Thousands of restaurants are using email newsletters to build and engage their customer base and promote their offerings. Service providers such as AWeber and Constant Contact enable restaurants to quickly and easily deliver email newsletters and manage subscribers. But while an email newsletter can be a highly successful marketing tool for a restaurant, creating interesting, valuable content is a time-consuming headache for busy restaurant owners. The good news is that much of the content for your email newsletter already exists within your restaurant and with your customers. In this article, I suggest ten ideas for newsletter content that are easy to create and quick to engage readers. Keep in mind that you can later repurpose much of this content on your restaurant’s website.
1. Introduce your staff.Many of your staff members have interesting outside interests, hobbies or training. Did your cooks attend a culinary program? What are their favorite menu items? How long have they been with your restaurant? Having an area of your newsletter dedicated to personnel is also a great chance to introduce a new staff member or promote job openings.
2. Read any good books lately? Chances are, your email newsletter subscribers are just as interested in food as you are. Share books or articles with them that are guaranteed to be of interest. For example, if you run a regional Italian restaurant and a new cookbook is published featuring recipes from that region, let subscribers know about it. It reinforces your expertise in the cuisine and can increase customers’ appreciation of it as well.
3. Share a seasonal recipe. Your email newsletter may only go out several times a year. Showcase a recipe for a simple, seasonal cocktail or dish created by your restaurant. Don’t forget to include photos!
4. Sell your products. More than 57% of family dining restaurants offer retail items for sale. Increase profits by providing a link to purchase directly from your email newsletter. Subscriber-only discounts on these products also have great appeal to readers.
5. Feature photos. Email newsletter readers devour photography and even moreso when those photos depict people. Include photographs of large parties or events you’ve hosted in your newsletter. This can also help to promote your restaurant’s catering or event services. You can even feature regulars where you include snapshots of your favorite regular customers.
6. Offer coupons and discounts. Let’s be honest. The main reason customers subscribe to an email newsletter is the promise of special deals. By offering them exclusive discounts and VIP treatment, customers will look forward to your newsletter and keep coming back to your restaurant.
7. Celebrate your philanthropic work.The restaurant industry is one of incredible generosity, with many restaurants helping the community in ways their customers might not even know about. Note your participation in programs such as Share Our Strength or contributions to local food banks. You may even help attract more volunteers in the process.
8. Ask customers questions. Why should you do all of the talking? Your customers are a source of valuable information and offering a poll or survey in your email newsletter is a simple way to tap into their opinions and tastes. You may even ask them what they’d like to see more of in your email newsletter!
9. Answer customers’ questions. Solicit questions and feedback from your customers. They may have questions about your food, the history of your restaurant, or other insights that you can respond to as part of a regular newsletter feature. This transforms your email newsletter from a one-way communication channel to a regular dialogue between you and your customers.
10. Promote environmental consciousness. According to the National Restaurant Association, 62% of adults are likely to make a restaurant choice based on how environmentally friendly a restaurant is. A brief article on how you are making your restaurant more environmentally friendly is always attractive to customers.