Spilling The Beans: Why Your Email Marketing Sucks

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Have you ever noticed an item on your menu that seems to be selling less than all the others and you have no idea why?It could be an appetiser or entree that you worked your guts out to perfect, but no matter what you do, it just won’t sell. So where did you go wrong?

As with email marketing, you could be thinking that you have ticked off the requisite items on your checklist, but the conversions are just ain’t happening and you are left scratching your head, wondering what on earth did you miss.

Before you give up and assume that email marketing doesn’t work for your food and beverage business, let us spill the beans on why your email marketing sucks.

You are being inconsistent

In any form of marketing, consistency is key. It is no exception for email marketing. Jake Sorofman, the vice president of Gartner, stated that “consistency will always trump delight”, emphasising how delivering a steadfast brand position and corresponding coherent message in all the emails that you are sending to your customers.

If your brand is deeply associated with, for example, traditional Asian bakery, don’t expect an email shouting about a Christmas log cake promotion is going to get you any traction.

Consistency also comes in the form of disciplined, regular sending of emails, even when you don’t feel like it, or have nothing to say. Put in the effort to share (more) about your brand and the food that you sell. It can be about why you started the business or the different approach you take to cooking; there will always be something interesting about your F&B business that will captivate your customers. Pretty soon, your efforts will pay off and your customers will look forward to receiving your next email and act upon it.

Be careful though, not to get overzealous with your email sending and bombard your customers with tons of emails every week to the point that they feel annoyed and unsubscribe from your mailing list. Also, you don’t want to be too infrequent that you become forgettable and eventually an alien brand to your audience. You have to find the right balance in terms of frequency so that your customers feel good about receiving your email whenever you send to them.

The subject line isn’t interesting enough

Nobody is ever going to know that you just created the world’s tastiest cheesecake if everyone takes one glance at your email’s subject line and goes “meh”, then skips to the next email, or worse, click “delete” on yours.

In email marketing, first impressions absolutely count and the zero moment of truth happens right at the moment when your target audience reads your email subject line.

Here are some tips for writing effective subject lines:

  • Be descriptive, not vague – Your email open rate isn’t going to improve with something as vague as “New item on our menu”. Instead, something like “25% Off The New Pizza That’s Dropping On Our Menu This Weekend!”will immediately make your customers sit up and take notice, becoming curious enough to click on the email to read in details.
  • Don’t use bombastic words – Keep your subject line clean and easy to understand with simple language, so that your audience gets the intent right away, without needing to second guess. Also, using superfluous words will make your message come across as fluffy, which can be detrimental to your brand image. The modern consumer values authenticity above all else. Ignore this at your own peril.
  • Mind your characters – While we encourage that your subject line has to be descriptive, don’t get too long-winded or your audience may not be bothered with reading the whole thing and you end up losing the plot. According to data from Return Path, 65 characters seems to be a sweet spot for email subject lines, which is about 15 characters more than the average subject line. When subject lines are 61-70 characters long, they tend to get read.

You sell too much

Of course, the goal of your email marketing activities at the end of the day is to create more sales and generate more revenue for your business. However, nobody likes to be sold to.

So if you are only emailing your customer nothing but promotions after promotions, it’s like shoving bowls after bowls of ramen down the throat; no matter how good it tastes, you will surely puke and want nothing more to do with it, for a good long time.

Your customers are most likely to open the next email from you if it isn’t all direct sale pitches for your food, drinks or services. Try injecting a story into your email or some educational information related to your F&B business to keep things varied and interesting for your audience.

See to it that it is less about you and more about your audience through interesting stories such as:

  • How you can serve them better with new digital technology implemented in your outlet(s)
  • If you serve pie in your bakery or cafe, you can talk about how you are serving them a slice of history with every piece that you serve.
  • How your coffee is freshly grown by the locals and how it is helping their livelihood
  • How your wide selection of wine is specifically curated for them

Your emails are not mobile-friendly

Sure, you hired the best email copywriter there is to develop the perfect copy and engaged a professional designer to create an awesome graphic to go with it. Confidently, you pressed “send” and fly the email out to your entire mailing list, thinking that: “I can’t lose with such a winning piece of email!” until you realised moments later that your email hasn’t been formatted to be mobile-friendly.

But what’s the big deal, right? Your recipients are mainly professionals and working adults who likely check their emails on their laptops or work terminals anyway – you reasoned to your self – so everything is hunky-dory.



Statistics show 3 in 5 consumers check their emails on the go (mobile) and 75% of them use their smartphones most often to check email. The simple truth is: if your emails are not mobile-friendly, they are not going to be read.

Your mailing list is rotten

Let’s say you have aced all the factors listed above and have already perfected the formula of how you can do it best, but you are still getting crap for results. So what else is messing with you?

Well, it could be that you have a bad mailing list to start with.

Having your perfectly crafted emails sent to a rotten mailing list is like sending a hot pizza to an empty apartment: nobody is going to be there to receive and appreciate it. One of the most important – if not the most important – factors of an effective email marketing campaign, is building up and curating a mailing list with the right target audience.

This usually starts with collecting the emails of your existing customers as they are already familiar with your brand and 3 times more likely to open your emails and act on them, rather than someone who has no idea who you are.

A magical way to build up a list of customer emails fast.

If you worry that collecting customers’ emails means having to remind your staff every day to ask each customer who walks into your outlet to fill out some form, and then manually update into an excel spreadsheet, fret not: there’s a solution that helps you collect at least 200 emails every month automatically without you or your staff breaking a sweat.

Take advantage of Gimify – a plug-and-play captive portal solution that transforms your existing wifi into a powerful data collection and marketing machine, automagically capturing your customers’ emails when they access your free wifi via smartphones, tablets or laptops.

Gimify’s unique authentication process ensures that only verified emails are collected, ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of your customer database.

The collected data is automatically integrated with the MailChimp email marketing system to form a single seamless marketing workflow that increases your productivity and revenue potential.

To find out more about Gimify, visit: http://getstarted.gimify.com/

Now that you have a better idea of what could have caused your email marketing efforts to falter, get cracking on fixing the issues identified and you’ll soon be on your way to running email marketing campaigns that no longer suck.




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