Email marketing might be almost as important to a restaurant as the kitchen equipment. However, some restaurants disregard the benefits of engaging in email marketing.
Restaurant operations expert Christopher Wells says restaurant operators tend to neglect marketing efforts like email because they concentrate so much on the people aspect of the business.
“They know customers can’t be treated like numbers, so they don’t always use email well, or enough,” Well says. “It’s like they forget that the customer likes them already and that the customer wants to know more about their business through email.”
That mindset could mean you’re leaving some serious money on the table.
Here are five reasons why you should improve your restaurant’s email marketing program—or why you should launch an email marketing program if you don’t already have one.
1. Email Marketing Is a Wise Investment
If you need proof that email marketing works, here it is: For every dollar spent on email marketing, a business or organization receives $36 in return.
“A well-thought-out email marketing strategy will make you money,” according to Oberlo, which offers a dropshipping app.
Fortunately, a restaurant has a number of avenues for collecting email addresses: loyalty programs, online orders, mobile orders, online reservations and point-of-sale transactions. From that perspective, there’s no excuse for ignoring email marketing.
2. Email Marketing Opens Up Another Promotional Channel
Many restaurants don’t have websites or don’t keep them updated. Furthermore, a lot of restaurants depend on Facebook as their sole marketing tool.
So, if your restaurant has an outdated website or no website at all, or you rely heavily on Facebook, email marketing can provide a relatively inexpensive, relatively easy-to-manage way to keep in touch with customers.
Email marketing enables you to segment customers into different groups (such as online customers vs. dine-in customers), personalize messages for each recipient (wishing them a happy birthday, for instance) and automate the process. There is a learning curve to email marketing, but it’s no more complicated than developing a new recipe.
3. Email Marketing Boosts Outreach to Regular Customers
If you don’t have a loyalty program or want to enhance your existing loyalty program, an email marketing setup can be helpful. Email marketing gives you a straightforward way to maintain contact with loyal customers, and update them on special offers and events.
To make your email marketing more effective, combine it with your loyalty program.
And why should you bother with a loyalty program? According to the 2022 Restaurant Friction Index from Paytronix and PYMNTS, 43% of consumers say loyalty programs would persuade them to buy more at restaurants.
“The primary benefit of email marketing for a restaurant is that it helps you build and sustain customer loyalty, not just by maintaining regular communication with your customers, but also through tracking and analytics,” according to SendX, a provider of email marketing software.
4. Email Marketing Lets You Gather Customer Feedback
Any restaurant that wants to improve sales and operations should know what their customers are thinking. Do they like the new menu? Are they fans of your staff?
Email marketing allows you to collect feedback from customers that you might not otherwise get. Sure, you can solicit customers’ opinions when they’re at your restaurant, but how much time do you really have to do that?
By gathering customer feedback via email (and acting on that feedback), you can make changes at your restaurant that can help turn customers into devoted customers.
5. Email Marketing Is More Powerful Than Facebook
Social media can drive business for a restaurant. But email marketing puts things into overdrive.
According to a Get a Newsletter post on Medium, a typical Facebook post delivers an organic reach of a little over 6%. By contrast, the reach of email marketing exceeds 90%. That’s an enormous gap.
Furthermore, the pool of email users is deeper than the pool of Facebook users. Around the world, nearly 4.26 billion people use email in 2022, compared with almost 2.94 billion people who use Facebook, the top social media platform for restaurants.
“While social media gets most of the attention these days, email marketing still remains a major sales driver for restaurants, cafes and bars,” Groupon notes.
Learn more about the DCRS Difference.