The Fastest and the Most Reliable Way to Collect Email Addresses and Grow your Guest List
In any business, time is money.
But in the restaurant business especially, both are in short supply.
Busy, budget-minded restaurant managers can’t afford to waste one second (or one penny) on marketing tactics that don’t work.
That’s why email marketing is such an ideal fit for the foodservice and hospitality world.
Email Marketing is Cost-Effective and Easy to Implement
Besides being highly affordable, email marketing is also simple to begin practicing. Just choose an email marketing provider, design your first email and you’re ready to send it out to your subscribers.
In fact, the greatest challenge of getting started with email marketing is simply building your subscriber list.
There are many ways to start building a subscriber list. We discuss a few of the better-known strategies below and then share the fastest method of growing your email list.
Traditional Methods of Collecting Email Addresses
1. Paper Sign-Up Forms
Most restaurant owners still rely on paper sign-up forms to collect email addresses from guests. They often place forms in check presenters, at the hostess stand or directly on tables. In an effort to gain more sign-ups, managers hold contests to reward servers for getting guests to sign up.
Paper sign-up forms are not necessarily bad for collecting emails, but they are extremely inefficient. The forms get lost, never get turned in or are completely illegible because guests fill them out in a hurry. Even if they do get filled out properly and turned in, a manager still has to spend time inputting them or sending them off to another company to input. Finally, some guests find it disruptive to fill out a paper form during their dining experience.
2. Business Cards
Like paper sign-ups, business card collection goes back many years as a traditional way to gather guest contact information. Fish bowls might be placed on the bar top or at the hostess stand, and patrons are encouraged to leave their business card behind for a chance to win a free lunch.
Again, while there is nothing inherently wrong with collecting business cards, they are even harder to keep track of than paper forms! Many guests don’t even have business cards (or don’t carry them on their person), so a fishbowl won’t generate a great response in most cases.
3. Website Sign-Up Form
In an effort to grow subscriber lists, many restaurant marketers place an email sign-up form on their website. Some place the sign-up form near the top of each page, others opt to place it in the footer. Pop-ups are also popular for website email sign-up forms.
Placing a form on your website is certainly a less intrusive way to gather email addresses, but don’t expect a flood of subscribers from this method either. Remember, your subscription form will only be seen by visitors to your website, and most will be looking for your menu or hours, not looking to sign up for email updates.
The #1 Way to Collect Email Addresses from Restaurant Guests
Each of the email collection methods listed above has its pros and cons. The manual methods work well because the guest can be encouraged in person to fill out the form or leave their business card. However, they can be disruptive to the guest, and require time and effort to follow through with adding the email addresses to your subscriber list.
The digital approach of gathering email addresses via website sign-up forms eliminates the manual steps for managers, but the drawback is fewer people overall will sign up.
Fortunately, there is now a fast, unobtrusive approach to collect email addresses from guests in your restaurant: Wi-Fi Marketing.
Here’s how it works:
- You sign up for a risk-free 60-day trial of Restaurant Hot Spot.
- We send you a Wi-Fi router that’s ready to plug in and use.
- When guests select your Wi-Fi network in the restaurant, a branded login page pops up on their phone or another device.
- Guests input their name and email address on the login screen in order to gain access to the Wi-Fi.
- Restaurant Hot Spot adds guest contact info to your subscriber list instantly!
There are no paper forms to keep track of and no marketing pitches for your servers to deliver.
With our Wi-Fi marketing router, every guest who connects to your Wi-Fi network must supply their email address (and give consent to receive your marketing emails). It’s a win-win.
Most restaurants have seen their email lists grow exponentially within the first two weeks of plugging in their Restaurant Hot Spot router.
During your 60-day trial period, you also get unlimited access to a free email and social media marketing specialist!
Get started today—request a free 15-minute demo from our team!