Secrets to Email Marketing in the Restaurant Space

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By Robyn Brewer

YOU HAVE A RESTAURANT AND YOU HAVE A BRAND. YOU’RE TRYING TO BUILD THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOUR CUSTOMERS AND YOUR BRAND — HOW DO YOU DO THAT? We all love digital, right? This is our way in! To leave a lasting impression in the digital world is a language that we fully understand while working at an agency with a focus in the restaurant industry. When a customer finishes their stellar dining experience, their digital experience should reflect that of what they had in the restaurant. Restaurants love loyalty programs because they are able to regularly speak to their customers. Creating and growing a loyalty program on its own is another monster, which we can get into another day. For now, let’s focus on how to be seen and remembered in a subscriber’s full and
loud inbox.

There is one dreaded word in the email marketing world that we, as an agency, avoid at all costs. That word is: Template. Not only are these robot-like layouts completely overlooked in a flooded inbox, but they can often give off a vibe of being ‘too corporate’; which in today’s hipster-influenced, authenticity-starved society is a no-no. Don’t sacrifice your brand for a template, it’s not worth it.

So how do you stand out in the aforementioned flooded inbox? Creativity. “Be not afraid of creativity. Some men are born creative, some achieve creativity and some have creativity thrust upon them.” Or was that greatness? Either way, when we’re dealing with email marketing, creativity is our greatness. The best creative teams are often directed to “just run with it” and present fun and unique ideas — of course, following within a brand’s style guidelines. Let your creative team thrive and give them room to innovate. Without doing this, you’ll end up as another example of an email that gets forgotten.

Many brands in the industry are currently hitting home runs when it comes to creative and strategic email deployments. Polly’s Pies, with their 16 locations throughout Southern California, regularly sends their Polly’s Perks members monthly bargains. Instead of taking a templated route, the Polly’s Pies emails will often throw in an element of surprise —
like animation. Who wouldn’t want to see a turkey drinking a latte on their Thanksgiving promotions email? There is also a great opportunity when dealing with multi-concept companies, as there are many strategic approaches that can be made. An example would be SoCal’s newer concepts, True Food Kitchen and North Italia, both of which are under the same parent company, Fox Restaurant Concepts. When these two restaurants each opened locations in El Segundo, they helped spread the word by sending emails to both their databases, telling each about the opening of their sister restaurant. Double the
exposure, double the fun. Why was this more compelling in a customer’s inbox? Spreading news of a different restaurant is unexpected and a pleasant surprise to the customer when trying to find new places to dine. The capabilities are limitless when it comes to creativity in the email space. At Dreambox, if we don’t know how to do something, we figure it out.

When it’s all said and done, the same blood, sweat and love that went into starting a brand should be applied to nurturing it and continuing to build relationships with customers. A customer should be just as excited to open an email from your restaurant as they would when they see their server carrying their plates to the table. Now get out there and let your creative minds run free!

Robyn Brewer and Dreambox Creations
Dreambox Creations is a digitally-inspired, full service advertising agency based in Los
Angeles, California. With over 18 years’ experience working with more multi-unit restaurant brands than any agency. Robyn is part of their dynamic digital team; she manages multiple client relationships and helps with daily social media needs that help clients reach their digital goals.

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