Today, we shall talk about email marketing –one of the most effective and cost-efficient internet marketing efforts that a restaurant can do these days.
Email marketing is basically the internet counterpart of what we used to know simply as the “company mailing list.” The ideas are easy—collect people’s names and email addresses, and send those deals and newsletters of your restaurant. But easy as we think it is, some companies are still unsuccessful in reaching their clients through email, having failed to follow some important steps in the process. Check this list of actions and see if you’re on the right track:
Obtaining Email Addresses. There are ways to do this, some of which includes buying databases, but restaurants are advised strongly against it. Do not ruin your reputation by intruding into uninterested customers’ inboxes. The easiest and more effective ways are:
• Having a book where your customers can sign-up their email addresses;
• Coming up with promotional stints where customers can hand-in their information, with the clear implied understanding that they will be added to your customer mailing list;
• Including a subscription form in your website.
Finding yourself an Email Service Provider, or ESP. The ESP serves as your email middleman, the one who would allow you to send as much emails you want to send in a given day. One reason why most businesses feel the disappointment in utilizing email marketing to the fullest is when they get warnings from their ISPs (Internet Service Providers—the ones providing you with your internet connection) for sending out more than the allotted amount of emails per day. Sometimes they even get blacklisted and suspended for days. ESPs help in sending out email campaigns as well as keep track of important customer email statistics—how many were sent, opened, bounced back undelivered and click throughs —which are crucial to measuring the efficiency of your marketing efforts.
Carefully considering your content. So we have mentioned that you could have two types of emails that you can send to your subscribers: newsletters or deals. In a general sense, there are basically 3 things that you should remember in composing these: keep your email brief, keep your message focused, and proofread. Always.
Now, when it comes to specifics (since the above 3 are in a general sense), keep in mind the following:
• Come up with an interesting, charming subject line that would entice your customer to open the email. It has to be not longer than 20-50 characters in length (any longer than that gets cut off, and becomes incomprehensible), preferably something that has a “call to action,” encouraging your customer to do something in return for an incentive from you. Incentives can be simple freebies that your chefs in their cool chef aprons have prepared in your kitchen, and readers can get this by clicking on a link. All these in your subject line.
• The body of your email should be attractive, particularly noticeable. You can do this by repeating your call to action a few times on the first half of your email. Doing this (on the first half of your email) catches your reader’s attention right away without much effort on their part. Don’t make them scroll down or let them drag their mouse horizontally just to be able to read your message.
• Be personal. Keep a conversational tone.
Remembering to carry out best email marketing practices. So once you have composed your message and made your subject line catchy and interesting, take note of the following tips:
• The best time to send emails, experts say, is when people are not at work—the time when they have the luxury of checking out attention-grabbing emails. The best timing is said to be between Friday and Sunday evenings—weekday evenings work, too.
• Schedule your emails. It’s best to ask your subscribers how often they want to receive your emails—and stick to what they want. Experts recommend bi-weekly or monthly—anything more frequent than that are often considered as spammy and trashed.
• Give importance to the “from” box—make sure it’s your restaurant’s name that’s in there, and not the name of any of your chefs in their outstanding chef aprons, or any other staff for that matter.
• No, no to allcaps! Your message will be more spammy than ever if you use all caps with loads of exclamation marks.
• Integrate your social media—“follow us on Twitter,” or “like us on Facebook” links.
So there. Once you have checked this out and seen the points you have overseen in your email marketing initiatives, you can re-route your way back on track. Your goal is to keep your restaurant in people’s minds, so that when they decide to dine out they would think of you–this restaurant which has been regularly keeping in touch with them through email.