Email marketing has earned the reputation of being an ineffective form of digital marketing. But this reputation is unjustified because email marketing is highly effective – and I have the numbers to prove it.

When someone suggests email marketing, most people are immediately reminded of the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of marketing emails and newsletters they unsubscribe from or send straight to their spam folder. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

According to the 2018 DMA Marketing Tracker Report, you can expect to earn $32 (R462) for every dollar you spend on email marketing. Plus, welcome emails (when the receiver has opted in) have an open rate of 82%, based on findings from GetResponse’s 2017 Email Marketing Benchmark report. So it’s clear that email marketing works when it’s done correctly.

What you’re missing out on

Email marketing is a low-cost, high-return method of getting your messaging out there, but there’s a lot more to gain from it than that. Here are some of the exciting benefits of email marketing that you won’t be able to overlook:


Whether you’re a food truck or a franchise, email marketing is well within your reach. It’s also affordable and simple to set up. With almost no barriers, it’s probably the email marketing technique most restaurants should start with.

Customer retention

Email can be a valuable engagement tool. It allows you to tell your restaurant’s unique brand story and stay on your patrons’ minds even when they’re not in your establishment. The only other channel that offers engagement this impressive is social media.


Personalisation is an important advantage that email has over any other marketing medium. Because email is fundamentally a direct correspondence, you get to have a more intimate interaction with your patrons. Most email marketing platforms offer powerful audience segmentation and personalisation functionality, so all the hard work has already been done for you.


Your email marketing campaigns can be fully automated in advance using whatever platform you prefer so you don’t have to remember to send out another email. You can plan your campaign, set it up and execute it in its entirety all at once. I’ve seen restaurants plan their email campaigns for the whole year. Once it’s done, you go back to running your restaurant and your emails will quietly get delivered to your patrons at the determined intervals.

Dos and definitely don’ts

The reason why people think email marketing doesn’t work is that there are a plethora of deplorable email marketing campaigns out there. These are emails that seem aggressive, creepy or downright suspicious because they’ve ignored email marketing best practices. Remember the following and you’re off to a great start:

  • Do: communicate clearly and concisely. No one’s reading your magnum opus in email form.
  • Definitely don’t: send your email before proofreading it. You’ll lose credibility that’s hard to regain.
  • Do: send emails out consistently. Strike a balance between too often and not often enough.
  • Definitely don’t: type in all caps. WHO ARE YOU YELLING AT?
  • Do: use rich media like images and GIFs. Break up the chunks of text with something interesting to look at.
  • Definitely don’t: try to hack your open rates with shady subject lines. Entice the receiver into opening your emails, don’t deceive them.
  • Do: A/B testing. Try out different tones, subject lines and content on split audiences and measure what works.
  • Definitely don’t: hide your unsubscribe link. You can’t hold your audience hostage – give them a transparent way out.
  • Tasty email marketing as easy as 1-2-3

    Getting started with email marketing is easy. Find the first three steps below, everything else is just measuring, improving and trying again.

  • Find your platform. There are countless email marketing platforms with templates that you can tweak to suit your restaurant’s brand.
  • Build a list. You can do this on your website by asking people to sign up for your newsletter in exchange for a discount. It’s important that they opt in.
  • Structure your campaigns. Are you sending them recipes, giving them tips from the chef or going full promotional?
  • Now you’re good to go. Once your first campaign is live, the next ones get easier (and even a little fun). And if you’re looking for more tips to improve your marketing, download our guide, The definitive 21st-century restaurant playbook.

    Author : Rudi Badenhorst