Restaurants have been affected especially hard by the COVID-19 epidemic, despite the fact that many other businesses are also experiencing difficulties.
At the beginning of this year, in order to ensure the safety of their patrons, restaurants were ordered to either shutter their dining areas or altogether discontinue operations. After a few months, some establishments have reopened their dining rooms and patios, while others have only takeout or curbside pickup available. These businesses are now dealing with a reduced marketing budget as well as stringent safety protocols.
However, there is a bright side to this story, and we are here to assist you in seeing it.
Through the use of several channels, such as email marketing, you may increase consumer loyalty and awareness. Email marketing enables you to surprise, educate, and delight your consumers with one-of-a-kind services and products that are related to your business.
How can restaurants increase their visibility via the use of email marketing? Let’s delve into the importance of email marketing during the pandemic, as well as the various types of content you should begin sending to your customers.
Why is it important for restaurants to keep up with their email marketing during the pandemic?
You can focus on innovative ways to keep your business in front of customers even though the restaurant industry is going through a rough patch by employing a strategic marketing approach. It’s possible that you’re used to more conventional methods of advertising, such as billboards or the radio. In contrast, over the course of the last few months, mentalities all over the world have become noticeably more digital.
Email marketing is still the most effective digital marketing strategy for increasing both brand awareness and customer spending, despite the fact that over 306 billion emails are expected to be sent around the world by the year 2020.
Email marketing provides businesses like restaurants with the opportunity to cultivate personal relationships with customers on the medium of their choice. In point of fact, greater than half of customers report that they check their personal email account more than ten times per day, citing it as their preferred medium for receiving business communications.
Take into account the following additional arguments in favor of engaging in email marketing during (and after) the pandemic:
- Offers a user interface that is intuitive and does not require previous experience with coding.
- promotes itself through other digital channels, such as social media and content creation, in addition to its own.
- Provides a platform for communication that is affordable.
- Provides your customers with a forum in which they can post comments and questions.
- Provides the ability to quickly disseminate information regarding updates, news, events, and more
- Email addresses can be collected quickly and easily through reservations.
- Performs an analysis on your metrics to identify areas for potential improvement.
Email marketing provide your company with the finest opportunity to engage with clients and to generate business with them. This enables your company to respond to the issues that the pandemic has brought to the restaurant sector.
5 emails that restaurants need to send out in order to raise brand recognition
After having gained an understanding of how email marketing for restaurants can assist in the expansion of a company, the next step is to get familiar with the different kinds of emails that should be sent. Because clients are hearing the phrase “we’re in this together” from the majority of firms, you need to make sure that your emails stand out from the crowd.
Which emails do you send out to encourage people to pick your restaurant while the epidemic is going on? Let’s take a look at some instances of how you may increase the amount of business you bring in.
1. Make sure everyone is aware of your safety and cleanliness procedures
You need to reassure your consumers that your establishment’s food and environment are safe. If you have made the decision to reopen your business, it is imperative that you also identify the hours that it will be open and that you establish client expectations around what they should anticipate.
Because openness is the most important aspect of this email, the first thing you should address is how you ensure the safety of both your personnel and the food. Your state’s regulations may demand that your cleaning procedures and safety measures include the following, although this is not required.
- Updates include social detachment as well as altered layouts
- Restaurant tables should be disinfected after each customer uses them.
- Workers protecting themselves with face masks and gloves
- Everyone within the building will have their temperature checked.
- Sanitizer and hand washing facilities located conveniently around the area
- OpenTable or Resy may be used to make reservations.
- Payments other than cash are preferred.
- QR code menus
Customers will feel more at ease about visiting your establishment if you provide them with more information regarding the safety measures that are in place at your restaurant. You could keep your customers up to date on any recent developments concerning their health by sending them regular emails. You are reinforcing the notion that your restaurant is a secure location by opting for the straightforward option.
Documenting the process of reopening your restaurant and showcasing behind-the-scenes footage is another way to get customers excited about the new dining experience you will be offering. Show off your newly updated floorplan, post pictures of your employees wearing masks, or demonstrate your newly installed takeout window. Not only do these emails provide evidence that you will soon be opening, but they also serve to allay concerns regarding a pandemic.
2. Run unique promotions for takeout orders and delivery to the curbside
It is essential to inform your customers of any ongoing deals you have surrounding the new service, particularly in light of the fact that many restaurants are transitioning toward takeout-only or curbside delivery options. Instead of waiving delivery fees or offering discounts, both of which could have a negative impact on your bottom line, focus on finding new ways that you can assist your customers in resolving their issues.
For instance, you might want to think about providing meal packages for families or a romantic date night that include bundled food items. This tactic not only encourages the customer to make a more substantial purchase, but it also enables you to offer a standardized dish that can be prepared in your kitchen in a short amount of time.
Ensure that the messaging within your email campaigns is geared toward a meal replacement option that is appropriate for the whole family. Customers are having difficulty preparing original meals at home, and your bundle offers a solution that satisfies the requirements of the entire family in a single package. Include the following in the email:
- The available items on the menu
- The cost of it
- Information regarding orders
- Visuals that are difficult to ignore
If you do choose to offer additional promotions, it is imperative that you send out an email to all of your customers informing them of the new offerings and requesting their continued patronage of your establishment.
4. Emphasize the importance of merchandise and gift cards
Whether or not your business is completely operational yet, highlighting gift cards and other merchandise is a fantastic way for customers to virtually support you without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
In your email, emphasize the excitement that your customers will feel when they get to visit your restaurant after you’ve made them feel at ease. You could also feature employee spotlights to talk about how your team has been coping with the pandemic and how additional purchases have helped support their lives.
In addition, you should think about forming partnerships with influential people in your community and using user-generated content from social media.
5. Embrace technology by using notifications for your orders and deliveries
Did you know that 95 percent of restaurants believe the use of technology to be beneficial to their bottom line?
Even if you are unable to make an investment in technology at the moment, you can still gain a significant competitive advantage and expand your takeout and delivery business by offering online ordering. An online platform enables customers to place an order directly from your website, which is becoming increasingly important as more customers prefer to shop and place orders online rather than over the phone.
The most exciting part? You can keep the entire profit without having to use services like UberEats or Postmates.
Emails sent as part of a transaction contain information that verifies the completion of a particular action on an individual level. Transactional emails typically result in the highest open rates because they contain information that is relevant to the customer receiving the email. Send transactional emails with each order placed online. These emails should contain important information such as:
- Confirmation of the order
- Processing of the order
- Order delivered
- Order feedback or delivery rating
While your customers will appreciate the convenience of placing orders online, your ability to provide a wonderful experience for them will ensure that they continue to shop with you.
This year has been particularly difficult for those working in the restaurant business. Because of the global pandemic, ongoing civil unrest, and the lack of clarity regarding what will happen next, marketing has not been everyone’s primary concern. You can, however, continue to build customer loyalty and increase sales with the appropriate email marketing strategy to support your restaurant through these challenging times.
During the pandemic, when developing your email marketing strategy, you should think about the following email themes:
- Precautions taken with regard to health and safety
- Promotions exclusive to takeout and delivery orders
- Unique recipes or DIY cooking classes
- Sales of merchandise as well as gift certificates
- Transactional emails that are automatically sent out for online ordering