Email marketing is the fastest and the most efficient way to reach out to your customers and build long term bonds. The first step towards setting up your email marketing campaign is building a customer list for your restaurant.

Here are a few practical ways that will help you to grow your customer database.

1. Collect Emails In Person

This old school strategy is still one of the most effective ways to collect emails. There are several ways in which you can do this. Place a small box at the check-out counter, prompting customers to drop their business cards.  You can take it a step further by adding a small incentive to the action; like a free treat in exchange of business cards. Another great idea is to promote it as a monthly raffle, where a single winner could be offered a free meal or dessert.  You would also want to train your wait staff to request customers to leave their emails at the time of check out.

2. Add an Email Optin to your Website

You have put in a lot of effort into building a great website and promoting it through ads and social media. Finally, you have managed to get a decent number of people visiting on your website and browsing through your menu. Now, it’s time to ensure that you are not losing any of these casual visitors or prospective customers. The way to do it is by adding an opt-in form to your website, nudging customers to sign up for your restaurant’s newsletter. Incentivize the deal by offering a free coupon- it can be something as simple as a sign -up and get free ice cream on your next visit.

3. Employ your Wifi as a Tool

Are you offering free Wi-Fi to your restaurant’s customers? You can use the service as a tool to collect email ids. Configure the service in a way that the customers are required to submit emails to use the free wi-fi.

4. Use Technology

There are several kinds of technology that you may be using at your restaurant which can be used to grow your customer list. For instance, your POS. Most modern PoS systems require customers to submit their Email Ids at the time of check out. You can download this data and use it for your email campaigns.

On similar lines, if your restaurant is running its loyalty program, which requires customers to sign in or subscribe using their email, you have the data at your disposal. The only thing you need to do is encourage customers to subscribe to the program or fill in their details. Your online ordering solution can also be a great source of customer data.

If you are using a guest management system to allow customers to make reservations or a feedback software that send out automated messages to customers dining at the store, you can source email data from these systems for your campaigns.

5. Enlist Partners to Co-promote:

Tie up with local businesses to co-promote. Let’s say you own a pizza place, you can tie up with a local art school to display your sign-up info on their bulletin board. In exchange, you can have one of their posters at your restaurant.

6. Build Email List by Referrals

Request your current customers to forward or share your emailers with friends and colleagues. Don’t forget to add a sign -up form in the email body encouraging the people who receive these emails to sign-up.

7. Host a Contest

Contests are a great way to boost engagement on your social media handles. At the same time, they can be employed to collect email ids. You can ask participants to submit their email ids to register for the contest.

    8. Integrate Social Media into Your Strategy

Have links to sign-up on your restaurant’s Facebook Instagram or twitter handle. Promote Your restaurant’s newsletter through social media and invite customers to sign-up for the same.

9. Join Our Club

Set up a Birthday or Anniversary campaign and invite your customers to join the club by registering their Emails.

The success of your Email Marketing Campaign depends on how well you build your list and customize your messages. With little effort, these tips can help you grow your customer list to kick-start your Email campaign.