Marketing Series (Part 3)

Talk to Your Guests - It's as Easy as an Email


Following Canada Takeout’s marketing series, your brand, website and social media presence are now thoroughly established. You know who you are and your guests can easily find you online and view your dishes, your team and your interiors through your social media platforms. Now, how can you take the conversation to the next level? It’s as simple as sending an email.

A customer relationship management system (CRM) is the best way to get to know and communicate with your customers. First, check in with your POS provider as it is possible that it has an integrated CRM system read-to-use with built in customer data. If not, there are several user-friendly options, such as Mailchimp, where you can create an account and tailor it to your needs. Once an account is created, you have to build and upload your audience database.

There are various ways to grow your email list. The more emails, the better. Review your reservations list, create a subscription form on your restaurant website, gather emails in exchange for access to your restaurant’s WiFi or through a tab on your Facebook page and even on-site with a sign-up sheet. You just have to ensure you are getting customer consent to email them and your newsletters must have an unsubscribe option.

Once you have your audience built, it’s time to design and create your newsletter. Most CRM systems have pre-set templates where you can insert your own unique logos, images and update overall structure to match your brand’s look and feel with specific fonts and colours. Regarding the content of your newsletter, there is more to say than you think. Restaurateurs are not just in the food business; they are in the hospitality business. Promotions and incentives are always newsworthy. Your audience are your customers so it makes sense that they would want to know about new deals, new takeout menus, exciting updates, restaurant stories and recipe spotlights. You can even ask your database for reviews and send surveys to help your strategic planning and brand awareness. 

For the emails themselves, think about catching your customer’s attention. It all starts with a subject line. What short sentence or phrase will make your customer open that email? Once open, the headline should provide the reader with context of what’s to come. The body of the email should be where the main idea comes to life and educates your reader on what’s new. Keep this short and concise. Be sure to include images to support your text as the entire newsletter should be visually appealing. Many CRM platforms also offer buttons that can link to your website or booking page. Create a specific Call to Action (CTA) which prompts the reader to take an action, such as “order now” or “book now”. Finally, don’t forget about the footer. Add your contact information or social media links to the end of every email so your subscribers know how to reach you.

Now it’s time to hit send. Your message will reach the inboxes of every email in your list. Many CRM platforms offer analytics to showcase open rates, click-throughs and more. You can use this information to segment your audiences, send emails at more appropriate times and learn about what your audience wants to read. Email marketing is a cost effective and direct way to communicate with your customers. These systems are easy to navigate and will keep you connected to your guests. Tap into the power of an email!