Email Marketing Pro Tips

Email marketing – reaching out to guests via their email address – is another tool in every restaurant’s marketing toolkit. Less expensive than traditional media, email marketing can foster a deeper relationship with guests, encourage repeat business, and communicate with an audience that is already engaged with your business. Email marketing can have a significant impact on sales. Here’s what you need to know.

Collect Guest Information to Get Started

Email marketing is one of the few marketing channels where the guest opts-in to receive communication from your business. If the guest demonstrates interest in your restaurant, they are likely to engage with a promotion or other information sent directly to them. Email marketing begins with an email address. This can be captured via a widget placed on your website, from an online contact form, or through an in-house WiFi program.

Have a Reason to Email

Once you have collected guest email addresses, figure out your email marketing strategy and budget before launching a campaign to ensure your marketing goals are in line with your business. Is there a special event or seasonal promotion in the works? Or do you just want to thank guests for supporting your business? Then target your email to the subscribers who benefit most from what you are offering.

To the Point Subject Lines are Effective

Though there seems to be no tried and true formula for crafting subject lines that work 100% of the time, there are a few rules of thumb that will encourage your email recipients to open and read your email. Short subject lines (think 60 characters or about 6 to 10 words)[1] that clearly state your offering are most likely to get opened. Personalization, even just making sure the email is addressed to the proper person, is key. Be specific about what you are offering. Thinking up taglines and cute phrases for your email is fun but if the reader does not know what you are communicating, the effect of creative language is lost.

3 Key Components of your Email

Once you have figured out why you are emailing, consider the format of the email. A catchy subject line is step one. Then add a picture. In our visually-oriented society, a picture explains your offering. Use words to explain how your offering will help the reader but keep in mind that 53% of us open email on those strange phone-type devices[2] we clutch like nuns gripping their rosaries. Usually around 250 words (or less) will do it. Our mobile-circuited brains (and readers with middle-aged eyes) thank you.

Wrap it Up with a Call to Action

Think again about why you are sending the email. Ultimately, what is it you want the reader to do once they have read the email? This is your call to action. If you want someone to RSVP to an event, include an email or payment link for them to do so. Want them to use the included coupon? Tell them when and how to use it. Or if you want to encourage readers to engage with your social media channels, include clickable links to direct them to your channels. Mission accomplished.


[1] Jessica Stillman, “The Perfect Length for an Email Subject Line,” n.d., (accessed May 2018)

[2]Kim Courvoisier, “70 Email Stats Every Marketer Should Know,” January 6, 2016, (accessed May 2018)