What if you found an advertising method that was aimed specifically toward guests who already like your food, are proven to spend money and are likely to come back eventually? None of this advertising would be wasted on people who would never think of trying your restaurant, but it’s completely designed toward getting more frequent repeat business. This advertising method exists at an extremely low cost: the email list.
We’re all familiar with email campaigns from Red Robin, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and other national chains. These restaurants continue sending out emails because these simple advertising methods work. You don’t have to manage part of a national restaurant chain to take advantage of this intelligent ad design. For the cost of an email program and a few hours of your time designing the ads, you can have a regularly delivered newsletter or coupon sheet sent to your best customers every week for the next year.
Investigate email marketing companies online to find their price points and email limits. With a simple search, you can find dozens of reputable companies like Aweber, iContact, Streamsend and many more. These sites will walk you through setting up an email campaign, writing out the emails to be send and scheduling them on a regular basis. Once you’re in the system you can forget about needing to update it weekly. Your emails will go out to your customers without you having to think about it any more.
Get your customers to sign up for your newsletter or coupons by adding a box at the front register for email address slips, by handing out short surveys asking two or three questions along with their email address in exchange for a free appetizer or by asking for an email address along with contest entries. Set up a fishbowl in the front of the room to give away a free meal, or provide your own email address and ask for comments and suggestions.
Create four or five different offers, specials and coupons to start. Send a new one out each week and track which ones do the best. Use your email contacts to blast surprise holiday specials, one day sales, new dishes you’re serving or any other news your customers may enjoy. Make sure there is something of value to your guest in every single email you send, whether it’s information about a new menu item or a coupon for a free dessert. Give exclusive specials for email recipients only, as an incentive for other people to sign up.
Instead of wasting advertising in a scattershot manner, sending it out to everyone in the area, stick with proven winners who already like your food and want to come back. Your email marketing campaign simply gives them a reason to come back sooner.