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Email Marketing Tips For Restaurants

It doesn’t take many Google searches to find out that the ROI (return on investment) of email marketing is an average of $44 for every $1 spent.  It is 40 times more effective than social media marketing and at least three times more effective than every other marketing channel.

There are OVER 1 MILLION RESTAURANT LOCATIONS in the United States. As a restaurateur or restaurant operator, the competition to gain the attention of consumers in your local market is fierce. 

Email marketing is a super cost-effective way to reach, engage and grow customer loyalty for your restaurant. 

This guide will offer actionable steps on growing your customer lists, getting to know what your audience loves about your brand and best practices for your customer journeys (also known as marketing automation), A/B testing, send time and campaign content creation and more!

6 Reasons Why Email Marketing Should Be The Foundation Of Your Restaurant Marketing Strategy

US consumers love to eat out. Each generation and each US State spends differently on food away from home which includes eating at restaurants, coffeeshops, craft breweries, bars, cafes, quick service retail  or take-out. Here's how you can use email marketing to attract your audience to dine and drink at your restaurant. 

Email is not dead. Internet users who use email to access information, offers and content remain above 90% with the 25-44 age group leading email usage at 93.6%. This right here is a solid proof point to consider email marketing as the foundation for your restaurant marketing.

1. Ways to grow your email subscriber list

Growing your brand is not just about capturing personal information and growing an email subscriber list. It is about getting to know a consumer’s preference and tailoring their experience when engaging with your brand.

There are a number of paths to entice a consumer to share their personal information with your brand. When you ask for something, it is always good practice to remind your audience how information is going to be used and how often. 

Here are the most common ways to motivate your customers into providing their personal information:
  • Offer guest WiFi
  • Point of Purchase (POS system or eCommerce platform)
  • Entice them with rewards
  • Provide compelling content for newsletter sign ups
  • Ask for feedback through surveys 
  • Host events
  • Partner with third-party applications

As you observed from this short-list, there are different ways to grow your subscriber list. Each list source offers a variety of relevant information about your customer. The more a brand gets to know a customer, the more personal and targeted each message can be.

Personalization is essential for a successful restaurant email marketing program. Your customers expect to see a level of personalization in your communications, the products you offer and at the storefront level.

Before choosing an email marketing platform here are some questions you may want to ask with regards to how it handles subscriber lists and list performance.

  • Can it support seamless and consistent capture data across multiple sources? This means your marketing and customer teams save time from manually transferring and uploading lists from different sources. It also means the customer’s experience in terms of their customer journeys and automations is consistent and connected.
  • Will it organize and tag each profile with unique customer attributes?
  • Can you group customers based on common attributes?
  • Is the system able to grade the performance of your subscribers? Including the automated removal of duplicate profiles and inactive and unengaged subscribers?

"GoGoGuest's WiFi marketing with premium email marketing is essential to how we engage our customers here at Edley's Bar-B-Que. We're seeing incredible results!

Mark Harvey, Creative Manager
Edley's Bar-B-Que Restaurant Group
Tweet

2. How to maintain a high-performing subscriber list

We treat each subscriber with a level of personalization based on the data associated with a consumer profile. This means that consumer information acquired at the Point-Of-Purchase has the richest data. Depending on the rules of your POS system, the data captured can include recent purchase information from products, store location or channel, frequency, the total purchase and more!  

In addition to Point-of-Purchase data, WiFi marketing is a good secondary source of information should a customer not provide their information at the point-of-purchase level. 

Maintaining a high-performing subscriber list is a multiple step process. Here are a few best practices we recommend:

  • Double opt-in for email marketing and SMS marketing is always good practice.
  • Transparency on how information will be used is expected.
  • Giving the customer an opportunity to change their preferences through a Customer Preference Profile setting is key. 🔑 
  • Designing personalized customer journeys that are set up to trigger once a customer hits a milestone in their lifecycle journey with your brand, keeps engagement high. 
  • Consumers are more likely to engage with a brand that offer a great customer experience even when they have to pay more, according to research from PWC.

86% of customer's are willing to spend more on products for a great customer experience.

See what is possible.

Talk to sales.

3. What is a customer journey, anyway?

Every customer engagement platform and email marketing platform will offer different levels of customer journey toolset. At GoGoGuest we recognize the importance of this toolset, hence every package we offer comes with a customer journey.

What is a customer journey? The principle has been around more than 20 years and was developed as part of the Eurostar Development in the UK. It is relatively new to the world of brand and customer engagement. Previously, it was referred to as marketing automation toolsets.

A customer journey is the experience that a customer has in each milestone of the customer lifecycle through customer loyalty. It takes into account every interaction across devices and touch points. A few examples of these touch points include your storefront, Point-of-Purchase (POS system or eCommerce), online menu and ordering, third-party applications or your website. 

Many brands and businesses use a form of automation, but fail to consistently connect the relevant data points and fail to gather deep analytics. This gap leads to a disconnected customer experience.

Is a customer journey the same as customer experience? Not quite.

  • A customer journey is focused on what they do in the lifecycle with your brand.
  • A customer experience is how they feel about the journey.
Understanding your customer lifecycle with data, deep analytics and a cross-channel customer engagement channel

4. A/B testing your email campaigns

Testing is a big part of what we do here at GoGoGuest. We like to try a few different approaches to delivering product and a user experience to determine the best path forward. 

The same principle is built-into how we recommend brands and businesses to create and send their campaigns. This is why A/B testing is baked our campaign creation and sending workflow. Why is A/B Testing important?

  • Subject lines – this is a great way to learn the motivations of your audience and customers. Testing subject lines give your marketing and customer teams the levers to design the best campaign for a specific customer segment or group. It is also a great signal to measure open rate performance.
  • Content – comparing which content scores more click throughs and views  is a great data point for your creative team. 
  • Send from – Understanding the person or name each customer group trusts most by testing a variation of send from addresses is also a great data point to measure for better open rates.

5. Optimizing send time

In today’s world, technology has lifted many barriers. Consumers can be in different places at the same time. Understanding the best time a customer is likely to open a campaign from their favorite brand or business helps improve the performance of your campaign.

6. Learn from key insights

Measuring the performance of your email marketing campaigns leads to discovering new opportunities. Better campaign ideas and targeted content. Restaurant email marketing in particular has a number of key insights to consider:

  • Is the offer personalized and targeted to a specific customer group/s?
  • Is the message focused on your local customers or out-of-town customers?
  • Is the message encouraging a win back for customers who have not returned after 30-days?
  • And there are so many other variables to test, try and measure.

Next Steps

Don’t take our word for it. We encourage you to dive in and dig deeper. Have you read The Email Marketing Playbook? Produced by the GoGoGuest team, it offers actionable next steps and best practices on how to implement email marketing programs that are highly engaging and drive sales. 

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