10 Steps to Creating an Effective Restaurant Newsletter
Loyal customers love to keep up-to-date with their favorite establishments. Restaurants have the unique opportunity to communicate with their customers via newsletters. They show your customer base that care about your employees and customers to go above and beyond when it comes to communications.
First and foremost – decide whether you should implement a hard copy, email version, or both! You can repurpose content across multiple platforms. Have in-house copies for customers to snag on their way in our out of your restaurants. Ask loyal customers if they would prefer to receive an exclusive e-newsletter with special coupons or perks.
1) Communicate regularly and consistently
- In order to be perceived as credible, you must communicate regularly and consistently.
- A monthly or bi-monthly newsletter is appropriate for most operations. You can adjust the quantity based on the amount of content you can generate without adding an extra element of work or stress to the content creator/manager.
- However, once you decide, do your best to keep true to your pattern of posting. Consumers prefer to know what to expect, so try your best to cater to their expectations.
2) Make it visually pleasing
- Add photographs of events, customers, servers, chefs, or specials of the month.
- Consider implementing snapshots of your Facebook or Twitter feeds highlighting customers’ positive feedback or a newcomer’s rave about a particular dish on the menu.
- Be sure the layout is aesthetically pleasing as well. For branding purposes, utilize the restaurant’s colors and logo.
- Find the perfect balance between content and photos. Content heavy pieces are less likely to be read than those that have a combination of both photos and writing.
3) Be sure it is easy to digest
- In addition to the layout being visually pleasing, break up text-heavy sections by utilizing bullet points of subheadings.
- The content should be readable, using average language and avoiding jargon.
- If readers are overwhelmed, they will bypass these sections, regardless of how rich or engaging the content may be.
4) Add clickable links
- Make your newsletter as user friendly as possible by making your links clickable. For example, always have your Facebook or Twitter accounts linked on your e-newsletter.
- Make sure you always add a link to your menu.
- If there is not enough space to upload photographs from an event, you can add a hyperlinked keyword that directly links to an ancillary photo site, such as a Flickr account.
- If you have been featured in a local blog (always a great way for free marketing), link to it.
5) Include social media icons
- Always include any social media outlets in which you are involved, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and/or Foursquare.
- Even if it is not an e-newsletter, add small icons that represent these sites along with the URL. They will remind your customers that you have a presence on these various social media platforms.
- Probe them to interact with you by providing an incentive such as a check-in on Foursquare. For example, checking-in 5 times unlocks 10% off of your meal.
6) Always add a boilerplate
- Your restaurant has a history, whether it be short and sweet or it dates all the back to your great, great grandparents.
- Give your establishment a little personality by adding a brief, but interesting background of your bar or restaurant.
7) Include a list of events and specials
- Dedicate a section of your newsletter – preferably the same location for consistency purposes – that lists upcoming events and the specials of the week or month if you have planned them out in advance.
- If possible, include photos to entice customers to join you for the next special menu item or event.
- Spice up your descriptions and vary your content to keep readers engaged.
8) “Spotlight” section where you highlight an associate or customer
- Consumers love a human element to writing pieces.
- Make your star employees and customers feel special by adding a “Spotlight” section.
- You can create a Q & A interview, feature article, biography or simply a “Getting to know____” to create a more humanized feel to your newsletter.
9) Call-to-action – offer an offline incentive
- As mentioned previously, give your audience a reason to not only read your article, but also go a step beyond.
- For example, if customers sign up for an e-newsletter, they will receive 5% off their next visit or a free meal on their birthday.
- Add a hidden code to bring to the restaurant for an exclusive deal only offered to those who read the newsletter.
10) Be creative in gaining new customers – “forward to a friend and receive”
- Your customers are your brand ambassadors, so maximize your resources. If you have given them a reason to love your restaurant, they will continue to be an advocate for you.
- Ask them to forward the newsletter to a new friend and they will receive a free appetizer or dessert.
Customers love to be informed and feel as if they are a part of your family; therefore, the main purpose of your newsletter is to engage with your customers in a different way, while still leveraging it as a marketing ploy. Newsletters are a fairly cost-effective and unique way to communicate with employees and customers alike.
Do you have anything else to add to this list that you include in your newsletter for your bar or restaurant?