How To Promote A Restaurant Using Email Marketing

Did you know the United States Postal Service is practically bankrupt? While there are many reasons why this once proud service is so close to collapsing under its own weight, one huge reason is the invention of email. Quite simply, most people prefer email to so-called “snail mail.” The same is true for businesses because email is cheaper and generates nearly 20% more sales per dollar than postal mail.

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Email is especially important for reaching out to younger people who are far more reliant on email than older people. So if you plan on targeting a young clientèle email will be essential for your business.

A well-written and carefully crafted email can draw in customers to your restaurant. Every component, from the subject line to the signature line, should be carefully crafted. In the following sections we will outline how you can build a business-changing email strategy, so read on!

Build Your Database
If you want to launch an email campaign you are going to need people to email and that means building a customer database. There are many ways to collect email addresses and you should try several of them in order to maximize your results.

For example, you could hold a give-away contest and require email address in order to inform customers of the winner. Another example would be to allow users to sign up for an account on your website and place order or make reservations to your restaurant. You can also ask customers for their email addresses at the point of sale.

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Write That Perfect Subject Line
Perhaps no handful of words will be more important in your email campaign than the subject line. A thoughtful and gripping subject line vs. a generic line is often the difference between a successful and unsuccessful marketing campaign.

A good subject line will be short and enticing, for example:
“Your Free Birthday Meal!”

Many people make the mistake of being too description, like this:
“Happy Birthday Joe! We’d like you to come in and have a free meal on us within the next week!”

Simply put, people read through their email boxes quickly, so make sure you have a short and gripping subject line!

Craft Extraordinary Copy
Getting someone to open your email is only half the battle. After you have the reader’s attention you have to hold it with carefully crafted copy. The first tip: keep your email short, one or two short paragraphs should be plenty.

You will have about fifteen seconds to get you message across so put the most important points at the beginning. For example, if you are offering a promotion get straight to the point and outline the promotion in the first line or two.

While you should spice up your email with some marketing language, don’t over do it or the email will come off sounding like spam. Also, try to avoid using ALL CAPS because this is most often associated with spam. If you need to emphasis something try bold typeface or underlining the key point.

End the email on a warm and personal note, for example, by using your first name and a brief description of your title:
All the Best!
Jane
Owner, Blaster’s Burgers

Below the signature make sure you put all of the contact info for your restaurant and link your website or attach a coupon.

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Hone Your Design and Layout
Your email needs to be easy to read and laid out professionally. This is both to engage the reader and also to help ensure that your email doesn’t get marked as “spam.” Most email programs now have very advanced spam filters that look for Spam HTLM coding and other hints (remember what we were saying about ALL CAPS?).

Also, while images may look nice on your computer, many emails block images so you should write your email entirely in text. You could attach the pictures but really you should reserve attachments for vital things, like coupons. If you need help you can find Spam Proof email templates (usually for free) on the Internet.

And finally, Click Send
If you followed the above tips you should feel confident about clicking “send.” Not everyone will read your email and not everyone will be enticed by what you have to say, but that’s how marketing works, so don’t get discouraged.

Also, make sure you only send out one or two emails per month. The more emails you send the more people will get used to your messages. In a certain sense, people build up immunities to email just like your body builds up immunities to diseases. So don’t over do it!

Tracking Success (and failure)
Okay, you’ve clicked “send,” now what? Now it’s time to start tracking your email campaign and making adjustments when necessary.

Find a Great Email Tracking Program
The great thing about computers and the Internet is that no matter what you want to do, there’s probably an “app for that.” The same is true with tracking emails. Some programs will cost money but it’s money well spent!

Email Tracking
Here are some basic terms and why they are important:

-Understanding Open rates-
This tells you how many people are opening your emails. If the open rate falls below 20% it’s time to examine your subject line and to try some new strategies. A low open rate might also mean you are being blocked by a spam filter, so keep that in mind too!

-Making Sense of Click-through rates-
This rate tells you how many people have clicked through to your website or coupon. If the click-through rate is low you should consider changing up how you write the body of your email, or increasing the attractiveness of your promotions.

-Working With Click-to-open rates-
The click-to-open rates combines the two previously mentioned statistics by telling you what percent of people who opened your email also clicked through to your website or coupon. Like the standard click-through rate, if the percent is low it’s time to examine your incentives and your copy.

-Reading Spam filtering rates-
If spam filters are blocking your emails then most likely people are reporting your emails as spam or the text of your email contains too much HTML that looks like spam. There are several options you can and should consider. For one, are you sending more than one or two emails a month? If so, trim down on the number of emails you send out. Also, make sure you are using CAPITALS sparingly, along with using bold and underline in moderation. And make sure you cut out spam phrases like “CLICK HERE” or “UNBELIEVABLE OFFER.”

-Cutting the Right Coupon Codes-
Coupons are a great way to attract customers and if you assign specialized  codes to your email coupons you can track the number of customers who redeem the code. This makes coupons great for both driving up sales and tracking your marketing performance!

-Utilizing Customer Surveys-
The customer is always right! You should launch satisfaction surveys and ask customers “How did you hear about this promotion?” Many customers will respond and you will gain valuable information. You should also ask customers how much they value your emails and whether or not anything can be improved. Listening to and respecting your customers is a sure fire way to build a strong base of support!

Concluding Thoughts
Email marketing is one of the most powerful and cost effective tools for marketing available. A good email marketing campaign will not cost much, especially when compared to other marketing strategies, and it can help you build a relationship with your customers. You will have to dedicate time and effort both to building and tracking the campaign but the results will be well worth it!

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