Email outreach is an effective marketing strategy for restaurants to increase engagement and conversions. However, there’s a thin line between a restaurant outreach email that converts and one that people will completely ignore. Below, we teach you how to navigate that line and write only emails that will convert.
10 Restaurant Outreach Tips for Increased Conversions
1. Come up with straightforward subject lines
The first part customers see of an outreach email is the subject line. That is your chance to woo them, so use it wisely. The subject line should be short so that it remains visible in its entirety. Consider the fact that a large segment of users will see the email on their phone, where just about 30 characters are visible.
The subject line should encapsulate the essence of the email in a way that makes the user curious enough to open it and read more. However, make sure you don’t sacrifice clarity for the sake of wittiness. The content of your email should deliver on the promise made by the subject line.
Here are some examples of straightforward subject lines you could use:
- Check Out Our New Restaurant Menu!
- You Can Now Order Food From Us Online
- 20% Off Our Entire Dessert Menu
2. Personalize your emails
A generic email won’t get you very far in restaurant marketing. It also doesn’t make sense to send the same email to everyone regardless of their purchasing behavior. Sending a singles offer to someone who has always visited your restaurant with their family sounds counterproductive, right?
So, after you’ve selected a segment of people to send your email to, personalize each email with the recipient’s first name. However, personalization shouldn’t stop there. The language of the entire email should be crafted carefully depending on the target audience. You wouldn’t address a millennial the same way you would a baby boomer when trying to get them to buy something.
3. Keep it short and sweet
Like in most cases online, people don’t have the attention span needed to read a long email, especially coming from a business. Even if your emails contain irresistible restaurant promotions, if they have to read through five long paragraphs to get to the good stuff, you might as well not include them at all.
Keep the sentences short and to the point, and don’t wait too long before you get to the main topic of the email. If the topic requires extra clarifications, you can always link to an external page where customers can read more.
4. Be human and approachable
While remaining professional, use a conversational tone and try to connect with customers. You can use humor, puns, emojis, or whatever else is suitable for your brand. You don’t want to come off as a bot or a cold corporation that sends typical marketing emails to an entire list of contacts without customization.
5. Check the following boxes
All restaurant outreach emails you send should check these boxes:
- Be customized for the recipient and address it directly.
- Focus on one single request/announcement.
- Include a way for the customer to reach you.
6. Engage customers directly
A type of outreach email you could send is one that engages customers somehow. For example, you can include a little game or a quick quiz they can fill out that is fun for them and useful for you. Restaurant gamification can save an otherwise tedious email.
If you want to learn more about your customers, you can ask in ways that are engaging like a quiz in which they have to choose their culinary preferences. If you feel like your email needs an extra boost to be persuasive, offer a freebie, such as a free drink, to people who take the time to engage with it.
7. Use active voice
A useful trick anytime you write a text designed to sell is to use the active instead of the passive voice. That means the subject should be the one performing the action. Take a look at these two sentences:
- You will love our summer discounts!
- Our summer discounts will make you happy!
The first is clearly more engaging and confident. It sends the message that you know for sure they will love your discounts. When using the active voice, you typically use less words too, so the message will be easier to read and understand.
8. Make it visual and dynamic
Images add flavor to any email. Make it text-only and you will probably bore the audience and fail to capture their attention. The good news is the restaurant industry is the perfect candidate for visual-based emails. Food photography is one of the most popular types out there. Who doesn’t love photos of food?
You can go one step further and include a dynamic element like a gif or an animation that will draw people’s attention.
9. Include a real, hand-written signature
A great way to put a personal touch on a restaurant outreach email is to add a hand-written signature of the owner or the chef. This gives it the feel of a letter and it will help customers see your restaurant as more than a brand. Associating a name and a signature with a business will build trust and recognition.
10. End with a visible call to action
Finally, last but not least, every email you send in restaurant marketing should end with a strong call to action. Ideally, in the shape of a button so that it’s easier to spot and click. The call to action should redirect the customers to where they can take action. Most of the time, that place will be your website.
Here are some calls to action that usually work for restaurants:
- Place an order
- Book a table
- Claim your reward
- Get a free [menu item]
- Reserve your spot
When to Send an Outreach Email to Convert Even More
We all know there are key times when you should send emails designed for conversion, such as when you have a new promotion. However, there are other times you should consider that are less obvious but can be just as effective, like when:
- You’ve added a new feature like online ordering;
- You’ve revamped the design of your restaurant website;
- Customers can now select curbside pickup as a delivery method;
- You’ve updated your health and safety measures;
- You’ve switched to a new seasonal restaurant menu or added a new menu item;
- It’s your anniversary and you want to personally invite them to celebrate with you;
- Around holidays if you’re open to let people know they can visit you when most other restaurants are closed.
If your goal when sending emails to your restaurant customers is to convert (and it should), you need to pay attention to how you craft the email from the subject line down to the call to action. Use the tips above as a checklist whenever you write a restaurant outreach email to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.