Restaurant Marketing 101: Targeted Emails

Targeting is indisputably the next big thing in marketing. No longer do you need to waste those marketing dollars on disinterested people or worse oversaturate to the point of unsubscribing. With endless amounts of rich data out there, the options seem almost limitless. So where do you start as a restaurant marketer? Below are four places to begin your targeted marketing efforts.

  1. Location
    This is the simplest and most obvious to implement. If you work for a multi-unit restaurant group, start by keeping separate email lists for each location. OpenTable is a great source because it automatically stores your lists by location. When setting up website signup forms, personalize your email subscription center by giving the guest the option to check which locations are applicable. By keeping locations separate you won’t risk an unsubscribe from your Chicago guest by telling them about the events happening in Miami. You can take this one step further and cross promote your regional locations. Maybe the Upper West Side diner doesn’t know about the incredible happy hour your Soho location has. By looping in guests from regional locations, you can drive business across the board.
  2. Menu Items
    What could be more pointless than sending an email about that upcoming wine dinner to someone who’s “off the wagon”? By sending emails your guest doesn’t care about, you risk having them unsubscribe and losing them forever. Restaurant email unsubscribe rates are fairly high averaging 0.3% (meaning if you send an email to 1,000 people, you lose contact with 30). How do you keep those contacts – that you worked so hard to earn in the first place – engaged? Target your special events and offers to those guests that actually care. Send an announcement about a new gluten-free entree only to those who have ordered off the GF menu before. Running an offer on filet mignon? Send just to the red meat eaters.
  3. Frequency
    Frequency is the number one metric to look at in terms of first-time vs. repeat customers. Nearly 80% of a restaurant’s dining room on any given day are first time guests. How can you turn them into regulars and change up your dining room’s ratio? Venga found that 20% of repeat guests return within 12 weeks followed by a drop off period. Send an automatic winback offer 12 weeks after their last visit encouraging them to come back sooner. From a typical winback campaign, 10% of lapsed guests book reservations after being contacted by the restaurant.
  4. Spend
    Just as the front-of-house takes special care of your high spenders, so should your marketing team. VIPs often times should not receive the same communications as everyone else. Make sure to exclude them from offers that will not appeal or may undercut their cover average. Some restaurants also like to send a feedback survey to their guest’s post meal, but opt to send their VIPs a more personal note from the GM. Your VIPs require a more personal touch especially in a world of mass eblasts – consider your marketing team the maitre d for your guests’ email.