21 Restaurant Email Marketing Strategies and Examples for 2023
Restaurant email marketing examples to increase revenue.
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The Value of a Great Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy
An effective restaurant email marketing strategy can save time, improve revenue, and give restaurant marketers a solid competitive edge.
By discovering who your guests are, and what their interests involve, you can send emails that they will open, read, and engage with. It is a low-cost and very effective way to turn first-time visitors and other patrons into long-term, loyal guests.
Here are several tips and examples about how you can execute an effective restaurant email marketing strategy in today’s ultra-competitive restaurant industry.
– Collecting Guest Data
– Segmentation and Personalization
– Creating Highly-Targeted Emails
– Continuous Testing and Optimization
– Monitoring Results
– Restaurant Email Marketing Examples
Why should restaurants leverage email marketing?
First of all, it is by far the most cost-effective channel in which to reach your guests with content, offers, and promotions.
In addition, the ROI from an effective restaurant email marketing campaign can bring back more returns than any other digital marketing channel.
Consider these statistics:
- A study published on WebpageFX says the ROI, 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 guest spending 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 guests.
1. Collecting Guest Data for Email Marketing
Many restaurant owners and operators send out emails to their customer database based on a hunch, or personal opinion of what will perform well.
Undoubtedly, doing this can be detrimental to the ROI of your campaigns.
So, collecting guest 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, guest 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 businesses, the expense outweighed the benefits.
Using Current Technology to Know Your Restaurant Guests
Knowing who your guests are and how they behave at your restaurant – or when ordering online – can allow you to create email messages that will interest them, resulting in improved brand recognition and more return visits.
A restaurant customer data platform like Bloom Intelligence can give you guest data for a very small portion of what 3rd-party companies charge. The data is aggregated from guests logging into your WiFi, making an online order or reservation, engaging with your website or social media, paying through your POS system, leaving an online rating, and more.
In addition, the data is updated in real-time. You will always know how your guests’ behavior is evolving.
For guests visiting your location, even if they 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 the 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 guest behavior trends in real-time, allowing you to see the effectiveness of the campaign.
Passively Create Customer Profiles for Restaurant Email Marketing
Whenever a guest logs into your guest WiFi or makes an order online, Bloom creates a customer profile for that guest. In addition, they are added to your customer list.
Bloom integrates with all major Email marketing providers such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Emma.
Therefore you can passively build a very large list of customer profiles in no time at all.
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/average income
- All previous and current behavior data
You will also see whether or not the guest returns to your location and/or redeems any offer after they have engaged with your restaurant’s email marketing message.
Certainly, 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.
2. 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.
Of course, 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.
For instance, the Direct Marketing Association estimates that about 77 percent of all ROI from email marketing campaigns comes from segmentation.
So, gathering information from your guests is the first step. Be that as it may, 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.
However, with Bloom Intelligence, it can be done at pennies on the dollar in comparison.
For example, you can segment guests in many ways. Some suggestions include:
- Geographic location
- Past purchases
- Buying frequency
Most important, the key is to gather and analyze the right kinds of information and then target your email messaging to speak directly to them.
As a result, 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.
A customer data platform unified with an email marketing platform makes it very easy to segment your customer base into these various groups and send targeted messages to each of them.
In time, you will see tangible ROI from each and every campaign you execute. More on that is below.
3. Creating Targeted Emails for Your Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy
Now that you have created a customer database and various guest 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 the 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, and 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 the website page or other references.
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 to spot 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 been 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 an 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.
4. 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 change 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.
5. Measure and Monitor the Results
Of course, as a business professional, you will want to measure the ROI of each campaign you execute.
In the past, this was very difficult for offline, brick-and-mortar marketers.
Fortunately, by using a customer data platform for your restaurant email marketing strategy, you can measure accurate, tangible results.
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 on the results, you can optimize your restaurant email marketing strategy, gaining a competitive edge in today’s highly-competitive marketplace.
Restaurant Email Marketing Examples
With the above information in mind, take a look at various examples of effective email marketing campaigns.
Below you will find several restaurant email marketing examples that are possible with a restaurant customer data platform unified with a marketing automation platform.
6. The Happy Birthday Email Examples
This is perhaps the most popular email to send restaurant guests. What better way to engage a patron than to show them that you now only know their birthday is approaching, but that you want them to experience it in your restaurant.
You will want to send the email to them a few days prior to their actual birthday. That way, they can easily include it in their plans for the day.
Most will offer an incentive for the guest, such as a free drink or dessert. The goal is to get them to visit with friends or family on a special occasion.
This can help increase guest loyalty for all of them.
7. The Loyalty Email Marketing Example
With a WiFi marketing platform, it becomes easy to create and execute an effective customer loyalty program.
For instance, when a guest visits your restaurant 5 times, you can send them an email with a redeemable reward – 20% off your next meal, a free appetizer, a free T-shirt, or anything you would like to offer.
Since the system can sense when individual guests visit your location, it will track their visit count.
Then it will automatically send the email with your reward when they reach the visit count of your choice.
The goal is to get them to return again and again. Plus, this is another way to engage your guests and keep your restaurant top-of-mind.
8. The At-Risk Guest Email
This campaign is probably the most powerful for your business.
Bloom Intelligence uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to determine when individual guests are at risk of not returning, also known as customer churn.
Then, when a guest is deemed to be at risk, the system will automatically send an email with an incentive to get them to return and re-establish their loyalty.
As a result, Bloom’s users are seeing up to 35%+ of their at-risk guests return. This is a huge boost for their revenue and CLV.
Plus, the system will track everything for you, letting you know if the guest returned and/or redeemed the incentive.
Here is a great case study on this restaurant email marketing example.
9. The Special Occasion Restaurant Email Marketing Example
Holidays and special occasions are a great opportunity to engage with your guests through email.
Whether offering an incentive or not, sending an email for Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, or even National Chicken Wing Day can get guests to remember you when they are deciding on their plans for that day.
Again, the system will give you accurate reports of the ROI of every campaign, all the way down to a guest walking back through your door.
Here is a great restaurant email marketing example from a Bloom user:
10. The First-Time Visitor Return Email
While it’s always exciting to realize you had a first-time visitor in your location, it’s even more gratifying when they return.
When a guest visits your restaurant and logs in for the first time, a customer profile is created for that patron.
You can configure the system to automatically send an email to first-time visitors after they have visited your establishment.
By getting them to return for a second visit, you are helping them establish loyalty and a habit of visiting your restaurant.
The system tracks tangible ROI and first-time visitor return rates, easily seen in the graphic dashboard and reports.
11. Guest Survey Restaurant Marketing Email
It is no secret that today, positive online ratings and reviews are a huge component of a successful restaurant business.
With this restaurant email marketing campaign, you can help improve online ratings and even mitigate poor ratings.
After a guest visits your restaurant, the system will wait a set period of time. Then, it will send an email asking the guest to provide a rating of their recent experience.
Should they rate you positively, you can follow up with an email containing links to your online rating pages.
Or, if the guest had a bad experience, you can follow up with an apology email and an incentive to get them back to give you another chance.
Over time, your overall online restaurant reputation will begin to improve, bringing in even more guests.
12. Advanced Guest Ratings Email Marketing Example
Another great way to improve your restaurant’s reputation by improving ratings is to integrate directly with online rating sites like Google and Facebook.
Using Bloom, you can send a guest an email shortly after they have dined at your establishment.
This email contains buttons that will take the guest directly to the rating site where they can leave their rating and/or review. There is also a link they can click if they had a bad experience that will allow them to contact you directly so you can make things right and save them as a loyal guest.
With Bloom Google and Facebook integrations, all ratings and reviews can be seen on the Bloom platform in one place. You can review and respond to them all in real time.
Here is an example of what this email marketing example looks like:
13. Gift Cards Email Example
If you offer gift cards for your restaurant, let your guests know! Gift cards are a great way to get new and current guests back through your doors.
Whether it is a holiday, someone’s birthday, or a special occasion, gift cards are a very popular gift to both give and receive.
Here’s a great example of a gift card email:
14. Take-Out and Delivery Email Example
The pandemic changed the way consumers choose to dine. Now more than ever, take-out and delivery orders are more popular than ever.
If you offer a take-out or delivery service, make sure your guests are aware. Send a simple email letting them know.
Make sure to include a link to your online ordering platform and/or your phone number to order. Also, if you have any restrictions on these orders or only offer delivery to a particular area, make sure to also include that information.
Here’s a simple email marketing example for delivery service:
15. Online Ordering Email Example
Online ordering is also more popular than ever. Let your guests know that they can order your items right from their mobile phone or home/work computer.
A simple email informing them can bring back a great return on investment!
16. Mobile App Email Example
Are you launching a new mobile app for your restaurant? Do you want more app downloads?
Another great way to execute a restaurant email marketing campaign is to let your guests know about your mobile app. Get more subscribers with a simple one-off email campaign!
17 – 21. Other Restaurant Email Marketing Examples
These are just some of the countless automated email marketing campaigns that can be created and executed using a WiFi marketing and guest intelligence platform.
Other examples include:
- Guest anniversary emails
- Guest milestone emails
- Any other “upon exit” emails your team can brainstorm
- Specials and new menu item emails
- Upcoming events emails
Every email can be sent immediately, scheduled, or sent based on specific behavior or demographic data.
Likewise, you can segment your guest list and send different emails to different guest personas, including which store they frequent.
Discover Bloom Intelligence
Hopefully, the information provided above along with the examples shown, you have a good understanding of how to launch and manage effective restaurant email marketing campaigns.
Using a restaurant customer data platform like Bloom Intelligence, you can realize the benefits of having real-time guest 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.
To see it all in action, call us at 727-877-8181, or click to schedule a free, no-obligation demo. Your answer is one click away!
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What our happy customers
“I highly recommend restaurants, dental/medical offices, and other businesses look into Bloom Intelligence as 1) their marketing technology is very powerful and 2) their team is AWESOME. As a marketing agency, Bloom has helped several of our clients grow their businesses via building their database and re-targeting them at the right time. Thanks Again!”
“We’re extremely pleased with the wealth of customer data that we’re able to gather, at a very attractive price. In addition, we’re able to communicate our new product promotions by using the landing page as a digital billboard. A “no-brainer” for anyone working with limited Marketing $$.”
Bob Cross, Vice President of Operations
Atlanta Bread Company
“This is an integral part of our local store marketing program. We use the e-mails we collect to tell our existing customers about various promotions, specials and discounts, and the analytics tools are amazing at capturing and displaying smart device activity in and around our store.”
Atlanta Bread Company
“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
How to Market a Restaurant: FAQs
What is the best marketing strategy for restaurants?
Of all the restaurant marketing strategies, perhaps the most effective strategy is using a WiFi marketing and analytics platform. It allows you to collect customer contact information, segment your customer list, create targeted, personalized messaging, and remarket to them for maximum results.
What is restaurant remarketing?
Restaurant remarketing is a powerful way to connect with visitors to your website or customers who have logged into your WiFi. It allows you to send targeted advertising, and behavior-driven promotions to those people through online advertising or email marketing. It’s a key marketing concept that should be a primary focus of restaurant owners and marketers.
What is restaurant marketing segmentation?
Restaurant customer segmentation refers to the process of subdividing a customer base into specific groups based on similar demographics, psychographics, and/or various behavior data points. This information can guide restaurant marketing professionals when developing new marketing campaigns for each group or optimizing existing ones to personalize the customer experience online or at their physical locations.
How do you use smart coupons to market a restaurant?
The best and easiest way to implement and maintain a digital smart coupon program is to use a WiFi marketing and analytics platform like Bloom Intelligence. The platform allows you to easily create and send customers a unique, one-time-use code that they can redeem on their next visit. The coupon is stored on their mobile device.
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