The Value of a Great Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy
An effective restaurant email marketing strategy can give restaurant marketers a solid competitive edge.
Discovering who your customers are, and what their interests involve, you can send emails that they will open, read, and engage with.
It is a great way to turn first-time visitors and other patron into long-term, loyal customers.
Why email marketing?
First of all, it is by far the most cost-effective channel in which to reach customers with content, offers, and promotions.
In addition, the ROI from an effective campaign can bring back more ROI than any other digital marketing channel.
Consider these statistics:
- A study published on WebpageFX says the ROI of email marketing, in general, is $44 for every $1 spent. Compare that to Facebook which returns $4-$5 for every dollar spent. It’s about 10x more effective.
- The ROI of email marketing is 28.5% better than for direct mail.
- According to an ebook from Gourmet Marketing, 70% of customers want restaurants to send them coupons and are prepared to use them.
With an effective strategy, you can actually compete with those huge brands, keeping your seats full and your bottom line healthy!
Likewise, it can increase customer spend and loyalty, and help improve restaurant reputation management and branding.
If you are not currently using email as a marketing channel, or if your email campaigns are lacking in ROI, here are several tips and tricks to help you improve your email marketing results.
But remember, before executing any type of marketing campaign, one thing is essential – knowing your customers.
Collecting Customer Data is Crucial for Success
Many restaurant owners and operators send out email to their customer database based on a hunch, or personal opinion of what will perform well.
Doing this can be detrimental to the ROI of your campaigns.
So, collecting customer data is a must so that you can personalize the messaging and timing of your email marketing. But, where can you get accurate and reliable data about your actual customer base?
Traditionally, customer data collection has been very expensive to obtain from 3rd-party companies.
In addition, the data you did obtain was a snapshot in time. If you wanted more current data, you had to pay for it.
For most small business, the expense outweighed the benefits.
Enter, WiFi analytics & WiFi marketing.
Using WiFi Analytics to Know Your Restaurant Customers
Knowing who your customers are and how they behave at your restaurant can allow you to create email messaging that will interest them, resulting in improved brand recognition and more return visits.
A WiFi marketing and analytics platform like Bloom Intelligence can give you this data for a very small portion of what 3rd-party companies charge.
In addition, the data is updated in real-time. You will always know how your customers behavior is changing.
Even if customers do not log into your WiFi, you can collect valuable data, such as:
- Customer foot traffic.
- First-time visitors.
- First-time visitor return rate.
- Overall customer return rate.
- Customer dwell times, and dwell times by hour.
- Popular visit days and times, and more.
This data alone can give you insight into where your restaurant email marketing strategy should be aimed.
Likewise, once the campaign is launched, you can view customer behavior trends in real time, allowing you to see the effectiveness of the campaign.
Passively Create Customer Profiles for Restaurant Email Marketing
Whenever a customer logs into your guest WiFi, Bloom creates a customer profile for that customer. In addition, they are added to your customer list.
Bloom integrates with all major Email marketing providers such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Emma.
In no time at all, you can passively build a very large list of customer profiles.
Likewise, with a large customer list, you can easily gain the campaign data necessary to optimize your campaigns over time.
In addition, using a technique called progressive profiling, you can build very rich, detailed customer profiles including other data such as:
- Age and birthday
- Phone number
- Postal code
- All previous and current behavior data
You will also see whether or not the customer returns to your location and/or redeems any offer.
Perhaps the most valuable thing you can do with a robust customer list is to create customer segments and send different targeted, personalized emails to each of those segments.
Segmentation and Personalization for Better Email Marketing
A 40-year-old father of three receives an email from a restaurant that is clearly aimed at attracting the 20-something hipster crowd.
What will he do with that email? Chances are, it’s getting deleted.
Likewise, odds are that future emails from that restaurant will be ignored, deleted without being opened and maybe even marked as spam.
Needless to say, those are all outcomes you want to avoid with your restaurant email marketing campaigns.
Email segmentation can help prevent those bad outcomes and increase the odds of creating some really good ones.
The Direct Marketing Association estimates that about 77 percent of all ROI from email marketing campaigns comes from segmentation.
Gathering information from your customers is the first step. For most restaurants, this will involve hiring a company that specializes in gathering data from customers and providing analytics services to brick-and-mortar companies.
You can segment customers in many ways. Some suggestions include:
- Geographic location
- Past purchases
- Buying frequency
The key is to gather and analyze the right kinds of information about your customers and then target your email campaign to speak directly to them.
It avoids sending the wrong message to the wrong people and increases the odds of sending the right message to the right people.
That’s a smart step in building a loyal customer base for your restaurant.
Bloom makes it very easy to segment your customer base into these various groups and send targeted messages to each of them.
Better yet, you will see tangible ROI from each and every campaign you execute. More on that below.
Creating Targeted Emails for Your Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy
Now that you have created a customer database and various customer segments, you can begin crafting the perfect emails!
This is where your creativity and branding can really shine.
Let’s take a look at the most crucial elements of an effective email.
Email Subject Lines
No matter how powerfully written your email is, it won’t matter if the reader doesn’t open it.
You could be offering free meals for life, but if your subject line doesn’t compel the recipient to open, read and react, the email will have been sent in vain.
Many marketers create their email subject line as an afterthought, but in several ways the subject line is much more important than the email itself.
Email subject lines are the first, and sometimes last, impression you make on a potential reader. And they are the biggest factor in email open rates.
- Open rate by number of words in the subject line: 6-10 words (21%), 0-5 words (16%), 11-15 words (14%), 16-20 words (12%) (Business2Community)
- Emails containing personalization in the subject line are 22% more likely to be opened (Business2Community)
- Email is 40% better at converting people (in comparison to Facebook and Twitter) (The Annuta Group)
- 61% of subscribers/customers would like to receive promotional emails every week, 38% – more frequently. (Marketing Sherpa)
So, when crafting your email subject line, make sure to put careful thought into what you are going to use to compel the recipient to open the email.
The Email Body Content
A lot of restaurateurs will attempt to be warm and friendly while portraying their brand identity with their email copy.
While this is perfectly fine, it tends to make emails rather wordy.
Not many people are willing to read through a bunch of conversational fluff in order to get to the main point of the email.
Once you’ve drafted your email, go back through it and edit out all the filler words and phrases. And apart from an initial greeting, skip the small talk.
Likewise, if you have a grouping of details that need to be shared, use bullet points.
If you need to provide more information or details, include a link to website page or other reference.
In addition, makes sure that your email content is responsive to mobile devices, meaning that it will open on a mobile device with larger font and smaller image file sizes.
A study by Adestra revealed that emails displayed incorrectly on mobile are likely to be deleted within three seconds.
Next, instead of using text links to outside sources, use buttons instead. They are easier spotted and provide a much better experience for mobile device users.
Finally, makes sure that you are using the best images you have. An image in an email has shown to be one of the primary attention-grabbing elements.
Optimize Email Images
To really capture and engage your email recipients, make sure to include interesting imagery that:
- will capture their attention.
- is relevant to the content.
- will not slow down loading time.
Correctly optimizing your emails is paramount in gaining the attention and engagement of your subscribers.
First, choose images that relate to the email message. For instance, do not use and image of your wait staff when sending an email about a new menu item.
Instead, use an image of the item itself, or an image of customers enjoying it.
Whatever image you decide to use, make sure it is not blurry or pixelated. Use the sharpest images optimized for file size and visual clarity.
With the right subject line, a compelling message, and great imagery, your segmented email marketing campaigns have the ability to bring in more and more loyal customers with every message you send.
Always Be Testing!
Once you have created your campaign, it is important not to rest on your laurels.
Every message you send should be optimized and tested after baseline data is captured.
The best way to optimize and test your restaurant email marketing strategy is through a process called A/B split testing, or AB testing.
To clarify, AB testing involves taking an email message and creating a variation of the message with one major change made, such as:
- Subject line change
- Image change
- Button color change
- Messaging change
Then you can send one message to half of the recipients, and the variation to the other half.
Or, after gathering enough baseline data, you can begin sending the new variation to all campaign recipients.
Then, you measure the data to see which variation performed the best. At that point, you will accept the winner as the new campaign email and start the AB test process again.
Likewise, you can use the information you gathered to apply to other campaigns for AB testing.
The important thing to remember is to only test one thing at a time.
For instance, if you made multiple changes and realized that the email with the changed didn’t perform well, you will not know which change caused the decrease in performance.
Over time, your emails will become more and more optimized, resulting in greater ROI.
Of course, as a business professional, you will want to measure the ROI on each campaign you execute.
In the past, this was very difficult for offline, brick-and-mortar marketers.
Fortunately, using a WiFi marketing and analytics platform for your restaurant email marketing strategy, you can measure accurate, tangible results.
With Bloom, for every campaign you launch, depending on the type of campaign, you will be able to see:
- Total emails sent
- Number of emails opened
- Total email clicks
- Coupon redemptions
- Number of customers who returned
- The value of customers who returned
- Ratings and reviews given
- Much more
With these kinds of statistics, it becomes easy to understand whether or not a specific campaign is bringing you the ROI required to extend the life of the campaign.
Or, you can quickly discover campaigns that are simply not performing.
Based upon the results, you can optimize your restaurant email marketing strategy, gaining a competitive edge in today’s highly-competitive marketplace.
Discover Bloom Intelligence
Using a WiFi marketing and analytics platform like Bloom Intelligence, you can realize the benefits of having real-time customer data to enhance and optimize your email marketing campaigns.
So, if you’re looking for a low-cost, powerful way to create or improve your restaurant email marketing strategy, our best-in-class platform is your solution.
Bloom Intelligence goes above and beyond.
“They have always been attentive through whatever needs and questions we have.
They go above and beyond to make sure our team and customers stay connected while helping us with our marketing efforts.”
~ Matt Thompson, Managing Partner
Great, Personalized Customer Service.
“Our company uses Bloom Intelligence as a WiFi log-in service and we really like what they do. They offer great personalized customer service. The analytics are extremely useful and the aesthetic in the marketing scheme homepage is great once the guest logs into WiFi with some options to market specifics for the business or post beautiful photography. Highly recommend.”
So, Are You Ready to Grow Your Business with WiFi Restaurant Marketing?
Find out how Bloom Intelligence can help build guest loyalty and increase sales.