How to run a successful email drip campaign

How to run a successful email drip campaign

For many restaurant owners or restaurant marketing managers, the prospect of sending out an email drip campaign may sound daunting; however, these campaigns can be transformative from getting first time users to become brand loyalists or even best customers. Today we want to look at how restaurateurs can make the most out of a drip marketing campaign, and what that means for expanding their business, their breadth of services, and ultimately their bottom line.

Identify the Method of Collection

The first step to a successful email marketing campaign, unsurprisingly, is going to be building your email list. Many restaurants may not have a healthy email list that they can already market; business owners may have ignored the importance of collecting email from customers, or may not encourage customers to surrender this information frequently enough for a drip campaign to be successful. In order to find ways to ensure you are marketing the breadth of your services to a wide audience, begin brainstorming ways to encourage email sign-ups on both your website and in person.

Offer loyalty perks for users who submit their email address so they are informed and subsequently rewarded for giving you their email address. Anything from offering a free dessert or special on someone’s birthday, to simply announcing a loyalty rewards program using a contact form or some other mechanism on your site can encourage sign-ups and give people a reason to return to your restaurant. Similarly, in person, offer comment cards that ask users their opinion about their service. Capture their email address, and have the managers collect and log these comment cards in order to encourage users to sign up and build a following. In addition, put this into overdrive by offering incentives to users who might encourage their friends to sign up to get a loyalty referral program going. Users who have got a friend to sign up to your email address can receive 10-20% off of their next purchase if the friend indicates that they were referred by a current subscriber.

Choose the Products for Promotion

Drip campaigns are contingent on consistent messaging that is sent incrementally to users over time, usually over a certain length of time between sign-up. However, in order to make these pre-written messages successful, it’s important for restaurant owners to decide the scope of services they are choosing to market. Perhaps there is a new gourmet menu being offered for dinner, or a new catering service that you want to encourage users to try. Decide the scope of services you’re choosing to promote, and then build out a timeline to market them to your email list.

Email drip campaigns can allow you to market and remarket to people who are repeatedly engaging with the marketing that you’re sending. This is just a distant cousin of inbound marketing, as you’re reaching out to users who have already had a stop in your conversion funnel at some point or another. Decide on the scope of services that you want to tie into the drip campaign. The next step is to set this up and make it work for your restaurant.

Identify the Different Drops in the Drip Campaign

Nurture leads within your email funnel by providing information that’s progressively relevant for your target market. In order to do so, leverage a couple different types of drip emails to help grow your business. A great study by the content marketing experts over at Pardot offers some great insight on how to get a drip campaign that works for your business.


Timely emails about specials for certain holidays, including Thanksgiving or Christmas, or even festive feasts that draw out foods from different cultures can bring an exciting twist to your kitchen and its customers. Use timely emails related to holidays and even customers’ birthdays to lure them back into the conversion funnel, and more importantly, through your doors.

Monitor open rates, and if people open emails for your Thanksgiving dinner or Cinco de Mayo special, know that these are the types of customers that you can potentially transform into brand loyalists. Ensure these customers are continually targeted with new services, specials, or timely offers.

Promotions & Specials

Users who have visited your restaurant once may not need much to be enticed back into the door. Consider offering everyone on your email list a time-sensitive promotion, and let these limited-time specials help seduce your clients back into your kitchen.

Similarly, monitor response and open rates. If you notice that a good percentage of people are opening the email, be sure to retarget them with featured offers, new menu items, or other informational emails about your products and services. As these opens wane, the users can be slowly eased out of your conversion funnel so they don’t feel as if they are getting spammed with emails that aren’t as useful.

However, for users that do open your promotional emails, assume they retain a key interest in the business. Perhaps extend the offer for users if you feel the campaign didn’t live up to its potential, or try another offer for loyal customers who reference a product code or a special from the email campaign.

Special Services

Perhaps your restaurant is a great farm-to-table sit-down experience, but also wants to step into catering small events around your neighborhood. There is no telling which customers may be on the hunt for their next caterer. Try developing an email campaign that speaks to specials and services that only exist off-menu. Send out an email that advertises your catering services, and then, as with others, sit back and check the open rate. For those that open the email, a drip campaign may retarget openers with a second email that pushes them to the site–perhaps a blog post that acts as a white paper, casting a glance over comparative costs of catering in your area. If this also gets some traction from your email marketing campaign, a third and final drip email might simply look to target openers from that email with more specifics on your catering program. This helps educate customers with a vested interest in your product or service, with limited effort on behalf of the restaurateur.
For more information on how to make the most of your restaurant marketing, contact Restaurant Marketing Labs today.

1 Comment
  • I think, it’s important to remember that email, just like any other marketing strategy, should be used to improve your BUSINESS objectives. These objectives could be: Increasing brand awareness, sales, Customer retention.

    September 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm

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