Clients often ask us how often they should send emails to their customers. While there is no magic answer, there are some guidelines operators should follow.
In the “old” days, when restaurants paid a lot of money to do direct mail and print advertising, it was easier to be selective and not advertise too often. But with email being relatively inexpensive, it’s tempting to send your target customers frequent messages.
New York Times writer Jay Goltz has coined the term “e-nnoyance elasticity. This refers to the number of people who will unsubscribe to your list as you increase the number of emails you send. Since we don’t want customers to unsubscribe, we need to find the happy medium of just the right email frequency.
As a general rule, we suggest emailing your customers once a week. Depending on the information you have to share, you may find it necessary to email more often or less frequently than this. If you can are following the four best practices below, it’s probably okay to send the email you are planning:
1) Provide new content or information. If you email your customers each week with the same subject line, such as “This Week’s Specials,” you’re going to lose subscribers. People don’t want to see the same thing over and over, and chances are, your specials don’t always change that much week to week. But if your specials do change, move forward with your email.
2) Include an action that can be taken right away. Consider promoting an offer that must be redeemed within 24 to 48 hours of receiving the email. Make sure you include that the email must be printed and brought in or shown to you on a mobile device in order for the offer to be redeemed.
3) Add value to your customers’ day. Maybe you can share a chef’s recipe from your kitchen that the subscriber can make for dinner that night. Or point them in the direction of the farmers’ market where you buy local produce.
4) Offer something different than your competition. Perhaps you’ve just won an award, or you are the first in your area with the latest microbrew. Maybe you are hosting a fundraiser event, or a live band. Use email to brag about it to your customers.
You might also consider using an email marketing tool rather than a desktop email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird. A marketing tool will track how useful your emails are to your customers, which will help you determine frequency.