The Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant Email Marketing: Part 2 of 5

Follow This Guide To Grow And Refine Your Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy.

The Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant Email Marketing is a five-part series. 

Review of Part 1: The Value of RESTAURANT EMAIL MARKETING

In last week’s blog post, we determined that a good email list is one of the greatest marketing assets of a small-to-medium sized business. We also discussed why everyone (even busy restaurant managers) should use email marketing to bring more customers through the door.

We gave easy tips for building your subscriber list, and we even provided examples of SMART goals for restaurant email marketing.

Take your Guest Engagement Beyond the Dining Room: Request a Demo

This week, we’re getting into choosing the best email service provider, importing your contact list and designing that first marketing email!

How to Find a Restaurant Email Marketing Service

In order to manage your email list, design beautiful branded templates, schedule your email campaigns and measure the results, you will need to sign up for an email marketing service.

There are many restaurant email marketing service providers out there. Look for factors that meet your specific needs as a restaurant manager. A simple Google search reveals more than a dozen email service providers, so make sure you have a list of factors to compare from service to service.

Some important questions to consider:

Is the service expensive? Do they offer a trial period so you can test it? Is it user-friendly? Are the templates designed for restaurants or will you have to make major changes to use them? How does the service help you collect email addresses for your subscriber list?

Email marketing from Restaurant Hot Spot meets all these needs for one low monthly fee. In addition, Restaurant Hot Spot features many extras for restaurant owners and managers.

The greatest thing about Restaurant Hot Spot is once you sign up, you don’t have to spend time collecting and entering email addresses anymore. Your email list grows automatically via a permission-based Wi-Fi marketing router. Restaurant Hot Spot even provides 20 professional restaurant email templates so you can start your email marketing program right away!

Once you compare the email marketing services and select the one you want to try, it’s time to sign up and get started!

Find a Restaurant Email Marketing Service and Import Your Contacts

After you find an email marketing service and sign up, the first thing you should do is import your list of email contacts. Each email marketing service has specific instructions for importing your existing mailing list(s).

Reputable restaurant email marketing services will offer one-click options for uploading your contact lists from Excel, OpenTable, Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and more. This process usually takes a few seconds, so don’t be intimidated! Just follow the step-by-step instructions and make certain you only include guests who asked to receive promotional emails from your restaurant.

If you don’t have a list of email addresses yet, start collecting them from guests in your restaurant and online. As we mentioned, Restaurant Hot Spot uses secure Wi-Fi to build your email list, which is the fastest method and eliminates the need for paper sign-ups.

When you have at least ten or more contacts in your subscriber list, you’re ready to design your first marketing email.

How to Design your First Marketing Email

In email marketing, every element of the email itself matters. From the colors to the layout to the subject line, each step of the process affects the success of the overall campaign.

Here are some guidelines and strategies to help you design your first marketing email:

Keep it simple. Use one or two colors that match your branding, and choose a layout that is clean and easy-to-read.

Place your most engaging content at the very top of the email. Most people will scan an email quickly to decide if they’re interested in reading further. If you don’t place something eye-catching at the beginning, they might not read the rest.

Use images sparingly. The default settings on some email providers will not display images unless the user clicks to download them. If you do use an image, make sure it isn’t so large that it takes forever to load.

Use short blocks of text in the email body. Write like you would talk to the guest. Avoid long-winded sentences. Try to stay brief and to the point with your message.

Include a call-to-action. Almost every marketing email should include at least one call-to-action. Examples include: “Call for a reservation” “Click to view our Easter menu” “Read more on our blog”

Make it easy to unsubscribe. Email marketing service providers include an “unsubscribe” link in each email (in fact, they should not send your emails without it). Commercial spam laws require you to offer the email recipient a straightforward way to opt out of future messages. The “unsubscribe” link is the most commonly used method of compliance.

Double Check the Content of your Email

A great email design improves the chances of a successful campaign, but the content itself determines whether your readers take the action you desire.

Use the following tips to review your email content before sending:

  1. Consider using a personalized greeting. Using the guest’s first or last name in the subject line or first line of the email is a great way to improve the success of your campaign.
  2. The first sentence of the email body MUST grab the reader’s attention. Don’t repeat the same information you already put in the subject line—give them a reason to keep reading!
  3. Calls-to-action should compel readers to act right away (click, call, visit, etc.). “Call Now,” “Visit Us Today” and “Click to Reserve a Table.”

The Next Step in Using your Restaurant Email Marketing Service

In our next blog in the Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant Email Marketing series, we’ll cover how to write subject lines, test your emails and send your first marketing email blast!


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