Newsletters vs Social media
Even those businesses that make a lot of time for social media and are very active in managing their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, the potential return from social media channels has proven (time and time again) to be much lower than using opt-in email lists.
As you can see from this infographic, not only is email marketing the customer’s preferred method of communication, but it also has a significantly higher engagement rate and return on investment.
What people see on social media and Google is completely based on algorithms, so every time they decide to change these algorithms*, you can lose a lot of traffic very quickly. You probably already know that only a fraction of your hard-won Facebook followers will actually see any given post. Even if you’ve worked hard to achieve thousands of likes on your page, the only way you’ll actually reach a decent number of people is to either “boost” your post (which costs money) or run a paid ad.
It’s also pretty annoying every time Facebook changes their width which affects the way everything is displayed. We don’t all have time to constantly resize, redesign, or reset our promotional materials!
We also worry about businesses that rely too heavily on Twitter for promotion. Are you aware that Twitter recently made changes to the way you’re allowed to access the data that YOU have created on its API? Unfortunately, we can’t be sure that you’ll have the same free access to your followers in the very near future…
Email Newsletter Benefits
Having an email list, on the other hand, is like having a bar of gold stored under your mattress. It’s yours, now and forever, and the return on investment for email marketing is massive. An email list is a direct route to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of potential customers and better yet, you can use it whenever you need or want to. You’re in control.
From time to time, emails can get caught in people’s spam filters, but the vast majority of them will get through. And even if only a quarter of your subscribers open their emails (which is actually a great open rate), they can still stimulate more interest in what you’re doing and result in more reservations for your restaurant.
A well-thought-out email marketing strategy will make you money. In fact, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42 (DMA, 2019). There are many more benefits to email marketing, but obviously this one tops the charts as we all need to ensure our businesses remain profitable.
With a large enough email list, you can easily drive lots of reservations to your special events, tasting menus, as well as offer discounts to increase bookings during off-peak hours, all by simply sending out an email.
Furthermore, did you know that almost 9 in 10 adults go online everyday to check email? That’s more often than they shop online or visit social-media sites!
*Google changed its ranking algorithm in 2004, Facebook changed its algorithm in 2018 so that a user’s news feed would focus more on posts from friends and family groups
Choosing the Best Email Marketing Software
Finding the best email marketing software can be pretty overwhelming as there is so much choice it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. But we have a good personal recommendation that is already working for restaurants all over the world.
Our Tablein system has integrations with the two of the most popular and best-performing email marketing platforms, MailerLite and Mailchimp, in order to give you choice.
MailerLite and Mailchimp look very different. Mailchimp is popular due to its slick user interface that’s easy on the eyes. MailerLite looks a bit more dated, but we personally think that it’s what’s under the hood that counts, right?
We really like MailerLite because of its innovative drag & drop editor, which makes it super easy to use. They also have multiple design templates and great support. You can reach their live chat support team 24/7, while Mailchimp only provides live chat help Monday through Friday.
Also, it has a solid free plan, a step-by-step approach to completing tasks, and an abundance of in-app help and digital marketing tips. We are happy to recommend MailerLite to our clients as we firmly believe that it’s a great option for restaurants.
MailerLite even has enough features to keep up with businesses that prioritize email marketing. The software allows you to create even complex email campaigns that can drive significant returns on investment (ROI).
How to Get More Subscribers
- Integrate MailerLite or Mailchimp to the Tablein system (Integrations). This will allow your customers to select “receive newsletter from the restaurant” directly on your widget and clients will be automatically added to your subscribers list.
- You can also add a thank you page, which is the URL to which your clients will be redirected after making a successful reservation on your widget. This page can do more than simply thank them for the reservation, as you can also use it as an opportunity to advertise your upcoming events or a new menu. Add a “subscribe to newsletter” button, telling them how they will benefit from receiving your newsletters.
- Add a “subscribe now” section to your website, Facebook page and other channels.
- Additionally, you can offer a small reward for new registrations. Either a special offer, gift voucher, or one-off discount for every new subscriber, or a competition with a prize awarded to a new subscriber that enters.
Ideas for Email Content
Email is a brilliant way to direct your readers to where you want them to go. Examples of interesting and engaging email content include:
- Special offers – If your restaurant offers daily or seasonal specials, an email newsletter is an easy way to keep your customers informed. Every time you make changes to your menu, this is another opportunity to entice customers to come in and try new dishes.
- Upcoming events – If you’re hosting a party or after-hour’s event, email newsletters give you even more opportunity to engage with customers. Use your newsletters to tell your subscribers about upcoming events and cross-promote new menu items at the same time
- Awards – Customers love to dine at the best restaurants. If your restaurant wins an industry award or gets coverage in the local newspaper, you can share this information in your regular newsletter. You can even create a special edition newsletter, if you have time to put one together, to highlight the recognition, staff or recipes that helped you to win it. When customers come into the restaurant, they may just order the winning dish if they haven’t already had it!
- About you – An easy way to simply remind your customers about your restaurant, your opening hours, best-selling dishes, new arrivals or introduce your chef.
Please note! Less is more. We recommend that you stick to one clear message per newsletter.
Don’t forget! Always ensure that you include a call-to-action. It’s a phrase that’s used to tell the user exactly what action to take and how to take it (for example, “Book Now”). After all, this is your main goal so use it everywhere you can – Facebook, twitter posts, and emails. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to book a table in your restaurant.
Don’t send newsletters yet? What are you waiting for? Sign up now and start creating great content for all your customers. You already have your database!
If you don’t know where to start then feel free to contact us by email [email protected] and we will help get you started!