December 12, 2022
Lauren Platero

Email Marketing Strategy: 10 Tips For A Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy

As you consider restaurant marketing ideas, you’ll likely stumble across the importance of an email marketing strategy. Luckily, it’s one of the most effective restaurant marketing strategies a business owner can utilize.

Innovative restaurant technology can include more traditional forms of marketing. In fact, marketing automation software boasts some of the most impactful tools.

Emails are the most direct form of contact a business can have with its customers. That’s aside from direct mail, of course. With this in mind, it’s beneficial to onboard such efforts.

But first, what is an email marketing strategy? Continue reading to find out why it should be part of your restaurant business plan.

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Email Marketing Strategy: What Is It?

An email marketing strategy is a plan to send promotional emails. Some strategies include organic imagery and copy, while others are more sales-centric.

Every email marketing strategy contains at least one goal. Website traffic, social media engagement, and visits to a business are just a few of the most common goals.

To achieve restaurant marketing done right, the business needs to implement a solid email marketing strategy. For eateries, it’s a creative way to stand out against the competition.

Before developing an email marketing strategy, it’s important to recognize the three different types. Continue reading to learn more about the three types of email marketing.

Types Of Email Marketing

Did you know that email marketing can differ from one strategy to the other? The goals you set for your email marketing strategy will dictate how many of each you send.

Without further ado, the three types of email marketing are as follows.

Email Newsletters

Newsletters are one-off messages that can center around one or multiple topics. To no surprise, they’re the most direct way to contact your target audience.

Restaurants can benefit from email newsletters in various ways. Want to promote your upcoming event? What about your new dessert menu? Emails can display everything you want to say in one simple design.

Transactional Emails

Transactional emails are messages that are sent upon a change within a system. For example, digital receipts and password resets are popular transaction-style emails.

Though they’re not super common for restaurants, they aren’t completely off the table. Customers can receive digital receipts when dining at pay at table restaurants. They can also get alerts regarding a restaurant loyalty program.

Transactional emails are great because they provide people with confirmation regarding important matters. Plus, they serve as an extra reminder once your message hits their inbox.

Behavioral Emails

A behavioral email is the message consumers receive shortly after engaging with a business online. Marketing automation software allows brands to implement this kind of outreach as it helps to close warm leads. Abandoned cart email alerts and newsletter sign-up confirmations are just two of the more popular types of behavioral emails.

You might be thinking that behavioral emails don’t apply to eateries. However, if you learn how to ship food and create an eCommerce store, such messages may apply to your email marketing strategy.

Email Marketing Tips

Don’t sleep on the benefits of an email marketing strategy. Though restaurants are unique compared to other types of businesses, there are several concepts and tricks to know within the restaurant industry. With this said, here are ten of the best email marketing tips for restaurants.

1. Showcase Menu Items

As a restaurant, the email marketing strategy should revolve around its food and drinks. They’re your top selling points, which makes emails the perfect place to showcase your best content.

Is your eatery known for your savory appetizer list or top-notch entree food? Or, maybe each bartender has come up with stellar mixed drink recipes. These are just a couple of content ideas for your email marketing strategy.

Sharing reviews and testimonials are also ideal alongside photos of best-selling dishes. If you cater large events, relevant content can also further promote your business.

2.  Host Email-Exclusive Giveaways

Whether you promote them at your restaurant or via QR codes in print ads, restaurants should host giveaways. They’re a fun way to get people excited about your business while driving traffic at the same time.

Use free survey platforms to accept customer information. This method will ensure that you receive as many emails as possible while ensuring giveaway accuracy on your end. Plus, it serves as an easy way to contact the winner.

When you request email addresses for a giveaway, ensure that you have a disclaimer about receiving promotional messages. If not, you might experience an influx of unsubscribers after the giveaway.

3. Promote Online Ordering Options

Mobile food ordering is a lucrative strategy for restaurants. It cuts the labor cost and restaurant expenses while expanding the business’ reach to a broader niche market.

People aren’t always in the position to dine out. So, offering the convenience of ordering takeout can be a game-changer.

Don’t forget to add information such as hours of operation, the maximum distance for food delivery, payment processing options, and so on.  

4. Advertise Late-Night Hours

If you operate a quick service restaurant, you likely stay open 24 hours a day. Offering 24 7 delivery is a major differentiator and serves as great content for late-night newsletters.

If your email campaigns coincide with SMS alerts, after-hours campaigns can boost sales. Sending reminders of offerings when most eateries are closed is a way to dominate a local market.

If you don’t make enough revenue during the night to sustain being open, try sending late-night newsletters. It’s a way to remind people of your restaurant and may result in some unexpected orders.

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5. Pay Close Attention to Native Analytics

We recommend viewing the data analytics reports given by the email platform. Not only will these metrics be accurate, but you rarely have to pay for them. Third-party analytics can be helpful, but they’re not always necessary.

Open and click-through rates (CTRs) are two of the most eye-opening metrics regarding performance. However, don’t neglect the number of inactive subscribers. Cleaning up your subscriber list every month can help increase email engagement while making more room for loyal subscribers.

Many email campaign platforms start charging a higher fee after you acquire X amount of subscribers. So, frequently removing inactive ones can help to lessen marketing costs and overhead expenses.

6. Write Catchy Copy  

Subject lines are more important than you might think. Chances are you’ve skipped over countless emails because the subject line didn’t reel you in. After all, this is the first impression for consumers.

Once a reader clicks on an email, the creative copy should continue. Write simple yet friendly content that reflects your brand. And remember–keep it short, sweet, and legible.

7. Utilize Segmentation Features

Growing an email list is great, but it’s even better when you have ways to target your niche. By doing so, you’ll help to maintain the email list’s size while boosting overall engagement.

As a restaurant manager, you might notice that certain people subscribe to the newsletter from various sources. So, these might signal different segments.

For instance, you can create a separate list of those who frequently attend events. An additional list for past giveaway contestants might be another engaging list to nurture.

Pay attention to what different groups enjoy and what generates traffic. Then, break up your list accordingly.

8. Partner With Local Communities

Collaboration is effective for marketing in general. However, it’s even more useful for an email marketing strategy.

Local charities, nonprofits, sports teams, and schools are just a handful of places that a restaurant can partner with or sponsor. The great thing about this strategy is that it combines two different audiences.

In the contract, state that both parties are to promote the other community in upcoming campaigns and marketing assets. In doing so, it exposes two different brands to each other’s audiences.

9. Ensure A Mobile-Friendly Experience

Many newsletter campaign builders are user-friendly and adjust to mobile apps. However, it never hurts to double-check.

If the marketing manager gets creative with the design from a desktop, it might not appear the same on mobile. Since many people view their mail from a smartphone, keeping the visuals cohesive is important.

Campaign builders like Mailchimp and Klaviyo are great for ensuring accuracy. Plus, they allow you to customize the entire look.

10. Don’t Overdo It

It seems obvious, but it can be easy to send too many emails. If you should run into this error, try scaling back the number of times your audience hears from you.

A good rule of thumb is to send out weekly emails if they’re informative and monthly if they’re promotional. It keeps the business in the forefront of people’s minds without appearing as spam.

Frequently Asked Questions About Email Marketing Strategy

What Are the Five T’s of Email Marketing?

Marketing enthusiasts know that an email marketing strategy is vital. Fortunately, the experts have broken up the five major categories of email marketing to simplify it.

Here are the five T’s of email marketing:

  1. Tease: Write a catchy subject line to entice your email list to open the message. This copy will be the first impression, so here’s your chance to get creative.
  2. Target: Segmentation is one of the most important aspects of an email marketing strategy. By grouping your audience into different segments, messages will be tailored to the right crowd.
  3. Teach: If your email marketing strategy consists only of promotions, people may unsubscribe. Remember to also send newsletters every so often that educate your audience. For a restaurant, this could include content about local charity work, fun facts, and their food inspiration.
  4. Test: Once you maintain a steady open rate, it’s time to test variables. Try mixing up the tones of subject lines to gain more attention. Or, analyze the open rates when you send campaigns at different times.
  5. Track: To understand your email marketing strategy’s effectiveness, track weekly metrics. If you ever notice sudden decreases in open and click-through rates, reevaluate your email marketing strategy.

What Are the Most Common Uses of Email Marketing?

Some of the most common uses of email marketing are promotions and important updates. Many brands utilize email lists so that they can communicate with their audience.

Should Restaurants Have An Email List?

Yes, restaurants should have an email list for many reasons! First, it’s one of the most direct forms of contact business owners can have with their customers. It’s also likely to fit within your restaurant marketing budget and is simple to execute.