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Your Go-To Guide to Email Marketing for Restaurants

June 7, 2023
Versa Creative
Email marketing campaigns are one of the most effective forms of digital marketing around, as they offer a unique opportunity to capture your audience without distractions in addition to being one of the most versatile forms of advertising, from emails providing limited-time offers to opportunities for customers to connect with businesses. 

It only makes sense that a restaurant business would consider an email marketing campaign to connect with loyal customers, draw in first-time visitors, and generate leads from those checking out their website. But how does one create a successful email marketing campaign? In this blog, we’ll take you through each step of the process in our comprehensive guide to email marketing for restaurants so that you can accomplish all of these marketing goals and more. 

Collecting Customers’ Emails

Before spending any time creating emails or developing a plan, you need to know who you’ll be sending emails to—and have a way of getting in touch with them. There are many ways to do this, depending on your goals. By collecting emails in a variety of ways, you enable your brand to experiment with multiple forms of email marketing. For example, you should have a different avenue to sign up for email communications for new and existing customers, so that you can market to these customers uniquely. 

Here are some of the most effective ways to collect customer emails. Keep in mind that only some of these methods allow you to differentiate your customer base and that these are just a few of the myriad ways you can encourage subscribers to sign up for marketing emails

Form on the phone

Wi-Fi Passcode

This method is especially effective in cafés and casual restaurants with customers who tend to work on their laptops while dining. In exchange for access to the Wi-Fi password (or access to free Wi-Fi through an email portal), customers enter a valid email address and may opt-in to email marketing from your restaurant. 

A quick tip for this method is to ensure that customers must check their email to access the Wi-Fi, so you don’t have invalid email addresses spamming your contact list. This method also ensures that all customers who sign up are existing customers, but it cannot distinguish between first-time and returning customers. 

Loyalty Program

At checkout, offer your customers the ability to sign up for a points-based rewards system that connects to their email. Typically, this means that customers earn one point for every dollar spent, and they can earn a free appetizer or drink after a certain amount of points. Each time a customer comes into the restaurant, they can redeem points by signing in with their email during checkout.

Because this method uses rewards as an incentive, the majority of users who sign up for email marketing using this method are likely to be loyal customers. This means that you can customize email marketing for this list—but we’ll get into that later. 

Surveys and Questionnaires

This method knocks out two birds with one stone! By providing a link to a service survey on receipts, you can receive valuable feedback on your restaurant’s processes and food as well as new contacts on your email marketing list. To incentivize customers to take the time to fill out a survey and submit their email addresses, it’s important to highlight the ease and speed of the questionnaire, as well as provide the opportunity to win a special offer or deal. 


Email notification

Developing an Email Marketing Plan

Once you have contact information, it’s time to figure out what to do with it. The most important things to consider when developing a marketing plan for email are your goals, your audience, and how you measure success. 

Developing Goals

Your goals are entirely dependent on your business. Whether you simply want to make sure your customers aren’t missing out on upcoming events, deals, and specials or you have a more specific goal in mind, such as a higher amount of delivery orders or increasing the number of returning customers, the content and form of your emails will need to reflect that. Keep in mind that you can have more than one email marketing campaign, meaning that if you have multiple goals, you don’t need to try and achieve all of them at once or with one email template. 

Having a specific goal in mind from the get-go will help you later on, as well, because you’ll be able to measure the success of your email campaign based on whether it met the mark for your goals.

Finding an Audience

Depending on your audience, your emails will likely look different, both in terms of content and delivery. If you’re targeting a younger crowd, you may want to focus heavily on eye-catching graphics and punchy copy, while an older audience or an audience of loyal customers may be more interested in updates and offerings. 


Promotion email

Measuring Success

We’ll get into the specific ways you can measure the success of your email campaign’s performance momentarily, but as it relates to your goals, it’s important to determine what success looks like for an email marketing campaign. This is where certain methods of email collection are particularly helpful. For example, if your goal is to encourage loyalty program customers to eat at your restaurant more often on the weekdays by emailing them special weekday deals, you can measure success based on how many loyalty program customers checked in to redeem or collect points during the weekday. 

Curating Email Design & Content

Where planning and implementation are all business, the design and content of your emails are where you can let your brand come through creatively.

When designing your emails, make sure that your brand colors and illustrations match the rest of your restaurant’s branding. It should be clear when customers open your emails that the emails are from your business, even if your company name isn’t on the email. Additionally, whether you use a template or design the email yourself, try to limit the amount of content and design in your emails to make sure you don’t overwhelm viewers. Get only the most important information out in your emails, and if you have additional content to share, link your social media platforms and website in the email.

The most important things to consider in writing your email content, other than sticking to branding, are the subject line, preview text, and calls to action (CTAs). These are the elements of your email that will convince readers to open it up rather than send it to the trash, as well as convince readers to visit your site and make a purchase or visit your restaurant. Make sure that these elements of your email are concise and get your message across while staying engaging. 

Analyzing Email Campaign Performance

While there are ways to analyze email performance based specifically on your campaign goals, as we outlined above, there are also ways to analyze how well the emails themselves are doing with your target audience. By using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), you can analyze whether you need to change up some elements of your campaign to better reach your goals. Some common KPIs for email campaigns are

  • Open Rate: the percentage of people who open your email
  • Click-Through Rate: the percentage of people who click a link in your email
  • Bounce Rate: the percentage of emails sent that fail to deliver to the recipient’s inbox
  • Unsubscribe Rate: the percentage of email recipients who opt out of receiving more emails
  • Conversion Rate: the percentage of people who clicked on the CTA and performed the action

All of these KPIs are great for seeing how effective your subject lines, CTAs, and offerings are, as well as how well your email collection strategies are working. By keeping track of these metrics, you can adjust specific aspects of your email campaign until you’re satisfied with its performance.


Typing an email


Types of Emails

Depending on your end goals and which customers you’re targeting, there are many different types of marketing emails you can utilize in your email marketing campaign. Here are a few email marketing ideas to use in your next campaign. 

  • Welcome Emails
  • Email Newsletters
  • Dedicated Emails
  • Lead Nurturing Emails
  • Co-Marketing Emails
  • Transactional Emails

Email Marketing for Restaurants with Versa Creative

From collecting customer email information to developing your brand, making a plan, and creating compelling email content for a variety of marketing goals, you’ll want a competent and prepared marketing agency that’s familiar with email marketing for restaurants to make sure everything goes smoothly. More than that, you want an agency with the passion to do more than market your services—you want a company that’s ready and able to build your brand into a powerhouse. 

Versa Creative is that marketing agency. With knockout teams of graphic designers, copywriters, strategists, digital marketing specialists, and more, Versa is ready to exceed your email marketing expectations. Contact us today to see how we can take your brand to the next level. 

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