restaurant to make a decent profit. The big question is how to persuade these people to come again. Email marketing plays the ball really well here. Let’s investigate some usual yet really effective ways to achieve that:
1. Special offers
3. Exclusive events such as ‘’Meet the Chef’’
4. Seasonal or limited dishes
There is a really spicy tip to think here. Not all days of the week are bad, so why don’t you invest in running smart and effective promotional activities for the rest of the week? That way, you could boost the difficult days and enjoy a steady stream of customers.
Emails! Emails! I must find emails!
Email collection needs time, persistence and patience. You must be prepared to redesign lots of processes, promotional materials and rethink your web presence from scratch.
It ’s an effort that, in order to be successful, should be supported by every channel you have available to connect you to your customers.
– Your website needs a subscription space in both the first page, the menu, your online ordering system etc and in general, any place in the website that reveals a different possible decision.
– Your promotional materials, flyers, menus, coupons, everything should call the customer to an action. What could this action be? Perhaps visit a landing page and subscribe. It should also include an incentive (e.g. a little treat next time you visit the restaurant. No one says no to a little treat!)
– When taking an order, either by phone or at the restaurant, it’s a great chance for public relations and email collection. Always remember the incentive! (Want 30 tips on Online Marketing Ideas?)
– Even your delivery staff must contribute on that, by letting the customers know about your cool campaign and encouraging them to visit your sweet landing page.
Mass emails? Naaaah. My customers won’t like that.
Let’s go back to the conversation about the customer’s decision making into your website to discuss some great, new terms. Segmentation and Personalization!
It’s mainly common sense, some people liked you, some others not, many of them visit the restaurant, others take away and lots of others order by phone or online. Do all of them eat only meat or only fish, drink wine or cocktails, enjoy the most expensive dishes or not? We crunched some data to prove our point and found that when the average open and click rate of the industry is around 15,2% and 1% accordingly, the same numbers with personalization raise to 18,7% and almost 2%.
Here are some quick techniques to start personalizing your emails:
1. Opt-in area is really important as it shows if your website’s visitor is more eager to visit the restaurant or order food by phone or online. Do not afraid to put more than subscription spaces but always track which one is who.
2. Customer’s opinion, either it’s good or bad, puts him/her in a different sub-list of emails. You should follow a totally different approach in each case and this is what will maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns.
3. Buying behavior can become a great way to segment your customers even more and send really targeted campaigns. This will definitely work great if your products can be easily categorized in a homogenous way ex. veggie or not.
4. Demographic data, such as gender, age, marital status are difficult to obtain but could be nicely used for further segmentation
5. Name, of course!
Now that you are ready and well prepared to run your first campaigns, have in mind the conclusions of a short research we run upon our customers in this industry: WhileDecember appears to be the best month for your email to be opened, March and April are the mobile friendlier, with a percentage of 39%-40% of emails to have been opened by mobile devices.
Friday is expectedly the best day to email as it’s close to the weekend and finally, prefer the time period between 1.00pm – 5.00pm, as these are the times most people get hungry and start searching for brochures and telephones!
As long as you have established a data collection process, you can use our segmentation tool to make your life easier and your email campaigns more automated!
Last but not least you should consider various methods that will help you build your restaurants email list effectively.
What is the hardest thing when it comes to email marketing to your customers? Let us know in the comments!
P.S.: Get in touch with Moosend today!
1. You have lots of free sending credits to check us out!
2. Your subscribers will receive really yummy emails