Monday, August 25, 2014

Fishbowl's Top 10 Email Tips for Restaurants

The National Restaurant Association's Manage My Restaurant has articles in categories such as Marketing and Sales, Workforce Engagement, Food and Nutrition and Operations. Visit Manage My Restaurant here for this and other helpful tips.

Email is one of the most effective ways restaurants can build relationships with customers, increase sales and get the most bang for their marketing bucks. Here are 10 pointers to ensure you make the most of your messages:
  1. Be relevant. Personalize your message and make your email’s content relevant to your customers. Give them what they want: Create a “VIP” experience by offering promotions you don’t provide through other channels.
  2. Be creative. Announce exciting offers, news and events with messages that will grab your customers’ attention. As the quantity of commercial emails increases, make sure your email stands out in guests’ inboxes. Encourage customers to come to your restaurant for special events, holidays and unique promotions such as “Mother’s Day” or “Father’s Day.”
  3. Select your vendor wisely. Find a vendor that follows responsible email practices, is easy to use, and has quality customer service. Deliverability is a key component of your email program: Don’t overlook its importance to your response rate. Make sure your vendor is white-listed, so your email isn’t caught in spam filters.
  4. Integrate on- and off-line channels. Let your customers know about your email program in your store, through community events, in print and online. Provide incentives for your staff and customers to help spread the word about your program. When all these channels work together, you increase the effectiveness of your online marketing program.
  5. Authenticate your email. Support email authentication initiatives and make certain that your service provider complies. That ensures your messages get in the inbox and not in the spam folder.
  6. Identify yourself. In every message, include your restaurant’s contact information and familiar branding. Your guests will feel more comfortable when they recognize you. If they have questions about your offer or need directions, your contact information helps them easily reach you.
  7. Be open and responsible. Let your customers know about your email privacy policy. Tell them about new practices and technologies you implemented to safeguard them from spam. Being open about your email operations helps build customer trust.
  8. Manage message frequency. If you over- or under-email your customers, you run the risk of them unsubscribing. Send one or two messages per month to keep them interested but not overwhelmed.
  9. Shape customer experience. What you say and when you say it does more than informing a customer about your product: it helps create a customer experience. Remember that for each email you send.
  10. Integrate with social media. Don’t miss the opportunity to extend your relationship with guests. Add links to your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other networks. Collect “likes” and followers’ information from social sites, and funnel new guests into your email program. Use social media publishing tools to post from a single platform and streamline your online marketing activities.

This content was provided by National Restaurant Association partner Fishbowl.

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