Restaurant Email Marketing

The Dangers of Stale Restaurant Email Marketing—and How to Make It Fresh Again

Would you eat stale bread? Old fish? Over-cooked vegetables? Not by choice, right? Nor would your restaurant serve up such sub-standard food to their customers. But you might be serving up stale, sub-standard emails—through no fault of your own.

To make sure your restaurant email marketing strategies match the quality of your restaurant chain’s food or table service, let’s take a look at how customer email technology has changed in recent years.

A Fresh Approach to Restaurant Email Marketing

You already know email marketing is unique among other marketing tools. It delivers a higher ROI for one thing, and it acts like a pre-qualifier for you for another. When people subscribe to your email list, they are telling you they want to hear from you. It is a privilege they are giving you, to let you into their carefully guarded inboxes. What other marketing gets that kind of permission right from the start? Plus email helps you:

  • Build customer loyalty
  • Strengthen brand
  • Be top of mind when it’s time to decide where to eat
  • Get word-of-mouth marketing

But if your email marketing technology is old and stale, it hasn’t necessarily kept up with your customers’ expectations. Restaurant menus have changed as customers have demanded fresher, local and organic ingredients. And email needs to change too. Today’s consumer wants email marketing that’s personalized, timely, and targeted. They are getting that kind of marketing from the brands they know and love, and they expect it from their favorite restaurants too. And menus offering organic ingredients don’t matter much if the emails aren’t bringing loyal customers through the door.

A solid welcome program is where you give a great first (digital) impression. The idea is to then stay in touch and make sure to entice email subscribers to become repeat customers as well.

Like we said in our guide on email marketing for restaurants, a good mix of marketing, direct promotion, and triggered email makes it enjoyable and interesting for your guests to keep engaged with your messages.

Email marketing and SMS might be the most important channels to include in the customer journey vs buyer journey, especially when it comes to direct activation, but don’t forget to spice it up with other types of marketing messages.

Update your email marketing technology to appeal to today’s consumer

Despite the potential of email as an effective marketing tool, few restaurants use it: only 18% according to one report. This means more opportunities for you those running a restaurant because you’ll have less competition in the inbox. And when you’re using newer email marketing technologies that keep up with changing consumer expectations, the impact of that email is magnified.

What does better restaurant email marketing look like?

How does email today meet those expectations and deliver the results you want vs. the technology of a few years ago?

  • First of all, it’s personalized so you’re not sending out generic batch-and-blast emails to everyone on your list, but targeting your message for relevant messages that are more likely to generate a response. One report says only 14% of restaurant owners and managers segment their email lists. The vast majority—86%—do the batch and blast email marketing that consumers dislike, sending everyone on the list the exact same email message. For the restaurants that do segment, the potential to stand out in the inbox is huge!
  • Secondly, it’s designed well to make sure your emails render like you intend, no matter what kind of smartphone your customer uses—because most emails today are viewed on a smartphone first.
  • Finally, it’s done right, built as sophisticated drip campaigns you can easily set up and let loose to market to your customers automatically.

The restaurant industry is highly competitive. Consumers have countless choices when going out to eat, and you have to make sure your restaurant is among their top choices. Your business can serve up tasty food when they are at your establishment, but you have to keep them interested in coming back. Email can help your restaurant. But not if it’s stale, clunky, and out-of-date. Your restaurant email marketing needs to be as fresh as the ingredients in the food, so you’re serving up good eats and good emails both. The right email technology will make the difference.

To learn more about a fresh approach, explore how iPost can help improve your restaurant email marketing.