Email marketing is the process of sending regular emails to your mailing list (a mailing list is a list or collection of email addresses). Email marketing is a powerful channel for broadcasting regular messages filled with text, images and videos (if you have any) of information related to events and other features of your venue. Ideally, the aim of email marketing is to talk about recent and upcoming news, events and other information related to your venue.
Use email marketing to ‘bring value’ to your customers by informing them about upcoming events at your establishment, and if you have the resources, educate them on something. If you talk about a ‘cocktail of the month’ or a ‘wine variety of the fortnight’ (or something similar), they’ll probably be more inclined to open your regular email.
Collecting email addresses for your database can be done in a number of ways:
- Ask your customers to leave a business card in a bowl at your venue, and ask if they would like to subscribe to your regular mailing list
- Install an opt-in form on your website, asking site visitors to subscribe
- Ask your social media ‘followers’ to subscribe to your email list (I’ll discuss social media below)
There are a number of ways you can send mass-email communications. Firstly, you can use an email program (enabled with HTML editing). Alternatively, you can use an online email marketing application, which handles all aspects of email marketing, from email address acquisition (you can put the name and address ‘opt-in form’ straight on your website – if you wish to do this, ask your web designer to install the form onto your site), through to the creation and transmission of your emails (and the saving of templates). With email templates, you can save a design and use that layout over and over again, for consistency. Online email applications also allow you to insert your guests’ names into the salutation line of the email, to add personality (if customers see their name at the top of the email, they’ll probably read more).
An advantage of many email marketing applications is that they track which users open and ‘click on’ certain elements in the email (this is an advanced function and takes time and resources to setup). This is important in tracking which content works (i.e. which type of content is appealing to readers). Topics to include in email communications are:
- Events in the next time period (between now and the next mass-email)
- News about the previous time period
- Photos and articles of new/popular products
- Photos of customers
- Photos of staff
- In-house articles on specific products you are promoting
- Invitations to join your social media networks
- Links to new blog posts (use email marketing to promote your blog posts)