How to Get Started With Restaurant Email Marketing

Restaurant email marketing is one of the most efficient marketing campaign. Email marketing has been shown to have a higher return on investment than any other type of marketing, with $38 for every $1 spent.

Email marketing is not only beneficial to businesses, but it’s also one of the most straightforward restaurant email marketing strategies to set up.

With email templates that are mobile-friendly, drag-and-drop builders, marketing automation, and more, several Email Service Providers (ESPs) have made it extremely simple to generate and send email campaigns.

Of course, there are a few foundations to grasp if you’re new to restaurant email marketing, such as how to create a restaurant email marketing plan, what kinds of emails to send, and how to evaluate your success.

It’s also crucial to figure out how email fits into your total restaurant marketing plan.

That’s where our guide comes in. In this handy, 6-step guide to email marketing for restaurants, you’ll learn:

  • How to find the right email marketing campaign for your restaurant
  • The 6 steps involved in launching a restaurant email marketing strategy
  • Some inspiration for your restaurant newsletter and other email campaigns

Finding an Email Marketing Solution for Your Restaurant

Before you can send emails to new customers, you’ll need to figure out which email marketing solution is appropriate for your restaurant. Fortunately, this process is simple.

An ESP, as the name implies, is a service that has been created to assist you in building email lists and sending emails to your subscribers.

You can use an ESP to help you build your list of contacts, design and create customized email templates, distribute targeted emails, and much more.

While one may think that it is difficult to use the current ESPs since they are so complex, today’s ESPs are actually very user-friendly, allowing you to establish email campaigns with little or no technical expertise.

When searching for an ESP for your restaurant, your best bet is to go with a company that connects with your current loyalty program (if you have one).

That’s because your loyalty program is most likely the most valuable source of consumer information, therefore you want to make sure you can access everyone in your rewards program easily.

If you’re a current TouchBistro customer, for example, you may integrate the TouchBistro Marketing plugin to leverage your existing programs and campaigns. With use of both technologies, you may combine your customer expenditure data, marketing campaigns, and insights into a 360-degree customer engagement platform – all on one platform.

However, if you don’t already have a loyalty program in place, you may use a standalone ESP such as Mailchimp, Sendinblue, or Benchmark. If you have a small list of contacts, many of these services are free to use.

If you want something more robust, consider TouchBistro Marketing, which not only allows you to design and automate email marketing campaigns but also gives you the ability to develop bespoke incentives, segment diner data with a built-in CRM, set up a custom-branded web application, and more.

Regardless of what type of solution you’re looking for, when choosing a new ESP, make sure to look for the following:

  • A user-friendly email builder
  • A rich selection of customizable, pre-built email templates that are optimized for mobile
  • Customer relationship management tools
  • Automation and segmentation tools
  • In-depth email metrics and reports

Launching a Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy in 6 Steps

After you’ve chosen an ESP that suits your budget, skill level, and preferred ease of use, it’s time to get down to business with your first email campaign.

Here are the 6 simple steps you need to follow to generate and send out restaurant emails. You may also download our free guide on restaurant email marketing for further details.

1. Make a Plan

Because each restaurant is unique, you’ll need to develop a bespoke email marketing strategy for your business.

Establish Your Brand

If your restaurant is new or you’re simply new to marketing, it’s important to establish your brand image and tone.

You can get a better idea of your brand’s look and feel by asking the following questions:

  • Is your restaurant upscale?
  • What is your atmosphere? Are you friendly and casual? Or are you reserved and elegant?
  • Are you a full service or a limited service restaurant?
  • Who is your target audience? Consider making a buyer persona to define who your ideal customer is.

You may also use questionnaires to help you decide what kind of email templates you should utilize, how to write in a certain tone, what material to include, and even when to send your restaurant emails.

Take, for example, Ottos Bierhalle’s restaurant newsletter. The restaurant is a full-service establishment that caters to today’s young consumers in one of Toronto’s trendiest areas.

As a result, the brand’s emails are colorful and informal, and they include news about the restaurant growler program.

Set Your Goals

It’s critical to establish goals for your email marketing campaigns after you’ve established your brand identity.

After all, without goals, it’ll be difficult to tell whether your email campaign is effective.

When setting goals for your restaurant email marketing strategy, ask yourself the following:

  • What’s the main purpose of the email channel and of each campaign? It’s easy to go overboard with this, but it can be as simple as keeping your consumers informed about the newest news or a more complex objective like boosting takeout sales or increasing customer loyalty. Make some judgments about how you want to convey your message and what actions you want your subscribers to take.
  • Who are your emails for? Consider who receives your restaurant emails and what motivates them. Remember, your target audience influences not just your branding, but also the way you build your email campaigns.
  • How will you measure performance? Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates is the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of your emails. It’s all about tweaking. Just keep in mind that the metrics you track will differ based on each email campaign’s aim.

2. Build a List of Contacts

The next stage is to create a list of customers for your restaurant.

There are many ways to collect emails for your restaurant email marketing list, such as:

  • A subscription form on your restaurant website
  • The signup page or app for your restaurant’s loyalty program
  • Your reservations page
  • In exchange for access to your restaurant’s WiFi
  • Via a tab on your restaurant’s Facebook page
  • On questionnaires and other feedback forms

You may not simply add anybody to your email list, no matter how you do it. Customers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and European Union nations must specifically opt-in to your email list (permit you to email them) before you may send emails.

Furthermore, in the United States, it is essential that you make it clear to users how they may opt out of or unsubscribe from further contact.

Therefore, always ensure you have a clear understanding of your country’s anti-spam laws before building your restaurant email list.

3. Segment Your Contact List

As your list of email subscribers grows, so will the number of ways you may segment it. The term “segmenting” refers to separating your contacts into smaller groups based on specific criteria (such as location, previous purchases, loyalty program membership, and so on).

The purpose of this is to allow you to write emails that appeal to a certain set of tastes or actions rather than attempting to build one message that appeals to everyone.

For example, if you utilize the TouchBistro Loyalty & Marketing integration, you may create tailored offers based on your loyalty program members’ habits and actions.

This can range from sending a message about a new burger to everyone who has bought burgers in the past, or providing a unique discount code to those who haven’t visited your restaurant in 30 days.

Subscribers are more likely to do what you want them to do when your offer is tailored to their interests.

4. Design and Write Your Emails

The process of setting up your email campaigns, while technical, provides you the opportunity to let your creativity flourish when it comes to creating and composing emails.

Designing Your Email

Are your design abilities a little outdated? That’s not an issue. Most solutions come with stunning, pre-built templates that take care of much of the design process for you if you’re utilizing an ESP.

Let’s say you want to replace the basic rectangular format with a more modern layout. Once you’ve chosen a pre-built template, customizing it may often as simple as drag-and-drop builder.

When customizing your email template, keep the following in mind:

  • Consistent branding: Ensure that all colors, typefaces, photography, and other design elements are consistent with the rest of your restaurant’s branding.
  • A logical and simple layout: Your subject lines should flow naturally from one to the next, with your finest material highlighted first. Aim for no more than three content blocks in each email to keep your reader from being overwhelmed.
  • High-quality images: The photos and logos you select should be of excellent quality, not blurry or pixelated.
  • Optimize for mobile: People like to open emails on their phones, so ensure the email template you choose is compatible with cellphones, computers, and other devices.

This email from Anchovy Social in Washington, DC is an excellent illustration of a design that checks all the boxes.

The information in the email flows logically, the colors and font are consistent with the restaurant’s logo, and high-quality images are utilized throughout.

Writing Your Emails

After finalizing your design, the next step is to start writing. When filling out your restaurant emails, keep these six elements in mind:

  • The Subject Line: The subject line is the first thing your subscribers notice and has a significant impact on whether or not they open your message. Because most people read emails on their smartphones and Gmail, a subject line length of approximately 41 characters is ideal.
  • Preheader Text: The preheader text appears immediately after your subject line and provides them with additional information about the email’s contents. The length of your preheader text should be between 40 and 130 characters long.
  • Headlines: Headlines provide readers with context for your email’s content right away. To encourage people to read the rest of the message, keep your headlines concise and basic.
  • The Body: Use your message’s body to educate and inform your contacts. Keep things brief and avoid putting the reader through too much text.
  • Call to Action (CTA) Buttons: A call-to-action (CTA) button is a message that encourages the user to perform an action, such as “Learn More” or “Place Your Order Now.”
  • The Footer: At the end of every email, include your contact information so that your subscribers know how to get in touch with you. Most ESPs make this simple by providing a footer that automatically includes this information at the bottom of each message you send.

Despite the fact that it may appear to be easy, this Union Square Hospitality Group email perfectly expresses its message to subscribers using clever headlines, text, and CTA buttons.

5. Automate Your Emails

In addition to sending normal customer emails, setting up automated campaigns is an essential element of restaurant email marketing.

Automated emails are automated emails that your ESP sends to your subscribers on a regular basis or in reaction to specific events.

In the context of restaurant email marketing, there are two main types of automated email campaigns to consider:

  • Lifecycle Campaigns: These are emails that have been prepared specifically for your guests based on their unique traits and sent throughout the customer’s lifecycle. An email hitting on the customer’s birthday or the anniversary of their first purchase, for example.
  • Trigger Campaigns: These are emails sent in response to certain actions. You may, for example, send a welcome email to everyone who signs up for your restaurant’s email list.

Most ESPs enable you to create both of these types of automated campaigns, so you can simply set it up and forget about it.

6. Analyze the Results

The ultimate stage is to examine the results of your emails after you’ve officially launched them so you can see what’s effective and what’s not.

The most effective approach to evaluate your emails is to monitor key performance indicators, which are metrics that assess the success of different aspects of your email marketing program.

Most ESPs make it easy to track the following KPIs:

  • Delivery Rate: This is the proportion of emails you send that are delivered to inboxes. This figure may be lowered if you use incorrect email addresses or email filters, which can cause your messages to bounce.
  • Open Rate: The percentage of people who open your email.
  • Click Rate: The percentage of people who click on something in your email.
  • Unsubscribe Rate: The percentage of people who unsubscribe from your email list.

To give you a sense of what numbers to shoot for, Mailchimp’s research found that the typical open rate with restaurant emails was 19.77 percent, the average click rate was 1.34 percent, and the average unsubscribe rate was 0.28 percent.

Email Marketing Ideas for Your Restaurant

You’re probably wondering what to send in your own emails now that we’ve covered the technical side of email marketing for restaurants.

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of popular restaurant email marketing suggestions.

1. Newsletters

A restaurant newsletter is one of the most frequent emails you can send. This is an email that includes your restaurant’s most recent news or developments, as well as stimulating material such as blog entries, employee anecdotes, recipes, and more.

The frequency and form of your restaurant’s newsletters may vary (i.e. weekly, monthly, quarterly)

2. Welcome Emails

You should send a welcome email to new sign-ups for your loyalty program, or any other program you provide.

A welcome email notifies subscribers that they’ve signed up for your newsletter, and it gives you a chance to make a good first impression by introducing your company or even giving out a special discount.

In the Bruegger’s Bagels newsletter welcome email, for example, subscribers receive a coupon for a free bagel with cream cheese.

3. Menu Updates

Let consumers know whether you’ve updated an old dish or created something entirely new.

Planta, a restaurant in Toronto, has done exactly this with the introduction of raw, plant-based cookie dough cups.

4. Promotions and Special Offers

Offers are a fantastic approach to get people through the door. If you’re running a company-wide promotion, for example, as Emmy Squared did with its pizza and burger kits, you may send an email to all of your subscribers.

However, if you want to appeal to specific clients, you may develop targeted specials.

For example, with the TouchBistro Loyalty and Marketing connection, you may run promotions for particular loyalty members based on their purchases, orders placed, number of visits, or other diner behaviors. You could, for example, offer a two-for-one breakfast sandwich deal to loyalty program members who have previously ordered breakfast sandwiches.

5. Surveys and Review Requests

Do you want to know what your customers think of your restaurant?

Sending surveys or request for reviews to clients by email is a simple method to get customer feedback.

You may request diner feedback immediately by email if you utilize a restaurant reservation system or loyalty program.

TouchBistro Reservations, for example, is used by the seafood restaurant Eastside Social to provide review requests after each diner’s visit.

Although there is a lot you can do with restaurant email marketing, you don’t have to implement it all at once.

You’ll not only expand your restaurant email list over time, but you’ll also start to see the benefits of this important marketing channel.