The Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant Email Marketing: Part 3 of 5

The Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant Email Marketing is a five-part series. Follow this guide to grow and refine your restaurant email marketing strategy.

Review: The Value of Restaurant Email Marketing & How to Sign Up for an Email Marketing Service

Over the past two weeks, we introduced restaurant email marketing as a cost-effective way to connect and engage with guests outside the dining room. We also discussed how to get started with the right email marketing provider and how to design your first email marketing template.

This week, we’re talking subject lines, email testing and finally, sending your first marketing email.

How to Send Your First Marketing Email: Tips for the perfect subject line

The subject line is arguably the most important element of a marketing email.

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If the subject line doesn’t catch the customer’s attention, they probably won’t even open the email to find out what’s inside. Similarly, if you write a catchy subject line that has nothing to do with the email itself, customers may feel deceived and delete the message or unsubscribe from your email list.

Therefore, it’s important to craft an interesting subject line that relates to the email message and compels customers to keep reading.

Here are a few tips and examples to help you write great subject lines:

a.  Be direct. Ideally, you want to tell what’s inside without selling what’s inside).

Example:  New menu sneak peek!

b.  Keep the subject line short. Six to eight words are ideal.

Example:  Easter reservations are selling out fast

c.  Personalize your subject lines. Reputable email marketing providers make personalization easy, so don’t fear trying it out.

Example:  Happy birthday, Tara!

d.  Use the subject line to create a sense of urgency. People are more likely to act if they feel the time frame is limited.

Example:  Only 3 days left until Thanksgiving

e.  DON’T USE ALL CAPS! If you still feel caps would get your point across better, limit caps to one word of the subject line.

Example:  Last chance to try our SEASONAL draft beers

f.  Use action words that trigger the customer’s emotions.

Example:  Impress her with our Valentine’s Day VIP Package

Of course, there are also words to avoid in subject lines. Below are some words that typically lead to lower open rates. Some even trigger spam filters, meaning they could get sent to spam folders instead of inboxes.

  • Free
  • Only
  • Re:
  • Fw:
  • Guaranteed
  • Bonus

Finally, some subject lines lead to lower open rates even though most email filters don’t consider them “spammy.” Spelling errors, one-word subject lines, and excessive punctuation all tend to negatively affect open rates.

How to Send Your First Marketing Email: Test! Test! Test!

After you lay out your template design and revise the content, you’re ready to test your email.

Testing ensures your design elements display the way you expect them to when they arrive in your customer’s inbox. If you have email accounts with different providers (Gmail, Outlook, AOL, etc.), send a test email to each one to see how the email displays. It may look a little different in each inbox.

Open the test emails on a desktop, mobile phone, and tablet (if possible), because your customers use many different devices to check their emails. You want your marketing emails to look clean and be easy-to-read in all browsers and on all devices.

Here are a few elements to double check when testing your marketing emails:

→ Review the font sizes, colors, and any images to see how they display in your test emails before sending them out to customers

→  After receiving your test emails, be sure to click on every link to verify all links work properly

→  Observe how much of the subject line displays in different inboxes and on different devices

After making modifications based on the results of your testing, test again! Just because you made a small change to your email template doesn’t mean you don’t need to test it again afterward. Don’t be satisfied until you’ve tested the final version of your email and proofread every line.

Once you are happy with the appearance of your email, it’s time to press send!

Send Your First Email Marketing Blast

The time has come.

Your template looks great, the content and subject line are engaging and relevant, and you’ve tested your email message multiple times.

You’re ready to send your first email marketing blast!

The step-by-step process for sending an email blast varies from email service to email service, but in general, it goes something like this:

a.  Choose your list of email recipients. Certain email blasts might be more appropriate for new subscribers only, while others should be sent to all guests on your list. Select the list(s) to whom you wish to send the email, and then your email provider should guide you through the next steps.

b.  Review the email body, subject line and recipient list one last time for any mistakes or typos.

c.  Schedule your email to go out at a future time/date, or choose to send it immediately.

That’s it (for now).

Once you send your email, take a day or two before checking the results, which we’ll talk about in our next blog in the series.

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