How to Do Restaurant Email Marketing
Digital communication is constantly evolving, and it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your competition. While staying on trend with new marketing channels is important, one classic channel remains unparalleled, and is the key to every successful digital marketing strategy: restaurant email marketing.
With the ROI on email marketing for restaurants being 43 to 1, your restaurant can’t afford not to start engaging your customers with email.
But did you know that popular online ordering marketplaces don’t give you access to your own customers’ email addresses and email your customers directly, encouraging them to order from your competitors? It’s one of many shady practices, but we have some easy ways for you to fight back. But first…
Why is restaurant email marketing so effective?
Emails are direct.
Unlike your social media following, email marketing is intended specifically for your most loyal customers who have opted in to receive updates direct to their inbox. Think of this group as your own personal fan club.
When trends change, email remains.
Keeping up-to-date with the newest marketing channels is essential to any strategy — that’s why we recommend investing in Instagram and using your menu as a marketing tool. But while capitalizing on new marketing trends is great, they usually have an expiration date (Pokemon Go, anyone?). Email is here to stay, so building your strategy now will only help you down the road.
It’s essential for sharing news and remaining relevant.
For some restaurants, email is how they share a monthly newsletter or inform customers of restaurant updates. For others, it’s how they promote specials, seasonal menus, or deals. No matter what your goal is, email keeps your customers up-to-date.
Want more restaurant email marketing tips? Download our guide with proven advice that’ll drive business to your restaurant.
How to Collect Emails Easily
Leave a bowl at the register for business cards.
Simple yet effective. Restaurants like Chipotle have used this strategy for years because it’s a simple way for nearby corporate employees to provide their information after a quick lunch. Combine it with a gift card drawing, and you’ll have email addresses to go through in no time.
Include a form to fill out with the bill.
Remind customers what the benefit is when they leave their email address after dining with you: maybe they’ll receive a special promo code, or they’ll be the first to know about new items. Customers want to feel valued, so use this opportunity to show them how much you appreciate their information!
Collect email addresses via online ordering.
This one is the easiest to maintain, because it requires no time to input the information on your end. Unlike third-party delivery apps, ChowNow gives you completely free access to your customer data—email addresses included—so you can market to your customers and make strategic business decisions. ChowNow collects email addresses for any customer who opts-in to restaurant email marketing when they first place an order, and this information is stored automatically for your use.
Discover the value of restaurant customer data and see how to strategically leverage it for marketing, menu optimization, and much more in our ebook.
After you’ve collected a list of emails and before you can start sending out email blasts, you’ll need to sign up for an email service. We recommend signing up for Mailchimp or utilizing ChowNow‘s restaurant email marketing for a la carte blasts or ongoing email services.
3 Ideas for Your First Email
Highlight a menu item.
Put the spotlight on a star item on your menu — whether it’s new or a staple dish is irrelevant! The goal is to highlight that item and what makes it delicious (did Mom inspire it? What pairs well with it?). Your customers will try something new and will be reminded of how much they enjoy your restaurant.
Introduce a new promotion.
Restaurant email marketing is one of the best ways to drive online sales. If it’s slow season, create an enticing promotion like $5 off a customer’s next order that month. If you are trying to entice larger orders, launch a family deal. There are endless opportunities to appeal to customers with a promotion.
Share restaurant news.
You can use restaurant email marketing to keep your customers informed about any awards or recognition your restaurant or staff may have won, the launch of a new menu, an update to the restaurant’s interior, and an announcement about your ordering app. Keep your customers in the know so you remind top of mind. Don’t forget to link to your website’s ordering and online reservations!