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December 17, 2009

Take a Tip from Restaurants on Email Marketing & Social Media

If you've got a business that requires getting the word out to customers on a daily or weekly basis, using email marketing with social media can lead to a winning combination. One industry that can thrive on this type of combination is the hospitality industry and specifically restaurants. Because of the "up-to-the-minute" nature of these three marketing vehicles, it's perfect for this perpetually changing business. Let's take a look at some great examples.

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You are probably using email marketing to announce chef specials, menu changes, special events and parties and send emails weekly or monthly. Too many restaurants don't keep up with their customers during the year, then start jamming emails out to them in the holiday season for large parties and events. Remember, events happen all year long so you'll need to stay in front of them at all times. Email is also a great way to build your social media lists. To build your Twitter list make sure you tell your email marketing recipients in your emails to follow you on Twitter. Include a link to let them know they'll be able to get your daily specials, then watch your Twitter list grow! You also might want to include a message in your bill holder to sign up for your email list AND follow you on Twitter.

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I bet if you run or work in a restaurant and run daily specials, one of your top telephone requests is "What type of soup do you have today?", or "What are your specials?". This can be maddening especially if you're busy. Twitter to the rescue! This is a perfect application for 140 characters.  One important note: keep your Tweets to 10-20 characters less than the 140 characters allowed on Twitter. This will allow for others to ReTweet your post. Then your message will get in front of new people who might also end up following you.

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If you have daily specials that won't fit into Twitter's character limitations, you can include a link to your specials or post them on your wall on Facebook. You can also use the "events" feature to post special pairings and tasting events. And have the chef post that she just went to the farmer's market and is preparing something special for the evening with a picture of the dish.

You don't need to have a restaurant to put these great ideas to work for your business, especially if you've got things that change a lot on a day-to-day basis. This is a great way to combine all of these great things to get more business coming in your door.

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Comments

Dawn McGee

Very true Sara - people do need short, concise pieces of information that is relevant to them. However, I don't necessarily agree that email marketing is old fashioned. Maybe for companies that have always been on the bleeding edge of technology and marketing, but not so for many of my customers that are just starting to be comfortable with marketing themselves through social media. I've got some examples of how I blend the old and new on my website - www.FreeToBeConsulting.com (forgive the shameless self-promotion :) )

Posted by: Dawn McGee | December 28, 2009 at 12:45 PM

norma

How does social media help with sales and conversions. I have been tweeting and posting on FB for over a year and still yet to get a sale from it. Any suggestions?

Posted by: norma | December 28, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Jay Summers

Everyone is in a hurry to try and leverage social media to meet business needs. But sometimes the simplest approach is also the most effective option. Many people would still instinctivley check the company website for updates, so why not also have a section on the restaurant's website for "today's specials"? Only a minority of patrons are realistically going to follow a restaurant on twitter or check their Facebook page for updates. A company website is still the most practical passive method to provide information for searchers, and email is still highly effective for reaching people with proactive communications. Social media has a ton of potential, but for business purposes the ROI is still highly questionable compared to more established (albeit less sexy) traditional methods. If you’re a small business owner with limited time and resources it makes sense to stick with what works first and foremost, and then pursue more experimental initiatives when/if feasible.

Posted by: Jay Summers | December 28, 2009 at 11:37 AM

steve bell

Great info for any business, however most restaurants do not collect their clients information and THAT is by far the worst mistake.

I suggest all restaurant owners take their business to new levels by utilizing this and making new customers loyal customers!

Posted by: steve bell | December 28, 2009 at 11:04 AM

ISF

Are there any email templates in VR that allow us to integrate social media links on the sidebar or at the bottom?

Posted by: ISF | December 28, 2009 at 09:11 AM

Sara Martin

I would like to agree by saying that no industry can flourish unless it provides customers with their updated services. Indeed social media tools can play a significant role to thrive an industry. People keep looking for news and informative content online. What you need is just aware them about “what’s new you have”. Somehow email marketing is old fashioned now. People don’t have sufficient time to read an email nowadays they like to spend few moments to get acquainted with latest trends through tweets and other social ways.

Posted by: Sara Martin | December 17, 2009 at 08:45 AM

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