9 Ways to Grow Your Restaurant's Email List
February 22, 2023
The first step to good email marketing is a great email list. Read these tips for easy ways to grow your audience.
A strategically built, healthy email list is a secret weapon for restaurants. Email is a great way to build diner relationships and stay connected with frequent customers. Plus, email marketing is more likely to drive revenue than social media — good to know when thinking about where to promote your online ordering, gift cards, and event tickets.
Email marketing becomes even more effective with a bigger email list. Afterall, access to more people increases your likelihood of generating more sales. Growing your email list takes time, but there are tactics you can implement to expedite how fast your list is increasing. Follow these nine tips for proven ways to build your restaurant’s email list.
Email Marketing for Restaurants
Want to build guest relationships with marketing automation? Trigger emails based on diner behavior to drive repeat revenue.
How To Build Your Restaurant’s Email List
1. Place a sign-up button on your restaurant’s website
Your website visitors should be the first audience that you want to convert into email subscribers. Using your website analytics, you can see how many people come to your website. That information can tell you the amount of new emails you can potentially receive from your website traffic. To capture email addresses from your website visitors, you’ll need a way for them to opt in or sign-up for your email list. Placing a button on your homepage — like Rad Radish does below in the lower right corner — is one option. You can also enable a pop-up message on your website, set up a banner to run across the top of the page, or directly embed a signup form.
2. Capture email addresses with reservations
Diners who book a reservation with your restaurant supply their email address so that you can confirm their booking and send reminders. After their reservation has come and gone, you can still continue the conversation. Allow customers who are making reservations to opt into email communications from you and add them to your email list. You can tap into this audience with emails encouraging them to book a reservation for special occasions like Valentine’s Day, upcoming birthdays, and anniversary dinners.
3. Prompt diners to opt in through online orders
Just like through the reservations process, email addresses are captured through the online ordering process. This is required to provide a confirmation email and updates on order status. However, online ordering customers may want to hear about upcoming promotions and stay connected with your restaurant. Store email addresses from online ordering in your guest database to make sure they don’t miss out.
4. Add restaurant merchandise customers to your list
Do you sell branded sweatshirts? Coffee mugs? Tote bags? Bottled sauces?
No matter what’s in your online store, you can tap into customers who purchase restaurant merchandise from you as a way to grow your email list. Enabling promo codes as a thank you for purchasing and sharing via email can create repeat buyers and encourage more sales.
5. Offer a loyalty program
You can implement a loyalty program to capture email addresses automatically through online orders, catering requests, merchandise purchases, gift card sales, and event ticketing. While you can source email addresses through these channels without a loyalty program, a reward system sweetens the pot and incentivizes customers to return.
BentoBox makes this easy with an automated process that’s also customizable in terms of subject lines, header images, headlines, and body language. Once an email is captured, you can set up an “Almost There” email and “Reward Email” to communicate with diners.
6. Share an incentive
While loyalty programs are great for earning towards a reward over time, you might need to offer an incentive right away to secure a diner’s email address. Wherever you’re capturing email addresses, you can share a discount or freebie upfront in exchange for someone’s email. Good examples of this might include $5 off your next order, 10% off an order that’s $50+, or a free drink/appetizer.
7. Promote your email sign-up on social media
Leverage the online audience you’ve built on your social media channels and convert your followers into email subscribers. Make it super simple to opt into your emails. You can put a sign-up form link in your Instagram bio, share a link directly in your Instagram story, have a dedicated email opt-in tab on your Facebook page, and tweet out your sign-up form.
8. Put a QR code opt-in on receipts and tabletop cards
QR codes are easy, trackable ways to drive to a specific link. Place them at the bottom of your printed receipts or design them onto tabletop cards for quick access. The QR code should direct to your sign-up form for a streamlined experience. Using incentives with this strategy is a great way to encourage opt-ins.
9. Include an opt-in link under email signatures
For restaurant workers who regularly email external stakeholders as part of their jobs like General Managers or Events Managers, consider adding an email sign-up link below your email signature. This tactic grows the visibility of your email marketing and subtly reminds customers to stay in touch with you. You can use simple language like “Join our mailing list” or be more playful with copy like “Never miss an event from us!” Customize the messaging based on what makes sense for your concept.
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