This post is the first of a four-part series co-written by Privy and On The Spot Systems to inform restaurants the easiest and smartest ways to get new customers and turn them into repeat customers.
In the daily grind of the business world sometimes it’s easy to take certain “best practices” for granted, so we’ve written a series of articles to review some of the key value-adding benefits of connecting online promotions, guest segments and guest satisfaction surveys within food service and restaurant businesses. They will cover four steps:
In this first article, we’ll tell you the best ways for:
Collecting Contact Information via Online Promotions
The Power of an Email Address
Every restaurant wants email customer addresses – but why? Naturally, to reach out to consumers to inspire them to come visit your restaurant more frequently. The truth is, people don’t want to hear from your restaurant unless you have something relevant to say. So, it’s up to restaurants to understand what each individual customer appreciates so the messaging can be tailored to them. If this is done successfully, restaurants will be very successful getting people to come back more frequently. But how do you collect email addresses and understand what each person behind the email address wants to hear?
Promotions Earn Email Addresses
Here’s the short answer: offer a promotion in exchange for an email address and track where that person redeems the promotion. People now do research online before they choose where to eat – that’s why restaurants have websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and more. Use these platforms to your advantage! Use them to collect consumer contact information so you can own relationships with customers and get them to come back when you want, not only when they simply feel like it.
Surveys Earn Email Addresses
You should most certainly be running in-store surveys to understand how people enjoyed (or didn't enjoy) your in-store experience. In that survey, you should 100% ask for an email address. It's the same as a comment card, except for the 21st century. This way, you can both learn how to improve your in-store experience and collect information on a customer including the context of which location they visit, what time they eat and what they liked or didn't like about your store.
You Must Track!
It’s important that you track this information so you can learn the person’s contact information, their name, what menu item they like (assuming it’s mentioned in the promotion) and which location they like. This will enable you to effectively manage Step 2: create strong customer segments.
If you don't have the most advanced customer tracking across all of your web properties and POS systems, don’t fret! There are other ways to segment your customers accurately and effectively.
Easy Tracking Tips
First, don't be overwhelmed by all the ways you could track customers; in reality there are only two ways you need to consider segmenting your audience of customers. One way is demographically – age, gender, household income, whether they have a family, etc. The other is contextually – are they a repeat customer? A first timer? Did someone refer them? Do they follow you on social media or do they glance at your website from time to time? Did they come on a whim or did they decide to visit because of an offer they received? The common denominator between all of these attributes is that your customers can answer these questions for you, even if you analytics tracking capabilities can't.
Try starting out by choosing only one demographic attribute and one contextual attribute. For example, say you want to segment customers based on their location for demographics, and based on if they are a repeat customer for contextual. If your POS analytics capabilities aren't set up to track metrics like repeat customers, it's okay. To make sure your data is completely fool-proof, don't be afraid to do the obvious- just ask. Simply build these types of questions into your customer satisfaction survey and include them on your email club signup form.
Once you collect contact information from various sources and build context around those customers, you will be able to create smart segments.
Julie is Marketing Manager at On The Spot Systems. Her qualifications and work experiences span the human resources, advertising, and marketing fields, and at every point in her career she has been motivated to delve deeper into the entrepreneurial side of business. To learn more about Julie, check out her LinkedIn Profile.