We’ve all had bad email newsletter experiences — those companies that send the same emails again and again until you eventually hit “Unsubscribe.” But those are not what we’re talking about here, with restaurant newsletters.
What’s the difference?
A poorly designed and written email newsletter can come off spammy and annoying. A good newsletter strategy, on the other hand, has the power to build customer loyalty and get people excited about visiting your restaurant.
And that’s the strategy we’re going to talk about today, including specific ideas that you can use in your own restaurant newsletter strategy.
But first, let’s look at why newsletters work and the first steps you need to take to start your own newsletter strategy.
Why Email Newsletters Work
Why is an email strategy worth your time?
For starters, it’s free — even when you use email marketing software, plans often offer a free plan for a set limit of contacts. So all you need to worry about is what to write — and we’ll get to that shortly.
Second, it provides you direct access to your customers. Your message will land directly in their inbox. Plus, with the use of smartphones, people have access to their emails 24 hours a day, no matter where they are.
And third, your recipients want to receive your emails — otherwise, they would give you their contact information!
Consider a few email statistics from Hubspot, a leader in the marketing space…
- There are around 4 billion daily email users.
- 99% of email users check their email at least once a day.
- 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the past year.
- 64% of small businesses continue to use email to reach their customers.
There’s no denying that email newsletters deserve a place in your strategy in this day and age. At the same time, it’s important to learn how to use it effectively to reach and connect with your restaurant customers in a meaningful way.
Let’s now discuss the initial steps you should take to set up your newsletter strategy for success, as well as a few ideas for content to include in your newsletter.
How to Get Started with Email Newsletters
First things first. You need to sign up for email marketing software. There are a lot of brands out there, all pretty much doing the same thing. Our top favorites are…
All of these email marketing companies will give you the tools you need to get started. They even have a free version, with a limit on how many contacts you can have before you need to start paying. This helps small businesses like yours get their foot in the door.
But make sure that you look over the other features in the paid plans. This way, if you decide to invest more in email marketing, you’ll have the tools you need.
Once you’ve landed on an email client that works for your needs, it’s time to get to work collecting email addresses.
Your email marketing software will have step-by-step directions on how to integrate their software with your website for easy email collection.
Once you set up your software, you can collect email addresses through a simple form on your website with spaces for people to enter their names and email addresses. But it needs to be more than just “Enter your name here.” You need to give people an incentive to sign up. Some common incentives include…
- Join our newsletter to receive updates, discount codes, and more
- Join our email list and receive a 20% coupon in your first email
- Sign up for our newsletter and receive exclusive recipes, updates, promotions, and more, straight to your inbox.
- Sign up for our newsletter and receive our free ebook with all our favorite recipes.
Nowadays, people are more hesitant than ever to give over their email information — at least, not without a good reason. Give them that reason by showing them the value they will receive in return.
Related Content: How to Set Up Effective SMS Marketing Campaigns
So, at this point, you’ve started to build up an email list. Now what? What kind of content will you send them? Let’s look into a few ways that you can use your restaurant newsletter to provide value to your customers and promote your restaurant at the same time.
How to Use Restaurant Newsletters to Connect with Your Customers
Let people know what’s new at your restaurant. This could include news about new hires, upcoming holiday closures, partnerships… There are so many possibilities. If it affects your restaurant, let your customers know about it.
2. Weekly Specials / Seasonal Menu Items
Highlight a few of your upcoming dinner or drink specials, perhaps alongside a glamorous shot of the special to whet their appetite.
The same can work if you’re planning to take one of your specials off the menu. Knowing that it’s their last chance to try it might motivate a few customers to come in or order it online.
3. Exclusive Recipes
Is there a weekly special or regular dish that your customers just love? Include a recipe or perhaps a few tips and tricks in your newsletter.
You can even include a link to a special video of your chef preparing the dish.
4. Discounts / Offers
Who doesn’t love a good deal? Whether it’s a coupon that they can share with their server or a two-for-one special that you’re running for the upcoming weekend, get the word out through email.
5. Upcoming Events
Tell your audience about upcoming events that they might be interested in joining. This could include…
- Trivia night
- Karaoke night
- Charity / Fundraiser
- Singles night
- Live music
- Guest chef or bartender
- Pop up event
Knowing that such events are going on might give people the push they need to join you.
6. New Services or Features
Let people know what new services and features that they will find at your restaurant. Perhaps it’s online ordering, QR code menus, or even new large-screen TVs. Let them know what it is and how they can use it, right in your newsletter.
And, in the instance of online ordering, you can set up a link to send people directly to your online ordering page, such as…
We are happy to announce that we now offer online ordering — Click here to put in your first order for pickup or delivery!
Restaurant newsletters are not what they used to be. With the right newsletter strategy, you can connect with your customers in a meaningful way, create loyalty, and boost sales, all at the same time.