Maybe you’ve heard enough about my rants and bought in that this is an important part of your marketing strategy. AWESOME!
If you’re still not 100% convinced you need an email collection system, please read this article.
As my best friend Seth Godin said
(He’s my best friend but I don’t think he even knows I exist)
“Your website should be 100 percent focused on signing up strangers to give you permission to market to them.”
In this multi-part article series, I am going to give you my ingredients to create your restaurant's signature email marketing strategy.
So, what's first? Before you start any marketing campaign, make sure you did your homework.
Now that you are clear about your restaurant marketing strategy, you can start to do “marketing”.
Your restaurant exists to facilitate an exchange.
Your guest has a need and they come to your restaurant to pay you to have that need fulfilled.
Decide on your incentive!
The first step is to decide on a collection incentive. See, when you ask for someone's email it will need to be an exchange. They give you permission to market to them, and you give them an incentive to visit your restaurant.
This is used in 2 collection methods; anyone who visits your website (1) and in store guests (2).
1. Website incentive - reasoning
OK, I know what you’re saying. Why do I want to give something for free to people that are checking out my website? They are interested in my product. Shouldn’t I just get them to make a reservation?
Or, now they come to my website to look up location information, and then I am giving them something for free when they were already coming in.
There is a method to my madness. There will be people that will receive a discount that would have already came in. This is the glass half empty way to look at it.
Let's look at the glass as half full. How many website visitors do you have that never make a reservation? How many are just checking things out for a future experience? If you can capture these people into your Restaurant Funnel System through an incentive, you now have created a direct call to action and by giving your incentive an expiry date, a sense of urgency for their next visit. The bonus is that you now have their contact information and you can reach them directly for future promotions or events.
2. In-store incentive - reasoning
They are in my store and love it. Why would I want to give away a product to someone who is a regular?
If I just wowed them with my food and service, they will be back for more without something for free.
The above statements can be looked at as being correct, 20 years ago. See, the whole “get them in the door and blow them away and they will be back” mentality doesn’t work as well anymore. There are so many more choices. The next time they are thinking about going out to a restaurant like yours they may have forgotten your name as they have been exposed to so many new messages.
When someone comes to you for the first time, they took a chance. Now you want them to take another chance and come back. It’s the power of three. People need to have three exceptional visits before they unconditionally trust your restaurant. When you have given them an incentive to return, your message will stand out. Because there is an expiry date on the incentive, it creates a sense of urgency and allows you to remind them to use it. This keeps you top of mind.
Ok, so now we know why we need an incentive. What should the incentive be?
The bigger and less restrictive the better. You want to make it enticing enough to convince someone to come for a visit.
My favourite item to use is a signature appetizer. Your most popular one. With no restrictions. If someone wants to come in and just have it and a water, so be it. If there is a table of 4 and everyone has it, so be it. Your food cost on an appetizer should be around 25%, and an average appetizer price being $12, it’s a cost of $3 to have that guest visit. Now they have a meal and a drink and you have more than covered your cost.
Other incentive ideas can be another food item like dessert, BOGOs, a percentage discount off the bill, dollar value gift voucher…..etc
And if you’re 100% set against this type of incentive, then the next best thing is a contest. Enter to win a gift card, or maybe you have tickets to a sporting event or concert. Be sure to be clear with the rules and make sure you are compliant within your area as some markets have laws and restrictions on contests.
Now you have decided on your incentive, the next step is building the collection method.
Let's have a conversation about creating an incentive that you can exchange for people to join your list. Book your free strategy call now.