The beginning of the year is ideal for kickstarting new marketing campaigns or rebooting plans that fell by the wayside. This March, refine your email marketing campaign strategy and turn emails into sales boosters. If you haven’t already started building an email list, here are a few reasons why you should start asking customers to leave their details:
- To grow sales.
- To reinforce how awesome your restaurant or bar is.
- To build customer loyalty.
- To remind people that your restaurant exists.
- To have an audience that follows your moves.
Compared to other industries, restaurants have one of the highest click-through rates at 9.13%. (Click-through rates refer to when recipients click on a link in the email that directs them to a specific landing page. You can include any link you want, like your restaurant’s home page or calendar of events page.)
The opportunity to drive sales and bring more people through your doors is there; the trick is getting customers to open your emails. Today, we share four tips for creating compelling emails that customers pay attention to.
One of the most important boxes you can check off is the one that makes your emails mobile-friendly. Emails sent by restaurants have open rates of 63% with mobile phones. To skip this box means you are skipping out on a sizeable chunk of your audience. Fortunately, major email services offer mobile-friendly email marketing.
Customers on mobile devices see your emails differently than on a PC. Be sure to preview any marketing emails on tablet, mobile, and computer screen modes before hitting send.
Tips for keeping marketing emails mobile-friendly
- Use shorter subject lines (under 30 characters to display email header)
- Use a one-column approach to ensure all content is displayed on mobile devices
- Font size is key – don’t go below 14pt when creating mobile marketing emails
- Make your emails scannable – place snippet content with clickable calls to action for readers on the go
- Optimize photo size for mobile devices
- Use preview modes for mobile devices when sending marketing emails
Lavu Pro Tip: This is a gentle reminder to update your website for mobile technology, in case it’s not yet compatible. Smart-phone technology is pervasive in customers’ lives. When someone searches your restaurant with a phone, it’s important to convey a sense of modernity through your website. Additionally, a clean and up-to-date website signifies a brand that can be trusted.
Get Up Close and Personal
On TV, an interview is considered a success when the guest shares intimate details about his or her life or something else that’s personal. Because of the intimacy of the interview and the emotions elicited, viewers feel closer to the guest, and can even remember unusual details.
Even more gripping than understanding someone else is the feeling of being understood. The craving to be seen and heard is a desire that’s shared by most, despite age, background, or beliefs. In your email campaign, tweak the heartstrings of your customers by getting personal with tailor-made emails.
The power of personalized emails:
- Stand out in an inbox with tailored content.
- Increase the likelihood of being opened and clicked through.
- Improve the customer’s experience.
Personalized emails instantly attract the eye of the reader and, according to 74% of marketers, significantly increase customer engagement (although including a first name isn’t a driver for opening emails). That’s not all—they can increase click-through rates by 16% and are 26% more likely to be opened.
Any way you look at it, personalized emails increase customer engagement.
Birthdays and anniversaries are the events most commonly used by restaurants for personalized content, but there are other ways of personalizing an email. You can use your restaurant POS system to track dining preferences and offer a freebie of the most coveted menu item. If you have a loyalty program, include the number of redeemable points your customers have with your restaurant.
Instead of giving generic information, personal emails are directed at a specific customer, increasing open rates, and their effectiveness. Something as simple as a happy birthday email with a freebie dessert included can drive customers back to your restaurant and increase repeat business.
When paired with enticing content, personalized emails can boost restaurant sales.
Local Events and Holidays
An email campaign has several functions—not just as a promotional tool. Emails can serve as a reminder that your restaurant or bar exists. With a quick scan over your email, a customer recalls your restaurant for the rest of the day. But if the content is too generic, then you’re forgotten by the time the next email is opened. Become unforgettable by associating your restaurant with a holiday or special event.
Invite customers to celebrate a big day with you. In the email, include special promotions, menus, drinks, or private event opportunities you are having. If you’re hosting an event, include the time and date information.
According to the marketing experts at Fishbowl, timing is everything when it comes to emailing customers about events. This past Valentine’s Day, open rates for holiday-related emails sent out one to two weeks prior were 39% higher than those sent during the week of the holiday. This makes sense when you consider how much planning goes into Valentine’s Day.
When sending email newsletters, include any news about upcoming events and holidays. Get your customers excited to celebrate with your restaurant while keeping them informed.
Apply the same rule for other holidays and celebrations and send an email two weeks before the day.
Be Media Savvy
So you have a long email list and a great promotion coming up—what’s your next step?
Email marketing is not a guessing-game but an easily quantifiable tool. Schedule your email blasts in advance, and use A/B testing and statistical analyses to study behavior patterns. Learn which times of the day and which days of the week see the highest open rates. For example, a small percentage might open your email Friday night at 8 p.m., but significantly more open the same email on Monday afternoon.
Another area that’s important to gauge is customer reactions to email headers. The best headers are straight-forward, call customers to open the email, and use keywords that relate to the content. Fishbowl noted that during Valentine’s Day, more emails were opened that included variations of “sweet,” such as sweetheart and sweetie, as well as love, lovers, and amore. Think about the holiday you are promoting and the words that people most enjoy associating the day with.
Text emojis in subject headers also had strong open rates when using Valentine’s Day-themed symbols, like hearts. (Another reason to upgrade to mobile-friendly emails!)
Include share buttons in your email marketing campaign for your restaurant to encourage customers to share your special promotions. Showing customers where to find you on social media will also increase your followers on social media and increase your social cues, leading to better SEO for your restaurant website.
Email marketing is a long-term campaign. Use these four tips to create compelling emails and boost sales, while improving the customer experience.
Are you interested in more marketing ideas? Check out how Instagrammable desserts are the latest trick restaurants are using to draw in big crowds.