9+ Best Strategies for Restaurant Email Marketing (Free Ideas Inside)
In the digital age, restaurant email marketing has become indispensable for businesses to expand their customer base. With the power to reach a broad audience at a minimal cost, email marketing offers restaurants a unique opportunity to engage with their customers on a personal level.
The Benefits of Email Marketing for Restaurants
McKinsey reports that Email is nearly 40 times more effective in attracting customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. That’s a high ratio, isn’t it? Email marketing is a powerful tool for restaurants for several reasons:
- Increase sales revenue
Regardless of the industry your business is operating in, each email has the ability to convert potential customers into buyers and persuade current customers to purchase your products/services.
According to data compiled by Barilliance, email influences 19.8% of total transactions and has an average conversion rate (from a single click) of 14.65% in 2021. There are countless ways you can increase your sales revenue using email, but one of the top revenue-generating tactics (and one of the easiest emails to implement) for e-commerce businesses is the abandoned cart reminder.
For service-based or affiliate marketing blog businesses, your email list is where you make money. By using email as a content marketing tool to provide regular content to customers, restaurants will have more opportunities to increase their revenue.
- Ownership of customer data
Unlike social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where you have limited control over the customer data you collect, email marketing allows you to own and manage your customer database. This enables to build a direct relationship with your customers and tailor your marketing efforts to their specific preferences.
Another good news is there are more email users than social media users. Surprise? According to Statista, in 2020, there were over 4 billion Email users worldwide. It is estimated that by 2025, the total number of Email users could reach 4.6 billion. Compare that with a total of 3.6 billion social media users across all platforms).
Source: Statista 2023
- High return on investment (ROI):
Restaurant email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing channel. This cost-effective approach makes email marketing an attractive option for restaurants looking to boost their bottom line. Don’t believe it? Let numbers tell you the truth…
Personalizing email subject lines can increase open rates by 50% and lead to 58% higher click-to-open rates, according to data by Yes Lifecycle Marketing. Just a year later, a Backlinko study showed that it had increased by 30% or more. That’s a pretty attractive ROI just by personalizing a subject line!
Currently, the automation and integration capabilities of Email marketing are expanding. It creates opportunities for businesses to market easily and still reach customers’ needs.
- Personalization and segmentation
Email marketinh allows you to personalize and segment your messaging, ensuring that your customers receive relevant and targeted content. This level of customization leads to higher open and click-through rates, ultimately resulting in increased customer engagement and loyalty.
By sending regular emails, you can showcase your restaurant’s latest offers, promotions and events. This helps in keeping your customers informed about what’s happening at your eatery without them having to visit your website or social media pages.
- Ease of implementation
Many email service providers (ESPs) offer user-friendly platforms with pre-built templates and drag-and-drop editors, allowing even those with limited technical skills to create and send professional campaigns. So don’t worry if you’re not confident with your technical ability in this 4.0 era!
Top 9+ Restaurant Email Marketing Strategies
1. Choose the right ESPs
Before you can start your restaurant email marketing, you need to choose an email service provider (ESP) that suits your restaurant’s needs. ESPs offer a range of features and tools to help you build your email list, design attractive campaigns, and track performance metrics.
When evaluating ESPs, consider the following factors:
- User-friendly email builder
- Available templates
- Customer relationship management (CRM) tools
- Automation and segmentation features
- Detailed analytics and reporting
Some popular ESPs for restaurants include Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and SendinBlue. Depending on your needs, you may also want to explore more specialized solutions, such as TouchBistro Marketing or AlexReservations.
2. Build Your Email List
Growing your email list is the first step in a successful restaurant email marketing campaign. Some effective methods for collecting customer email addresses include:
- Adding a sign-up form on your restaurant’s website
- Encouraging customers to join your loyalty program
- Offering incentives, such as discounts or freebies, in exchange for email sign-ups
- Collecting email addresses during the online ordering process
Remember to always obtain explicit consent from customers before adding them to your email list, in compliance with anti-spam laws.
3. Remember to Segment Your Email List
Segmenting your email list allows you to send targeted and relevant content to different groups of customers. This can lead to higher open and click-through rates, as well as increased customer engagement. Some common ways to segment your restaurant email list include:
- Demographics (age, gender, location)
- Customer behavior (previous orders, visit frequency, loyalty program status)
- Preferences (favorite menu items, dietary restrictions)
An easier way to do this is to use WP plugins. For example, when using AlexReservations Customers List View, you can export filtered users in CSV format and use that list for the restaurant email marketing.
3. Personalize Your Emails
Personalization is key to making your emails resonate with your customers. This can be as simple as addressing recipients by their first name or as complex as tailoring the content of your emails based on customer preferences. Experiment with different levels of personalization to find the approach that works best for your audience.
In fact, according to research from McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers say they expect personalized marketing and 76% feel frustrated when it’s not there. Statista also stated that 78% of responding marketers were using personalization in email marketing. So why it’s not the case for your restaurant?
4. Keep It Visual
A visually appealing email template can make your marketing messages stand out and encourage recipients to engage with your content. Choose a template that reflects your restaurant’s branding and style, and make sure it’s optimized for mobile devices.
Let’s check again to assure that all emails have high-quality visual elements that tantalize the senses, such as photos of food items or videos showcasing your restaurant’s cooking techniques.
5. Craft Compelling Subject Lines and Pre-header Text
All your efforts will be useless if your customers don’t even open your email. Don’t let this happen. But how?
Your subject line and pre-header text are the first things recipients see when they receive an email from your restaurant. Make these elements attractive and relevant to encourage customers to open your emails and explore your content.
For example, you can trigger their curiosity with a powerful word: “BEST offers are coming to you!!!” or make them feel like you’re their best friend: “Long time no see, we miss you.”
6. Create Valuable Content
Your email content should be informative, engaging, and relevant to your audience. Some ideas for restaurant email content include:
- Menu updates and seasonal offerings
- Upcoming events and promotions
- Behind-the-scenes stories and staff profiles
- Recipes, food tips, and industry news
Remember to use eye-catching images and clever descriptions to showcase new dishes and promote interest in culinary innovation. You can also share positive reviews from satisfied customers or highlight awards won by your restaurant in order to build trust and establish credibility.
Including clear calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage subscribers to take specific actions is also very important. For example, “Making Reservations Now” or “Order Directly” button from their inbox will be a good one. Don’t forget about adding links and social media buttons at the bottom of each message too!
7. Automate Your Emails
Email automation can save you time and ensure that your customers receive timely and relevant communications. Some common types of automated emails for restaurants include:
- Welcome emails for new subscribers
- Birthday or anniversary messages
- Order confirmations and follow-up feedback requests
- Abandoned cart reminders for online orders
Attention! Consistency and frequency are the keys to building relationships with your customers and eventually getting more sales.
8. Keep it short and sweet
Limit each message’s length while highlighting key messaging points clearly. But wait… What are the key points that your customers are interested in reading?
- Holidays & Events: Create special holiday-themed menus or events targeted at specific holidays throughout the year, providing timely offers that capitalize on seasonal trends.
- Exclusive Deals: Reward subscribers with exclusive discounts or promotions for being part of your email list, encouraging repeat business.
9. Optimize Your Emails
Don’t forget to continuously testing and optimizing your restaurant email marketing. This can help you improve their performance over time. Experiment with different subject lines, send times, and content to find the most effective approach for your audience. Make use of your ESP’s analytics and reporting tools to track key performance indicators such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.
10. Use Other Platforms
To maximize the impact of your restaurant email marketing, consider integrating your email campaigns with other channels such as social media, SMS, and in-app messaging. This can help you reach your customers through multiple touchpoints and create a seamless brand experience.
11. Collaborate with Influencers and Partners
Collaborating with influencers and partners can be an effective way to reach new audiences and promote your restaurant through email marketing. Consider partnering with local food bloggers, social media influencers, or other businesses to create joint promotions, share content, and cross-promote each other’s brands to increase your reach.
Restaurant Email Marketing Ideas
To help you get started with your restaurant email marketing, we’ve compiled a selection of inspiring examples for various types of campaigns.
Welcome emails are the first messages your subscribers receive when they join your email list. These messages should make your customers feel like they’re part of a community and provide a glimpse of what they can expect from your emails. Here are some ideas for your restaurant:
- A simple, clean design with a compelling hero image and a brief welcome message
- An email that showcases mouth-watering food photos and includes a special offer for new subscribers
- A minimalist design that highlights the unique selling points of your restaurant and invites customers to connect on social media
Newsletters are a versatile format for sharing news, updates, and engaging content with your email subscribers. Consider including information about menu updates, upcoming events, staff stories, and more in your restaurant newsletters. Some newsletter templates and examples to inspire you:
- A visually appealing layout with clear content blocks and strong calls to action
- A newsletter that features a mix of text, images, and video content to keep readers engaged
- An email that focuses on storytelling and highlights the personalities behind your restaurant brand
Promotions and Special Offers
Email is an ideal platform for sharing promotions and special offers with your customers. Use attention-grabbing design elements and clear calls to action to encourage recipients to take advantage of your deals. Some examples and templates for promotional emails:
- An email that uses bold graphics and language to create a sense of urgency around a limited-time offer
- A message that highlights a specific menu item or event and includes a clear call to action
- A simple yet effective design that showcases a discount or promotion alongside enticing food photos
Email marketing is an essential part for the success of any restaurant. By implementing these 9+ strategies and using the suggested ideas provided in this article, you can create effective email campaigns that will keep your customers engaged and coming back for more. With a little effort and creativity, you can use email marketing to drive traffic to your restaurant, increase sales, build customer loyalty and grow your business. So what are you waiting for? Start crafting those emails!