E-mail campaigns can drive business and increase loyalty, but inboxes are crowded places these days. So what should restaurants keep in mind as they plan their e-mail campaigns?
“No matter what type of e-mail content (newsletters, coupons, special event invitations, birthday greetings, etc.), one of the most important things is making your e-mails worth your reader’s time,” says Gail Goodman ceo, Constant Contact. “Ask yourself if your e-mails are interesting, timely, useful? Do they make readers feel special, important, or privileged? Take your customers’ interests and needs into account – along with your own goals.”
Gail advises that gathering important preferences when people opt-in will help you speak to their needs and interests. ”Putting a little extra effort into your sign-up form can make a big difference,” she says. “Keep it short and sweet but provide choices about what kind of communications they’ll receive and how often. Allow them to select areas of interest (e.g., newsletters, coupons and discounts, new menu announcements, event invitations) and specify what and when they will receive (e.g., ‘Sign up for Our Weekly Dinner Specials Announcement’).” Gail says that it’s also important to allow existing subscribers to manage their relationship with you. “Send an e-mail asking them to update their profile/preferences. All this helps you build segmented lists, allowing you to send more targeted e-mails.”
Short and sweet also applies to e-mail content says Laura Gosse, vp, Fishbowl Local. “It’s important to catch people’s attention but everyone is bombarded with e-mails – even the ones they want. Whether it’s a monthly postcard, a recipe, or an e-newsletter, we find that sending e-mails that are easy and quick to read will capture people’s limited attention. If they’re really interested, it will drive them to your Web site. Otherwise you might lose them all together.”
(For information on e-mail best practices and privacy laws, visit ftc.gov/spam)