It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Every week you send out a beautifully-crafted email newsletter to your subscriber list, but you know, deep down, that the list itself hasn’t grown at all over the last few months. In fact, the same thirty diners are the only people within it and the open rate has never breached 5%.
Email marketing should absolutely be part of your restaurant’s marketing strategy, but it isn’t a walk in the park; subscribers won’t sign up in their droves without any encouragement. You need to work at it.
In this article, we’ve put together some simple tips and strategies restaurateurs can turn to in order to increase the number of newsletter subscribers they have on board. None of them will cost you a penny and you can start working on them right away, so – let’s get stuck in…
1. Add a sign-up form to your website (but don’t be lazy)
When you built your restaurant’s website, you will almost certainly have included some form of newsletter sign-up form. Unfortunately, you may only have placed it in the footer or within the sidebar and, you know what? As useful as it may appear there, you need to get a little more creative if you’re to attract subscribers.
Take a look at our website, for example. We too have a sign-up form in the footer, but we also have one at the bottom of this post and a little pop-up that appears unobtrusively as you scroll down any page of the website.
If someone likes our blog post, we suggest they sign-up to be the among the first to be notified of future posts. You can do the same on your restaurant website; don’t be afraid to make your sign-up form prominent and experiment with placement.
2. Offer an incentive
A sign-up form may not be enough to get people to sign up. If you still find new subscribers hard to come by, try offering an incentive that doesn’t hit you hard but which represents significant value to potential diners.
A 5% discount on their first meal if they part with their email address is a good example, but something slightly more disparate, such as a free ten step guide to making the most of the city in which your restaurant if located could really draw in an audience.
3. Get social
Both Facebook and Twitter offer fabulous ways to promote content, but it pays to use the free methods on offer, first.
Write a brief blog post that highlights the benefits of signing up to your mailing list (‘be the first to hear about new menus and special offers’ – that kind of thing) and share it judiciously on social media with relevant hashtags (i.e. your geographical area, restaurant theme or food speciality).
Providing you’ve placed that all-important sign-up form at the bottom of the blog post, you should start to see an increase in subscribers.
4. Add a sign-up form to your online booking process
If you’ve implemented an online restaurant booking system, the vendor should allow you to insert your sign-up form into the booking process.
If that’s possible, make sure you label it clearly on the last page of the process and note what benefit they’ll get from signing up. Again, this could be increased visibility of offers or the ability to reserve their favourite table in the future. Get creative!
Those subscribers are out there, but they won’t come to you – you need to provide a real benefit in exchange for their email address. Hopefully, the above tips will have given you some inspiration, but if we’ve missed something and you’ve got a tried-and-tested technique you don’t mind sharing, let us know in the comments section, below.