Privy helps hundreds of restaurants grow their email list and convert their online audience to loyal in-store customers.
Here are some of the best practices we’ve seen for effective email marketing for restaurants:
1. ABC: Always Be Collecting!
Be aggressive and creative about when you ask a customer for their email address. Should you have an email list signup visible on your website? Absolutely. You should also link to an email signup page from your social media accounts. And collect an email address when a customer calls to make a reservation. Lastly, don’t lose in-person opportunities to collect email addresses - such as on your restaurant’s waiting list, or even through an iPad app at the point-of-sale register.
2. Birthday offers via email
One tactic that we see across many restaurants is birthday offers. When interacting with a customer and collecting their email address, ask for their birthday - or even ask them via email as a follow up. You can then run specific email campaigns to go out to people only on their birthday (email software like Mailchimp easily enables this) with a special, limited time birthday offer to get them into your restaurant on their special day.
3. Be local and personal
You should understand who your customers are and send them content that is relevant to them. For example, if you have a Boston restaurant and its the insane snowpocalpyse of 2015, it may be nice to send a message out to your list to let them know whether you are open or closed during the snow storms. And perhaps you want to offer them a special incentive to come in during bad weather. Or if you are in the suburbs, perhaps you want to offer a special in honor of the local little league team’s state championship.
4. Don’t overload the inbox!
While sending email to your list may feel like a cash register that you can ring up at any time to generate sales, the truth is that these are real people and they can easily ignore your emails (or even unsubscribe!). So be sensitive and don’t email them more than you’d want to hear from any other business. If most customers visit you once per month, then there is no reason to email them more than 1-2 times per month. If you email them daily, you may never see or hear from them again.
For restaurants that are looking to grow their email list, try Privy's free "grow my email list" widget that you can install on your website to start collecting email addresses.