Getting new customers in the door is no easy (or inexpensive) job for restaurant operators. The days of mega-discounting have passed, and the options for increasing revenues through hoards of new business are limited, short of word-of-mouth and a killer combination of branding and PR. This shift has left restaurant owners asking “what can I do next?” and the easiest answer has been to retarget existing customers in an effort to get them to return more often. The most effective way to do this is through email marketing, and since restaurant owners are taking it upon themselves to execute these email campaigns, we decided to offer up some tips to help effectively pilot an email program.
In a recent conversation with a franchisee of a major national brand, the topic of choosing offers for email marketing came up. Our client revealed that the national brand had recommended heavily marketing a certain item. However, after looking at the sales data for this particular franchisee, we saw that item wasn’t selling well in her region. This brought up the question: should franchise customers be treated the same as corporate’s?
It’s an ongoing debate between CMOs and CFOs: what happens to the marketing budget when sales are down? On the one hand, marketing dollars are historically difficult to track, so shifting budgets to focus on operational improvements and cost-saving measures seems like a reasonable decision. However, pulling the plug on marketing efforts when the company is most desperate for more business just doesn’t feel right, no matter how left-brained you are.