Every restaurant wants to keep its customers coming back. After all, retaining current customers is a lot less expensive than finding new ones. One effective way to increase repeat business is with an email list. Having this kind of a marketing tool lets you stay in touch with your customers by sending them emails about upcoming drink specials, new menu items and more. Customers will then think of your restaurant the next time that they are planning to dine out.
But how do you get your customers to sign up for your email list? People are often reluctant to give out their personal information, including their email address. With that in mind, here are six proven techniques for growing your restaurant email list.
Weekly Lunch or Dinner Drawing
Everyone loves free food, so every week offer customers the chance to win a free lunch or a free dinner. The only thing they have to do to enter the drawing is to give you their email address. You can collect these by placing an iPad or a sheet of paper on a table next to where people wait to be seated. You can also place an iPad on each table if people want to enter the drawing during or after their meal.
Tell customers that you would like to add them to your email list so that you can keep them up to date on new menu items, etc. In exchange for their email address, give them a coupon for a free drink or a discount on a future meal.
Host an Event
Host an invitation-only event to showcase menu items that you are planning to introduce soon. The only catch is that people must give you their email address to attend. The future revenue generated from the email addresses you collect will more than offset the cost of the event.
Offer Free WiFi
Restaurant customers love free Wi-Fi and providing it gives you a great way to collect email addresses. People are used to agreeing to terms and entering a username and password when they visit websites and use online services, so ask customers to enter their email address to gain access to your WiFi network on your landing page. Few tactics collect email addresses more quickly than a WiFi marketing automation tool.
Website and Social Media Collection
Put your website address on every marketing channel you have, including your business cards, customer receipts, "doggie bags," etc. Then put a clear, compelling call to action on every page of your website asking people to subscribe to your restaurant newsletter or email list. Include an icon for each of your social media pages and when people click through to these pages ask them to join your email list. You will probably need to offer an incentive in the form or a coupon or discount to get them to sign up.
Include a Forwarding Option in Your Current Emails
When you send emails to your current list, make sure to include a forwarding option. This lets readers forward emails with offers that they find particularly interesting to family and friends. If the friends like what they see, then they too will want to join your email list. Make it easy to do by including a link to your website's email list sign up form in every email. You can also include a tagline saying something like "Want to stay in the loop about discounts and offers? Sign up!"
Even in this day and age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, an email list remains a powerful marketing tool because everyone on it has asked to hear from you. By having drawings, asking for exchanges, hosting events, providing free WiFi, including a website call to action and including an email forwarding option, you can grow your restaurant email list quickly and easily.