At Your Portal, we both create and run email campaigns for clients and subscribe to our clients’ email subscription lists to stay informed on their brands and messages outside of the services we provide. In a recent post we covered two guidelines for bar and restaurant industry online marketing strategies: Quality and Customer Experience. While Quality refers more so to the portrayal of your products and services, Customer Experience marketing focuses on creating memorable and valuable online experiences for individual customers. Customer experience is important in email marketing because it keeps the user’s perspective in your, the author’s, front brain.
In this post we will highlight important factors to keep in mind while creating email content for your subscriber list. These emails aim to keep customers rather than gain new ones, which, in and of itself, means you understand their preferences and aren’t annoyingly frequent with personal outreach. Keep your bar in the back of their minds and eventually one of your emails will spark a customer’s interest, or present an offer they cannot refuse. Until it does, follow these rules while you write and you can expect great returns on investment. Here is a preview of the rules we will cover:
- Keep Copy Writing Simple
- Test Your Subject Lines
- Use a High Ratio of Images to Text
- Stay on Brand
- Provide A Value Proposition
Keep Copywriting Simple
No need to write paragraphs in order to get your point across. Instead, start by writing everything you think you need to say, then revisit that text after small breaks at least three times to cut out unnecessary words. If you need help, try this excellent word minimizing tool online. Also, try to keep your text in the present tense and craft sentences where the subject and important action are close together.
ex . “YourPortal Online saves your money!”
“Bars Need New Websites every 3 years. Have you upgraded recently?”
Bad: “YourPortal Online, leading Web Marketing service, can help you save money”
After you write good, simple content critique the layout of your text to ensure the subject and important details are highlighted, not hidden within unnecessary information or less bold than other information. If important information isn’t standing alone, reading patterns suggest that information at the beginning or end of a sentence, or group of sentences, is the most memorable.
Test Your Subject Lines
You may think your email subject is the best idea you’ve ever had, but have you tested it? There is no way to know how great that idea is until you collect data on opens and link clicks, or ‘conversions’ in marketing jargon. Testing helps optimize your subject writing style to produce high returns on investment for email marketing.
Use A High Ratio of Images to Text
There is a reason why facebook ads limit text to 20% of the ad area. If you can say it with an image instead of text, the human brain and eye are more drawn to the information. A high quality and intriguing image is far more memorable than similar words we see every day in advertisements. Sure a combination of text and images can also impact readers, just don’t produce an email with no images, and keep text to a minimum. Some bars produce graphic sections for every piece of information in their email. “5 off kamikazes on friday” could be communicated by an image of a customer taking a shot, with a small bit of text “5/12-6/1: $6 Kamikazes!” If you have access to an affordable graphic designer, try adding at least one graphic-text section instead of a text block and make sure to link that section to your website or social media platform.
Stay on brand
Emphasizing a customers future experience by showing them what to expect during their visit to your bar is a key customer experience marketing strategy. Often referred to as a ‘style guide’, your chosen fonts, colors and images, should mimic the atmosphere of your bar such that opening your email feels like having a mini bar experience. If your style guide doesn’t capture your bar’s ambiance and product quality, consult a graphic designer or a friend with a great design eye. The more valuable opinions you can get on whether your branding represents your venue, the better.
Staying on brand also means using similar vocabulary and tone of voice in your writing. A great example is Yourportal client Rocks Bar Group, whose copy writing voice mirrors their fun loving menu items, cartoon rock logo and friendly staff.
Provide Value in the Email
So far you’ve drafted an email with minimal text and as many high res images or graphics you can instead, an interesting subject line and a mini bar experience for your future customer. The only thing you are missing is a REASON for customers to open your email a first time, which sets a precedent for their opening emails in the future. This reason is called the value proposition. If you don’t offer information about your customer’s next amazing experience at your bar, they won’t care about an email from you. So how do you offer that experience via email?
To sell an amazing, and therefore valuable, experience you can showcase:
An upcoming event
A new, quality product or service
-Upgrades to your venue
-Or, perhaps the best value prop of all, a DEAL
If you are able to offer a deal, lead with that in your email’s subject and body. Try reducing the price of a popular product, or uniquely spinning an experience that you or your competitor’s provide, for a lower price. Of course there are more strategies for stressing the value of a deal, like giving it an expiration date, but overall you will see more consistent opens if you keep in mind:
“Is this deal monetarily valuable to my customer in the market my business competes in?” and “Does this deal offer an amazing experience?”
Now you have everything you need to add email marketing to your toolbox, so go ahead and try it! You can always suspend a marketing campaign if you don’t see positive results. Make sure to sign up with a good service, depending on your list size and which user interface you prefer. Two of our favorite email clients are Mailchimp and Constant Contact. Lastly, don’t forget that if you need help implementing these strategies you can contact us at email@example.com/hospitality.