10 Reasons To Use Email Marketing Software In Your Restaurant
Email marketing is a cost-effective way for restaurants to promote themselves and stay in touch with regular patrons. Some businesses shy away from email marketing software because they are afraid of annoying their customers with “junk” mail or they think it’s too tech-y for the average business owner to figure out. But the truth is that today’s consumers actually want to receive emails from businesses they like — indeed, 95% of recipients who subscribe to a business’s email list end up finding those emails useful. Not only are emails welcomed by your customers with open arms, but the software you use to send them is also super easy to use.
If you’re not totally sold on the idea, that’s fine because I’m not done convincing you yet. Read on for some more good reasons to use email marketing for restaurants.
1. Build a Loyal Customer Base
Sending regular emails to your customers helps foster brand loyalty to your restaurant. When people see your business logo often and receive your newsletters, coupons, news, etc., they start to feel like they are part of your “club.” You can further encourage that feeling by sending exclusive promotions to the members of your email list. It’s a win-win situation.
2. Low Cost of Entry
Most restaurants won’t have to pay more than $20 or $30/month for email marketing. You can choose from plans that charge you per email you send, and others that charge you a monthly fee based on the size of your email list. Just about all ESPs (email service providers) offer free trials so you can test out their email marketing software before you commit to a paid plan, and several providers have 100% free plans (with some restrictions).
3. Learn More About Your Customers
Email marketing provides your business with useful metrics about the people on your email list. You can learn things like the types of promotions your customers are most interested in, or how likely customers are to engage with your emails based on their age, income, etc. These metrics give you a more complete marketing profile of your regular restaurant-goers, and also help you measure the success of your email marketing campaign.
4. Increase Traffic to Your Restaurant Website
Another great benefit of email marketing for restaurants is that you can send out links to your website. This will result in more clicks to your site, improve your restaurant website’s visibility in search engines, and ultimately get you more patrons. Of course, you don’t want to link to just any ‘ole page of your website — blog posts and landing pages for promotional discounts are examples of good pages to link to.
In addition to directing email recipients to your website, you can/should also encourage your website visitors to subscribe to your email list via an opt-in form on your site.
5. Increase Engagement on Social Media
Social media marketing is another essential type of online marketing for restaurants, and one that integrates nicely with email marketing. You can use email marketing to increase your social media ROI, and vice versa. For example, you can encourage email list subscribers to visit your social media accounts — by placing icons that connect to your social profiles in the footer of all your emails, or by posting links to your latest Facebook promotion in your email newsletter. And likewise, you can place an opt-in on your social media profiles so followers can join your email list.
6. Easy to Use
Today’s email marketing programs make it very quick and easy to set up an account and start sending professional-looking emails. MailChimp and Mad Mimi are especially easy to get started with. Once you have your campaign all set up with autoresponders, it gets even easier, because the emails you send out are automated.
Some email marketing platforms will also integrate with your restaurant POS software, which further streamlines and simplifies your marketing tasks. For example, the ShopKeep POS integrates with MailChimp for email marketing.
7. More Effective Than Other Forms of Marketing
For many businesses, email marketing delivers a better ROI (return on investment) than other forms of online marketing, such as pay-per click campaigns (e.g., Google AdWords), social media marketing, or affiliate marketing. One study found that email marketing was 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter alone.
8. Gains Momentum Over Time
Email marketing is a type of advertising that gains momentum over time. As your subscriber list grows, so does the effectiveness of this marketing channel. Similarly, when you consistently send useful, interesting emails, your subscribers’ level of engagement grows with time.
9. Opens Direct Communication Channel with Customers
Email marketing doesn’t have to be a one-way conversation. Email marketing software gives your customers an easy way to contact you with questions or to book a reservation. Most ESP’s will let you set up your account so that customers can reply to your emails directly, without displaying your actual email address.
10. Targeted Marketing Approach
Email marketing allows for a lot of personalization and customization in the way you market to your prospects. For example, you can segment your email list into different groups (by neighborhood, for example) and send different types of emails to each group. You can also set it up so each recipient is addressed by name and receives personalized offers tailored to their interests.
Active Campaign is a great choice if you want to create different campaigns for different groups. This ESP has a built-in deals system that lets you customize special offers to segments of your contact list.
Get Started with Email Marketing for Restaurants
With email marketing, restaurants can develop an engaged customer base to keep their tables full year-round — all for a very small investment. Now that you know all the reasons to use email marketing for your restaurant, we hope you’ll try some of these ESPs on for size. Like I said earlier, many have 100%-free plans, and virtually all email marketing services offer free trials. Compare the top-rated email marketing software at-a-glance, and/or shoot us an email if you’re not sure which program would be best for your restaurant and need some help choosing.