This is a guest article contributed by David Schwartz from steamfeed.com.
If I invite you into my home we most likely have a relationship, that and I must trust you. Trust is a critical factor when building a relationship with your customers through email. Without trust we are just spamming people. While social media gets all the hype (justifiably so) these days as the preferred 1-to-1 online communicate tool I ask you to reconsider an old friend. No not direct mail, I want you to make more friends not annoy more people and waste paper. I am talking about email. Yes, email still has a seat at the marketing table. In fact, your database just might be the most underutilized asset in your marketing arsenal.
Now back to trust. I am going to assume you have built your database the correct way, with customers opting into your email or loyalty program. If you have not, the trust is already broken and you risk alienating a customer and/or being blacklisted. In fact, take a minute to review the CAN-SPAM Act guide for businesses.
When a customer Ops into your email program that should be considered an invitation to share relevant and helpful information. Of course this also means you should not abuse the relationship, so please Don’t Piss Off Your Loyal Customers. So don’t go blasting them everything that comes to mind or literally pushing offers down their throat. To show you more about what I am talking about, let’s review 4 examples of effective email campaigns from the restaurant industry.
1. Qdoba – Suggestive Selling or Solution Based
Qdoba is a Mexican Grill, so it makes perfect sense to promote catering during Cinco De Mayo. Thus, this form of “Suggestive Selling” could be received as a not only an informative email but also a helpful resource as it potentially solves a problem for your Cinco De Mayo holiday party. Qdoba also did a nice job keeping it simple by not forcing multiple messages into the eblast.
¡tres hurras por Qdoba! Translation: 3 cheers for Qdoba
2. Noodles & Company – Promotional (New Product/Service)
What I like best about this email campaign is that they know exactly what it is they are trying to accomplish and who they are talking to. Noodles & Company is known for their customizable pasta dishes, you can mix and match ingredients and sauces with various toppings and proteins. The new service they are introducing takes that customization and rolls it into their new online catering product. Noodles & Company also does a nice job of introducing offers earlier to loyal fans through email, a recent example was when they introduced their new spring menu.
3. Ruby Tuesday – Incentive Based
Often times the only emails you will receive from brands are offer driven deals. Worth noting is that this is a competitive offer, and you should reward email subscribers with solid deals. You should consider your email subscribers as the low hanging fruit. Plus, it might just generate the highest ROI, especially a campaign as competitive as 25% off which should really drive traffic from your loyal following. Ruby Tuesdays does a nice job of explaining the offer and not burying the rules, and clearly labeled the expiration date.
4. Fox Restaurant Concepts – Special Occasion/Holiday
I included this example from the Arizona based restaurant group that is made up of 12 different concepts since I think they do a really nice job with their digital content. This is by far the smallest company of the 4 examples and it just goes to show you that smaller players can definitely compete with the bigger chains when it comes to email campaigns. Special Occasions are strong drivers for traffic in the restaurant industry, yet many restaurants don’t plan ahead. Consider an editorial calendar and prepare your restaurant for the busiest day of the year. To explore more on how to take advantage of the increased guest counts on holidays check out, No One Should Have to Cook on Mother’s Day.
4 additional things worth noting that each restaurant did well:
- Included copy and link for recipients to opt-out of the program
- Included additional information and resource links such as social media profiles
- Included a clear Call-to-Action
- Utilized strong visuals and clean designs
And, one final take-away tip to consider before pushing the send button on your next email campaign. Almost equally important to what you send is when you send the email blast. Advertising Age: What’s the Best Time of Day to Send an Email? using research from Experian Marketing Services.
David is a Brand Strategist focused on building relevant brands, while creating valuable consumer relationships to promote engagement. By utilizing the popularity of digital and mobile media, along with the social web he helps companies understand the power of controlling their content.
This article is by David Schwartz from steamfeed.com.