E-mail marketing can be rocket fuel for your pizzeria business. As a former pizzeria operator turned marketing consultant, I advise my clients to take full advantage of the power of email to better reach both their admirers and their critics and to expand their marketing reach. But some pizzeria owners need a crash course in email marketing. Here are the five major rookie mistakes to avoid in your email program:
1Not collecting emails on your website. At some pizzerias, 50% of revenue is generated by delivery sales. If you have online ordering, you’re likely to automatically capture 20% of your customers’ emails through that transaction. What about the other 30% of your delivery customers, those who come to your website to browse the menu, check out your specials and write down your phone number? You’re wasting a great opportunity if you don’t offer website visitors an opt-in button so they can share their email address with you. But how do you persuade them to give you that info? The enticement can be as straightforward as a weekly drawing to win a free pizza by clicking on a box and entering a name and email address. That’s a great way to capture emails for website visitors who otherwise would have walked in or called and never shared the information. Sure, you might get a phone number or two from those customers, but nowadays the telephone is not a very effective way to market. You’re not going to call people on the phone and tell them about your specials.
2Not sending response or reach-out emails once you have the email address. Imagine yourself as the customer who doesn’t get that initial email until two or three months after he first shared that precious information with you. You didn’t mean to be rude; you just forgot to send it, or you didn’t know what to say. By the time that prospective customer finally gets your email, he has forgotten what he signed up for and may have lost interest in your restaurant entirely. The simple fix is to install an automated follow-up system on your email marketing program so that anyone who opts in on your website and leaves an email address gets an immediate response, preferably with a hard-to-resist offer that will bring them right back. Companies like MailChimp and Constant Contact both offer this can’t-lose function.
3 Not formatting your emails—or your website—for mobile phones. With more smartphone-using millennials driving your business, it’s a simple fact that 90% of that pizza-powering demographic will check email on their phone first. I might not be a millennial myself, but I have to be plugged in to do my job. If I check an email on my phone and can’t read it because it’s not formatted for mobile, I immediately hit delete. People who depend on their phones for information are not taking the time to go to their laptops or desktops to read. What’s your best move? Have your service provider send you a test message before you blast out a mass email. Take a close look at the message on your own mobile device. Is it easy to read? Is the overall message easily digested on the smaller screen and formatted to look good when framed on a 2”-by-4” vertical and horizontal platform?
Bonus Tip—Getting Facebook Likes
Want an easy and quick way to boost your Facebook analytics? Email people and ask them to “like” your Facebook page instead of just individual posts. Research shows that even on heavily viewed and liked posts, up to 50% of those users haven’t actually liked your page.
Using a template. I say, make your emails personal, and—whenever appropriate—ditch the formatted variety so you can communicate, one person to another. Remember that emails, however modern, are basically a note from you to one specific person. Write your emails like you’re writing a personal note. Learn how to use those cute little emojis. Keep your sentences short, with spaces between paragraphs, and keep your paragraphs concise. If you’re really feeling daring, discard the template option altogether and use plain text. I guarantee it will be just as effective in getting the response you’re after. Just make sure your hyperlinks don’t break, and be reassured that your plain-text emails will stand out from the competition and show your customers you’ve put in the personal time to reach out.
5Lacking consistency in your email processes. When customers opt into your list and share their email addresses with you, make sure you respond quickly with an explanation of what they can expect next from you. For example, I might let an opt-in participant know that I send emails every Tuesday: “This is Bruce, and you can expect this course of emails over the next few months. We give away two free pizzas every Monday, and we’ll announce the winners in your Tuesday email.” If you let people on your email list know ahead of time when they can expect emails from you, your “open” rate will improve, and your “unsubscribe” rate will go down. Sending emails inconsistently is a sure recipe for having potential customers unsubscribe and disappear into the competitive fog.