Zehnder Communications, Inc.

In the COVID era, email marketing can keep restaurants connected with customers.

As technology goes, email might seem a little mature. After all, we’ve been using it for about a quarter-century now. Yet, it’s still one of the most effective ways for restaurants to connect and stay relevant with customers during the pandemic. 

Think about how the pandemic has impacted the industry. The dramatic drop in dine-in traffic and the reliance on take-out and delivery both leave little time for engaging with customers. As a result, the customer experience is heavily digital. 

Email marketing takes customer engagement to the digital space, letting you speak to your customers one-on-one and in a setting in which they’ve given permission to be marketed to and want to receive your message. The cost of email is free or minimal at most, and it can be highly effective in driving brand recognition and loyalty, outperforming even social media. 

Another advantage: You can continually test and refine messaging, aligning it with customers’ needs, repeat purchases and customized content. Email provides value segmentation and customized offers according to local markets, tastes, wants, past orders or blog content.  

In the pandemic era, consumers are more hesitant with crowded spaces. Use email to re-establish trust, letting customers know everything you’re doing to keep them safe: 

  • Curbside delivery
  • Online ordering
  • Extra sanitation protocols
  • Contactless delivery options and takeout
  • Individually-wrapped utensils 
  • Social-distancing guidelines
  • Masked and gloved employees
  • Changes in meal packaging
  • New dine-in policies and off-premise dining via third-party delivery or online ordering
  • Menu changes and additions that promote safety

Tailor your promotional content to drive incremental revenue and online ordering. Automated campaigns can direct consumer actions like email opens, a follow-up to a first visit or celebrating customer birthdays. Promote your unique offerings for movie night, family meal deals, buy-one-take-one or a “build your own” meal kit. It’s also a direct source for news on reopening dining rooms and adjusted hours. 

Research shows consumers react favorably toward restaurants that give back to their communities. Consumers also favor transparency with policies on sanitation, employee benefits and changes to business operations as a result of COVID. Share with customers how your company is contributing to the community, taking part in local campaigns and honoring employees.

Customers still want the experience of dining out, but their needs and priorities have changed. Email marketing lets them know you’re changing as well to meet their needs. Keep your loyal customers and nurture new ones by delivering a seamless brand experience directly to their inboxes.

Does email marketing sound appetizing? Get in touch with Zehnder to learn more.

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