Coronavirus pandemic caused considerable damage to the global restaurant industry. According to a report, by November 28, 2020, a decline of 51.3% was noted in the number of seated diners in restaurants. With the world now slowly getting adjusted to the new norms set by the pandemic, competition in the market is heating up. Restaurant owners need to fine-tune their marketing strategies to appeal to the palates of their customers. While social media and paid advertising are some commonly used marketing strategies by restaurant owners, the importance of email marketing cannot be denied. In today’s times, email marketing is all about making your customers feel safe again and enticing them to visit your restaurant or at least order food online from you.
Let’s take a look at some of the best restaurant email marketing strategies to get diners sitting at your tables again.
Keep in Touch With Your Customers; Show Them You Care
Due to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, restaurants are experiencing a decline in the number of customers but that doesn’t mean things are not going to get better. In fact, this is the right time to prepare for the future and show your customers that you care for them and value them the most.
Once in a while, promotional emails are good but it is also important to send your customers general emails, which can include the following:
- Asking them about their well being and educate them on the latest health and safety updates in your area.
- Informing them about what’s happening with your restaurant. Whether they can come in and pick up takeaways? Are you providing home delivery options?
- Safety measures you are taking at your restaurant to keep your staff and customers safe.
In the example below, rsvpfy.com is informing the customers about the latest updates on their operations and how they are continuously keeping a check on their vendors for food safety, cleanliness, and sanitization.
You can also keep engaged with customers by sharing some of your unique food recipes and interesting stories. Don’t forget to make your emails visually attractive by including images and videos.
Find New Email Subscribers And Offer Them Something of Value
No matter how beautiful or informative your email content is, if you don’t have a decent number of subscribers, you are not going to get where you want to be. To build a successful business, it is good to build a stream of new potential customers. Here are some ways to do that.
- Always include a sign-up URL on the cards that you place on your takeaways and delivery orders.
- Host a contest online that encourages the customers to sign-up for your emails and add more subscribers from their contacts to the list.
- Encourage the existing customers to get their contacts to sign-up for your mailing list by offering them exclusive offers and rewards.
- Offer free Wi-Fi in lieu of customers’ email addresses.
- Place your website URL in strategic places, like menus and bills, encouraging people to subscribe. Make the CTA appealing. You can also include QR codes for faster sign-ups, like this example given below by La Cucina Della Nonna.
Announce Your New Menu Through Emails
A good way to connect with your customers is to announce your new menu items via email. Promote your new dishes using enticing images, and describing to your customers why they should come and try them. The example below by Taco Bell is a really great example illustrating how to do it.
Share Recipes And Stories
During quieter times of the year, when there are not too many customers visiting your business, you can keep the customers engaged and interested by offering them exclusive recipes for free. You can also share with your customers, interesting stories behind how a particular dish got on the menu. The stories should be really captivating and supported by visually stunning images.
Promote Special Deals By Using the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) tactic
Inform your customers about flash sales and limited time offers via emails. Limited period offers create a sense of urgency in the customers, which prompts them to take action quickly. After all, nobody wants to let good deals slip out of their hands. Consider the example below by McDonald’s McDelivery.
Tips to Help You Connect With the Customers on a More Personal Level Using Emails
In the times when the customers are already distancing themselves from restaurants and similar businesses, sending automated emails is not a good idea. Therefore, create your emails in a way that the customers feel emotionally connected to your business. Here are some ways to do it:
- Introduce the restaurant owner to the customers to foster a sense of community.
- Always send welcome emails to your new customers, thanking them for signing up.
- Always include your customers’ name in both the subject lines and the body of your emails.
- Remember your customers on their special days and if possible, offer them a gift as well.
- Consider this great example by Bonefish Grill.
Win Back Your Lost Customers
It really hurts to lose your hard-won customers. If you notice, there are certain subscribers, who haven’t been opening your emails lately, then you can send them win-back emails like the example given below, to re-engage with them. Recent researches suggest that more than 45% of customers who are sent a win-back email are likely to open your emails in the future.
While your good food and service help you earn a good name in the restaurant business, it is your marketing strategies that let people know about your business and keep them visiting. Use these marketing tips to lay the foundation of a successful email marketing campaign that satisfies the palate of your customers.
Robert Duke is a Marketing Manager at Blue Mail Media. With over 10 years of experience across B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, and brand marketing, Duke has helped several SMBs and large-scale organizations to elevate their marketing strategies.