Maintain a strong relationship with your guests by using email marketing
Here is ‘The Clear Guide Light’, a weekly column highlighting the most important actions you can take now to get your communications strategy in place.
The hospitality market is crowded and it’s becoming more difficult for a small business to compete and gain loyal customers. Media and street advertising can be very expensive, so email marketing remains one of the best and most effective options for small hospitality businesses to maintain a strong relationship with customers, promote offers and new items on the menu, or invite customers to join the next event.
Whatever your reason for sending a newsletter is, it has two main purposes: to drive sales and tell your brand story.
Running restaurant email campaigns is one way to:
- Attract new customers to dine at your restaurant for the first time
- Show appreciation to your existing customers
- And keep customers returning.
As soon as you’ve collected email addresses, you can issue your first newsletter to your database. There are a lot of different providers you can choose from; I most often use Mailchimp for my clients, this is a personal preference therefore I urge you to sign up to a few platforms for free and see which one you find most user friendly.
Ideally, you’d want something going out at least once a month but there is no hard-and-fast rule here. You don’t need to stick to a rigid schedule – instead, think about what news are worthy of communicating and when the most opportune time to send them would be. Avoid going through the motions – a newsletter with nothing to say is more likely to damage engagement than not sending one in the first instance. If you have nothing exciting to say or announce, don’t send anything.
Think about what makes you act as a consumer – an offer or details of a new dish or one-off event will drive sales and bookings. A recipe from the chef or details about their charity work will engage you with the brand. Image-led newsletters with very concise wording but beautiful photography work best. I recommend you sign up to a few of your competitors’ mailers and also other restaurants you like and see what they do; it’s never a bad idea to see what the competition is doing anyway.
Reporting is vital in optimising your email marketing strategy, and most platform’s reporting feature lets you find out all the important information easily. You can also share reports across your restaurant, view demographics, and view click-maps that show the frequency and where subscribers click – or don't click! It’s important to:
- Learn about your audience
- Turn insights into action
- Get a clear picture of what drives ROI
There’s quite a lot that goes into producing and managing even the most basic of newsletters. If you need inspiration for yours, my advice would be to find a brand whose newsletter you really like and use theirs as inspiration.
Andrea Klar-Nathan is MD of Clear Communications. With over 15 years of hospitality communications experience; she co-owned her first agency by 2011 which she then sold 7 years later. Her experience includes everything that’s connected to hospitality: Michelin starred restaurants, pop-ups, venues, events, even wine storage solutions. You name it, she’s done it.
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