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Email ROI Is Off The Charts: Why Aren’t More Restaurants On Board?

Authored by: Justin Freeland (Senior Marketing Operations Specialist)

Email marketing is one of the most successful strategies out there. And with a $45 return on every dollar spent, they’re not wrong. The ROI is through the roof, so why is it rare to find restaurateurs implementing this strategy for their businesses?

Email marketing might have staggering returns, but doing it right isn’t easy. Sending thousands of generic emails into cyberspace doesn’t work and you have better things to do—like running a profitable restaurant in one of the toughest economies in recent history.

Consider this your guide to understanding and utilizing email marketing. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Why email marketing is a no-brainer for restaurants that want to grow
  • Why most restaurants don’t do email marketing right or don’t do it at all
  • Three steps for a successful email marketing strategy

Let’s jump right in.

Why Email Marketing Is A No-Brainer For Restaurants That Want To Grow 

What’s so good about email marketing? There are no airy theories being thrown around here—the efficiency of email marketing is backed by years of studies. The sheer efficiency and ROI have been proven time and time again.

Here are five reasons you need to pay attention to email marketing right now:

  1. Email marketing is an $8.49 billion industry (Statista).
  2. Four billion people use email—a number expected to be 4.5 billion in 2024. Translation? All your customers are using it (Benchmark Email).
  3. Marketers who use segmented emails see a 760% increase in revenue (HubSpot).
  4. More than half—59%—of people said that marketing emails influence their decisions (SaleCycle).
  5. Automated welcome email sequences had a 51.9% conversion rate in 2020 (Statista).

It’s worth repeating that there is a whopping 45 times ROI on email marketing. For a few hundred dollars, you can make thousands. The benefits are clear as day—so why are so few restaurant owners using email marketing?

Why Email Marketing Is A Weak Spot For So Many Restaurants

Email marketing works and is one of the best tools for any QSR looking to grow. But most business owners aren’t doing it, which means they’re leaving money on the table. We turned to our network of restaurant industry contacts to find out why. Here’s what we learned:

  • They’re too busy. Between providing quality dining experiences, running inventory, and dealing with the ongoing hiring crisis, restaurant owners have a lot on their plates. Adding email marketing doesn’t seem like a recipe for success.
  • There are too many options. There are a lot of email management tools out there, and if you’re not a marketing expert, picking the right one for your situation can be a real slog. Between Mailchimp, ConvertKit, FullRail, Campaign Monitor, Drip, and Autopilot—how can you tell which is right for you? And who has time to troubleshoot them all?
  • There’s too much setup. Effective marketing isn’t as easy as writing an email and clicking send. There is a fair amount of technical setup involved, and it’s easy to make mistakes. For email campaigns to be effective, you need to sync customer data with your automations. If those words just made your head spin, you’re going to have a hard time.

Next up: How to implement a successful email marketing campaign at your restaurant

3 Steps For An Effective Email Marketing Campaign // Here’s The Recipe For A Effective Email Marketing Campaign // The Email Marketing Cookbook

Source: Canva

Setting up segmented email automations is a lot of work, but they can make a real difference for your bottom line. Good marketing can be the difference between a restaurant that turns a profit this quarter and one that’s just scraping by. 

Here’s our three-step system for setting up email marketing for your business.

1. Opt In And Collect Data

The first thing you need to do is get your customers’ consent to receive marketing messages. The most common way to do this is by having them tick a box on your website. You could also install a QR code in-store or on your social media accounts.

Once they opt in, you can collect their customer data. Keep in mind that email marketing is only effective to the degree that it is segmented—your vegan customers aren’t going to be converted by coupons for chicken wings. As you sort your customers into segments, think about demographics, ordering patterns, dietary preferences, and so on.

The bad news: If you’re still using UberEats and other third-party apps, you’re locked out from accessing this crucial data, and your emails will be ineffective. If this is the case, your first step should be shifting to first-party ordering systems—check out our guide on how to do just that.

Read more: How To Set Up Food Delivery Without Paying 30% Commission On Every Order

2. Craft Personalized Offers For Your Customers

A one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing will get you nowhere fast. You need to personalize emails to appeal to your diners. There are two main ways to approach this:

  1. Time-based triggers: Welcome sequences are a sequence of emails that go out to customers who’ve just opted in and explain who you are and what you do. They’re highly effective, with an open rate of 91%. Also consider offering personalized discounts on your customers’ birthdays or special holidays—emails with discounts have a 72% open rate.
  2. Behavior-based triggers: These types of emails are sometimes called habit builders and could take shape as messages to customers 48 hours after an order reminding them to visit again. Or if they’ve gone dark and haven’t ordered for a while, you can try to reactivate their interest with a re-engagement campaign, sending a reminder after 30 or 60 days with a special offer just for them.

“Email marketing has got to be conversational. Something people look forward to, not something they purge out of their email come January.” — CMO, Pizaro’s Pizza

3. Set Up Your Email Tool

The next step is setting all of this up on your email platform of choice and creating automated email sequences that combine with customer data for effective marketing returns.

You can use dedicated email tools (Mailchimp, ConvertKit, etc.) that integrate into your POS. The downside of relying on them is that they’re designed for ecommerce companies, not restaurants. You could also hire an outside agency to do all of this work for you—but that comes with a tear-inducing price tag. 

If you don’t have time to do all of this yourself and want a solution that doesn’t require a small loan, there is another option—HungerRush 360 Marketing.

HungerRush 360 Is The Fastest Way To Get Started With Email Marketing

We get it—email marketing sounds like a lot of work and you’re not wrong. But the good news is it can all be automated. You can have segmented, targeted emails going out to all of your customers without having to lift a finger.

HungerRush 360 Marketing is a done-for-you marketing service that turns your customer data into gold. Our software was designed by a team of restaurant industry veterans who know what it’s like to be in your shoes—and transformed their practical restaurant know-how into a stellar piece of marketing software.

HungerRush 360 crafts customer welcome sequences, habit builders, re-engagement campaigns, and more, using your customer data for optimal efficiency. The emails all go out automatically, which means you don’t have to add to your already busy workload.

Ready to get your email marketing up and running and start seeing those ROIs? Contact our team today.

I want better email marketing right now.

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