Writing the Perfect Marketing Email for Your Restaurant

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Email marketing: it may sound like a dated way to reach your audience but, in reality, no other digital channel has as high of a return on investments as email marketing does.  As a restaurant owner, email marketing can be one of the most powerful ways to interact with your customer base, and keep your business on the front of the  minds of your fans while cultivating newly devoted followers.  If you are a restaurant owner who has never written marketing emails before, don’t worry. It’s not as hard as you may think. And, with just a few tips, you can start churning out emails that bring in the customers.  Here are some best practices for email marketing for restaurant owners.

1. Integrate Everything

In your marketing emails, link to your social media accounts and your website.  Some readers who may not be likely to read through an entire email will still click your social media links and follow your business there, and you can reach these fans in the way they prefer to be reached.

2. Get Visual

If you want your marketing emails to engage your customers, they need to be a lot more than plain text based.  Include pictures of your food and of your restaurant to stimulate the appetites of your regulars.  Don’t worry about taking pictures specifically for your marketing emails: feel free to include pictures pulled from your Instagram account or other social media postings, and repurpose pictures you have already taken.  As long as your food looks mouth wateringly delicious, they will be effective regardless of whether they are original.

3. Offer Deals and Free Giveaways

The biggest obstacle to overcome with email marketing is getting perceived as “spam,” and a good way to do this is by including valuable information in each of your emails that your customers actually care about. And NO ONE doesn’t love a good deal.  Think about what kind of exclusive deals you can offer in your email marketing, like coupons or drink giveaways for your email subscribers.  If you make deals a regular part of your emails, your readers will be trained to open them up and look for ways to save.

4. Speak to YOUR Audience

The tone and structure of your emails will be very important to their success, and in crafting your tone and refining your content, the most important thing to keep in mind is your specific audience.  Think about who regularly dines on your restaurant, and look for names you recognize on your email list.  If you are having trouble thinking about who exactly your audience is, take a conversational and upbeat approach in your tone.  Don’t make things so informal that you look unprofessional, but write your marketing emails like you would speak, and keep vocabulary easy, sentences short, and tone cheery.

5. Get Interactive

Hoping your customers stay engaged with your emails?  then work to engage them!  Getting interactive with marketing emails is a great way to keep your audience tuned in, as well as gather valuable information about your readers.  Include things like polls and questions in each email, soliciting audience feedback about your business.  Think about including a fun game or riddle in each of your emails, ideally having to do with your restaurant.  If your interactive elements are only tangentially related, and you include riddles about your type of cuisine or the history of the country where your food comes from for example, that’s ok.  It’s better to have some interactive element in each of your emails than it is to keep emails 100% focused on your business and forsake customer interaction.

6. Get Strategic with Headlines

News flash: if your emails don’t have catchy, strategic, well thought out subject lines, no one will ever see how beautifully crafted they are.  Getting strategic with your headlines, and creating subject lines that lead to your emails getting opened, is one of the most important skills of email marketing that you can build.

For starters, leave sales words like “free” and “best deals” out of your subject lines, as those emails will often trigger spam filters and never end up in inboxes to begin with.  Make sure that every email has a unique headline, and that you don’t repeat headlines you have used in the past.  Keep your subject lines short, ideally less than 15 words.  If you are worried about not creating the best headlines, look into MailChimp.  In addition to a host of other benefits, MailChimp has a free tool which will allow you to research the effectiveness of different keywords in email headlines.

7. Keep Experimenting!

You won’t be an email marketing expert overnight, but if you start with the tips above and keep experimenting, you will find what works best for your audience and see just how valuable of a marketing tool email can be.

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Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.

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We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today. 


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