In the food & beverage (F&B) business, interaction with your customers does not end after you’ve served them their favourite cup of cafe latte or plate of spaghetti Bolognese. In fact, that is only just the beginning.
A true and effective marketing has to be able to encourage customers to try out your food offerings and then have them come back for more. As the old saying goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”
Once your customers leave the table and head out to the door, there’s only one way you can reconnect with them and remind them to come back for more – through disciplined and consistent email marketing.
Here, we look at the key benefits of email marketing that make it still the best thing to happen to your F&B business since sliced bread.
Email marketing is a piece of cake
Running an email marketing campaign doesn’t require much effort. All you need is a compelling message targeted towards your customers, an attractive offer that they can’t resist, coupled with an Instagram-worthy promotional image to go along.
This works best when you already have an existing mailing list of your customers. In this way, it’ll be easier for you to achieve results as you are targeting an audience that is already aware of your F&B business and probably have experienced your food before.
The power of email marketing should never be underestimated. It may be considered as an old-school approach; however, there’s a reason why most businesses still encourage mailing list signup on their websites.
This is because it is simply the most cost-effective way to keep in touch with your customers regularly and let them know of your new menu items, special promotions and other interesting updates about your business that will entice them to return over and over again.
Email marketing gives you more insights.
As a result of your email marketing efforts, you will end up with valuable data – such as hard facts on how many emails have been sent (and delivered), how many of those emails have been opened and viewed, and how many responses were generated, typically in the form of click-throughs to your F&B website for purchase or reservation, increasing sales.
These statistics also help you tweak and fine-tune your campaign mechanics, such as having a more eye-catching subject line, or placing the call-to-action in a more prominent position.
Email marketing is cost-effective.
Launching an email marketing campaign is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your brand and it can start without costing you any money, just a bit of time and effort on your part.
Compared to the amount of money that you are expected to spend on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to achieve similar results, the cost of running an email marketing exercise is practically negligible.
Given the proliferation of mobile device usage in everyday life, most consumers would have ready access to their emails right from their smartphones, which means they definitely can receive your emails, if you bother to create and send them. It is no surprise that given the digitally-driven behaviour of the modern consumer, the open rate for a retailer’s email marketing has grown from 28% to 42% and showing no signs of stopping. Don’t chase after the social media glitter and lose a diamond in good, old email marketing that is giving you the most bang for your bucks.
Email marketing provides higher open rates than social media
Posts on social media are fleeting, with an endless stream of content that greets your audience’s newsfeeds every second of the day. The very moment your post goes up, it gets immediately buried under a scrolling avalanche of messages from other brands vying for the same short attention of your target audience.
Because of the way Facebook adjusts its algorithms, organic posts no longer have the same reach as they used to. This means that all your previous efforts to grow more “likes” to your Facebook page are probably going to be wasted and no longer of impact. This also means, to get the same mileage that you had previously with your followers and the general Facebook base, you’ve got to fork out money to advertise.
These problems do not exist with email marketing. And on that simple fact, you can be sure that your content will definitely be seen by your target audience. Also, social media content is transient, while email content – especially if it is interesting – tends to be kept in the inbox for a much longer while.
Hey, if Starbucks religiously sends emails to its customers, there’s no reason that you don’t.
Email marketing is a more efficient conversion funnel
Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel where they left a trail of breadcrumbs so they will be able to find the way back home? In a similar fashion, you can strategically implant calls-to-action (CTAs) in your email campaigns that lead the recipients towards your intended destination, be it your website, e-commerce storefront, or dedicated landing page. Depending on how you build the customer experience journey, you can effectively take your audience through a series of web links that accumulatively build a memorable brand message and eventually lead to more sales and stronger customer loyalty.
In comparison, the problem with social media is that there isn’t much freedom when it comes to tweaking the features of the respective platforms to suit your exact strategic and tactical objectives. You are largely governed and restricted by the sandbox that Facebook or Instagram allows you to play in. With email marketing, you have complete control over precisely how you want to put your content and visuals out to your audience.
So, how to get started with email marketing?
To achieve success in email marketing, the most critical ingredient is to have a highly targeted and high yielding list of contacts that you can send emails to. 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.