Restaurant Email Marketing: Three Best Practices for Email Newsletters
Restaurant owners are chiefly in the market for one thing: Diner loyalty. As great as it is to get your cuisine exposed to new diners and treat first-time visitors to delicious foods they’ve never had the opportunity to experience, any restaurant owner will tell you that the end goal is to get those very diners back in for reservations. While digital marketing strategies like SEO and online advertising are great ways to introduce prospective diners to your restaurant, it’s important to find ways to lure those customers back.
While retargeting and social media can both play big roles in remarketing your restaurant, one of the most effective ways to get diners back into your eatery is through email marketing. Below, we outline three tips designed to help you get the most out of your email campaigns.
Spend Time on Your Subject Line
It’s no secret that email marketing relies heavily on the power of your subject line–and the effectiveness of a subject line can dictate whether your email ends up in front of your readers, stays in their inbox, or gets sent to the trash–or worse! Consistently unopened emails often find themselves relegated to Spam folders, so be sure to spend time crafting a subject line that’s effective for your readership.
Kiss Metrics took a look at President Obama’s email campaign when he was running for President, as his was among the first to effectively leverage digital marketing and email marketing and parlay that into political action. Famously, one of the most effective subject lines for the Obama campaign was simply the word “Hey,” while others were “very personal, and they rely heavily on the “information gap” theory of curiosity, proposed by neuroeconomics expert, George Loewenstein. While it may be tempting to test some of these subject lines, the fact of the matter is that they worked for the Obama campaign because people had a good understanding of who he was and what he was trying to accomplish. Use subject lines that have a personal connection to your audience, but also describe specifically what the email is meant to achieve.
“Whatever you’re writing, selling or offering – put it in the subject line,” says Swipely. This could mean a new happy hour menu, a special offering, extended hours, or a change in location, but it’s crucially important to be transparent about what you’re trying to achieve. Email powerhouse MailChimp recommends avoiding overused or salesy language, and including localization or a personal connection. Most of all: Keep it short. “Most people quickly scan subject lines to decide if they’ll open or ignore the email…Keep your subject line to 50 characters or fewer.”
Combine with Other Marketing Initiatives
Once you’ve decided on some subject lines for your email campaign, be sure that the emails themselves aren’t operating in isolation. Instead, use the email as a platform for a larger marketing campaign. Whatever the focus of the email, be sure the message is echoed across your website in a blog post, in Facebook posts, Tweets, and other marketing channels. Not only will this help the message to be more pervasive, but this will help guide the expectations of people who are signing up for your email list.
As you create the content for your email newsletter, be sure that you’re providing opportunities to link back to your website using enticing images of your cuisine with links that point back to your site. Monitor the effectiveness of your email marketing by using URL parameters on every link to monitor if opens are turning into site visits.
URL parameters are simply a way for you to establish unique campaign values within Google Analytics to help better understand what marketing tactics are driving people to your site. To append a URL parameter to a link, use Google’s URL Builder.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make if you’re new to email marketing is sending your email too frequently. This can result in being often overlooked by your prospective diners, and as a result, relegated to the Spam or Trash folders. Benchmark Email released a white paper on email marketing indicating that most restaurants send their email newsletters on a monthly basis, with “57% of all restaurant email campaigns are issued at a monthly frequency,” with only one third of restaurants saying that they send an email more often than once a month.
By limiting your email frequency, it should encourage marketers to really evaluate the messaging they are saving for their email marketing for restaurants, saving only the most important marketing messages for email blasts and monthly newsletters. Be sure you are limiting emails to marketing messages that users want to see. Benchmark goes on to say that three out of five emails from restaurants typically had some form of discount voucher or coupon, while only 16% of all sends were informational emails.
What are some of the ways you manage your email marketing? For more on how to get the most out of your email, contact us today!