First Steps to Using Segmentation for Successful Restaurant Email Marketing

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If you’re not convinced that your restaurant should be utilizing email marketing, you need to go back and read this article. When talking with my clients in the food industry, many restaurant owners are eager to reap the benefits of email marketing but are lost on how to implement it properly.

Sending the same email for everyone in your contact list is certainly one way to market your customers, but a lot of our clients just aren’t seeing the rate of conversion they were hoping for.

This is why we are such a big proponent of personalization/segmentation.

Just as you wouldn’t offer kids menus to a group of college guys, you want your email marketing to be specific to the reader and their interests.

Segmentation is the process of breaking down your email contacts into meaningful and useful segments. By dividing email subscribers into smaller segments – based on certain criteria – you are delivering more relevant emails.

So, let’s talk specifically about how to target your diners by focusing on the type of information you need to gather. If your restaurant serves more than one type of customer (and we assure you that it does), it’s important to speak to your customers differently by offering content that is of interest to them.

First, you need to take a look at how you’re acquiring emails: loyalty sign-ups, feedback forms, etc? Whatever method you are using, this is the opportunity to ask specific questions to segment your diners.

Here are the first steps to using segmentation for successful restaurant email marketing:

Let’s look at some attributes most restaurant owners should be collecting about their customers and how that can turn into more profits.

1. Birthday/Anniversary

Ok, this one is kind of obvious. Everyone has one and are usually willing to share it, especially if they think they will get something out of it. Most restaurants are well versed in the practice of offering a complimentary birthday treat, so why not send an email on their birthday or anniversary reminding them? This is one email they’re certain to open if they know there’s something in it just for them.

2. Kids/Family

Those with families are probably more inclined to dine out if the incentive is geared to saving time and/or money. Have a kids eat free night? A new awesome kids menu? It’s not necessary to know their names and ages, but a “kids under 12?” checkbox might be all you need.

3. Preferred Location

Where do your diners live? Which location do you diners like to visit? Each location probably attracts different clientele, so you can use this information to reach your majority or maybe those who may not be your primary demographic. This also allows you to get the word out at promotions that are just at specific locations.

4. Interests/Preferences

Think about the diversity of your menu. Do you have vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options? Find out if your diners are bar patrons or have an interest in your catering abilities. Special events and live entertainment also appeal to a specific audience.

5. Previous Purchases

If your website has a store where patrons can purchase or order food online, use those clicks to track sales. Ask your website developer how you can track that data and utilize it to retarget your customers. If they’ve ordered your world-famous nachos they may want to order them again. If all of your subs come with a free bowl of soup, your sandwich eaters are going to want to know.

You don’t want to ask for so much information that your customer is overwhelmed or turned off by your invasion of privacy, but a few specific and strategic questions will help you better serve your patrons.

Once you’ve gathered your data, you can then divide your contacts into segments. These segments are then used to target your marketing efforts.

Research shows that email marketing’s return on investment (ROI) averages around 3800%! But you have to know how to capture those sales. By using segmentation you can achieve more restaurant sales as your content will reach those who are most interested in it. Personalizing your email content to your patrons and a consistent email marketing plan will provide value to your customers and result in increased sales.