Restaurant Marketing Guide: Key elements to organize an effective email marketing campaign

In the last few years, the restaurant industry has had to keep up with an incessant introduction of new technologies. While this can provide more tools to reach customers, it can also be quite overwhelming even for the most technologically savvy restaurateur.

But no matter how hard and fast new inventions are launched, it’s always reassuring to know that there will always be some good old faithful, like email marketing for one. But isn’t email marketing dead, you ask? Not at all. In fact, it is well and alive and one of the best marketing strategies that still exist for any business today.

Why does your restaurant need Email Marketing?

That’s because of the staggering number of active email users, 3.9 billion worldwide to be precise. In the US, email users are growing each year and will touch the 250 million mark by next year. This means email allows brands to reach out to a much wider online audience. But what attracts marketers to email marketing is perhaps its incredible return on investment.—according to one statistic, $44 for every $1 spent.

Given all the studies and statistics that favor email marketing, it’s clear that this technology is here for the long haul and must be prioritized in your overall marketing plan. But it is also key to remember that while the value of email marketing hasn’t gone down since it first arrived on the scene over a decade earlier, it certainly has evolved and one of the biggest changes is in how customers are viewing emails.

The 2018 Marketing Benchmark Report by IBM shows that about 60% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Further segmentation by industry shows that in the Food and Beverage category 49.2% of users access emails on mobile, compared to 13.7% on desktop.

With the holiday season now already here in full swing, it’s time you made the most of email marketing. Here’s what you can do to ace your email marketing game.

Master the subject line

As a user scrolls down his mailbox, you only have a second, perhaps less, to grab his attention. No matter how great the content of the newsletter, if people don’t open the email, all the marketing effort goes to vain. According to a MailChimp survey, the average email open rate is only 20.81%. This shows how critical subject lines are.

Ten Second Takeaway: For the holiday season, you can add a sense of urgency or fear of missing out on the deal. This one by Prezzo not only does this well but adds the icing on the cake with personalization: “Hanna, Start Your Week with 30% Off Food”. Do use the word ‘holiday’ or other related words and phrases like ‘tis the Season! to provide a context and improve open rates. Holiday-themed emojis too are a good idea. Remember that experts recommend no more than 60 characters to less for subject lines.

Get up, close and personal

Rather than sending out mass email blasts, today businesses are analyzing individual purchasing behaviors like age, gender, location, meal preferences, expenses on each meal etc. in order to create an email campaign that’s thoroughly customized to that person’s preferences and needs.

Such a campaign requires supporting infrastructure and can’t always be easy for all brands. But there are still many small touches that you can add to your email to make the customers feel extra special. For instance, Charlie Palmer Group added a real signature from their chef at the end of their message. This added a human element and helped build a closer connection between the customer and the restaurant.

Ten Second Takeaway: For the holiday season, you can go big by doing some serious customer data analysis to provide special offers to your loyal customers on their favourite dish or even a small gesture like sending an email with a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note for their patronage during the year can work wonders.

Capitalize on storytelling

Perhaps an authentic story! Forbes emphatically tells us that brand storytelling is no longer a choice. It is a need that has the potential to maximize your business’s visibility. Stories create an emotional bond between the brand and the customer. Marketers use storytelling to carve the brand in the memory of customers. And what better time to tell a story than the holiday season?

Ten Second Takeaway: Use email marketing to tell a story about your aspirations and goals. What gap did you see in the industry? What motivated you to start the restaurant? It should be inspiring, and at the same time demonstrates why you’re different from the competition. Celebrate milestones with them and they will save you from landing in the SPAM folder.

Drive users to action

An effective email marketing campaign is not only about how great your newsletter’s content is or how many people open the email. It should be persuasive enough to urge the readers to click on. Having a well-placed, clear CTA or call to action is all you need to hike up the conversion rate. Having a single clear and compelling CTA increases clicks by 371%.

Ten Second Takeaway: Instead of the regular ‘Sign Up’, ‘Order Now’, ‘Learn More’ etc. try action-oriented texts. For instance, if your newsletter introduces the holiday menu, you will want the readers to place an order from this menu, so your CTA button can say ‘Get Festive Now’; or if you’re promoting a holiday gift card your CTA can say ‘Gimme the Perfect Stocking Stuffer’. Use bright colors and target texts for the CTA button so the readers can easily spot it. Create a sense of urgency, give the placement a thought and let it follow a natural progression.

Tons of studies and statistics prove that, when done right, email marketing can bring in considerable rewards for your restaurant. Capitalize on this tried and tested tool, which can prove highly effective especially around the holiday season.