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Marketing Your Illinois Business

Why Your Restaurant Needs Email Marketing and How to Get Started

January 13, 2021

The average American full-time worker spends 2.6 hours in their inbox each day. Email marketing is an incredibly effective tool because you’re able to reach customers where they’re spending their time. It’s also cheap. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing produces $44 for every dollar spent.

If you’re on the fence about whether or not your restaurant needs email marketing, the answer is a resounding yes. It will help you reach more customers, get more foot traffic and encourage repeat visits.

The benefits of email marketing

Though there are many benefits to email marketing, we believe the following are the most compelling.

Your audience is engaged from day one: Subscribers actively signed up to hear from you, so you know they want to receive updates about your venue. Unlike many other marketing channels, you’re starting with an engaged audience.

Remain top of mind: With so many restaurants competing for customers’ attention, you need to stay at the forefront of customers’ minds. By sending out one to two emails per month, you remain on their radar.

Increase loyalty: Offer subscribers insider information like a sneak peek at new menu items, coupons and recipes. It will make them feel special and they might become regulars.

Expand your customer base: Email is an easy way to ask your customers for a referral. Send out an email with two coupons—one they can keep and one with a new customer code that they can forward to a friend.

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How to get started

The first thing needed to start your email marketing efforts is a list of email addresses. There are a number of ways to collect email addresses, including putting a bowl in your venue to collect business cards, offering a coupon to anyone who subscribes through an online form, or requiring email addresses when people place online orders or make reservations.

From there, it’s best to use a tool like MailChimp or Fishbowl to manage your email campaigns because the rules and regulations businesses have to follow are already built into the platform.

It’s also wise to schedule your content in advance, so you never fall behind. Keeping a regular cadence is important for retaining your subscribers. If emails feel sporadic, customers might unsubscribe.


Deciding on email content

When it comes to what to put in your emails, the sky’s the limit. Share menu updates or seasonal items, ask for a review, remind people that you offer carry-out or delivery, and don’t forget to promote upcoming events or specials that will draw people into your venue.

Just remember that timing is important. A request for a review should come shortly after they pick up their food, while it’s still top of mind and a notification about a happy hour event should be sent early enough that people have time to plan, but not so early that they forget when it comes around.


Ready to start your email marketing efforts? Let us know how it goes by leaving a comment below!

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