What Should Be Included In A Restaurant’s Email Marketing Campaign

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

What Should Be Included In A Restaurant’s Email Marketing Campaign

Presumably you have subscriber’s lists set up and are informing them about changes to the menu, coupons and special events. Your email marketing campaign appears to be working as customers are responding and there are new subscribers each week. Is it time to rest on your laurels? Only if you want your upturn in fortunes to dissipate. No email marketing campaign is perfect so you need to continue taking a closer look and adding things that may be missing.

Add Menus

One of the biggest mistakes made by restaurants is not having their menus listed online. If someone hasn’t been to your establishment before, you need to add a menu filled with descriptions of your food that will send their taste buds tingling. You may even persuade regular customers to try something new. If you have been too busy or can’t seem to be able to track down your “web-guy” and need to get your menu online in the meantime, you can place your menu on sites like www.thegrubclub.com for free. It’s also a great idea to include professional pictures of your food in emails just to tempt the reader further.

Why Should I Visit?

You need to provide incentives to customers and give them a reason to continue subscribing. The most obvious way of doing this is by offering discounts exclusively to your subscribers. It doesn’t have to be a substantial amount but it does need to be large enough to force customers to take you up on the offer. Perhaps you could offer $10 off purchases over $40 or a free bottle of wine with a main course. Also, if you sell gift cards, be sure to mention this to your subscribers. Gift cards make excellent quick gifts but most people forget to ask for them when they’re out because the (hopefully) amazing dining experience distracts them.

It’s also extremely important that you mention your opening hours on the emails. This is especially relevant for restaurants that lack a website. A startling number of restaurants fail to add this little bit of information and as a result, lose customers who turn up on a Monday only to find the place closed. And while you’re in the business of providing information, ensure that clear directions are available for customers. Why would they bother visiting your business if they have to look long and hard for it?

There is a lot more to email marketing for your restaurant than telling everyone how great your food is. You need to show that your business is superior to all others. Make things as easy as possible for customers and they will show up in their droves, provided your food and service is up to standard of course!

New Import/Export Process

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in SYSTEM UPDATES

Hello All-

We have implemented a new import/export process. Now instead of you having to wait for your list to import with the progress bar, your list is sent to a job queue that processes the upload directly on the server.

This allows for a much faster handling of your lists! Once you select your list to be imported or exported, you are then taken to a page where you can View Scheduled Import/Export Queue.  Once there you will see your job queue.

You can then “View Your Results” for imported lists which will give you a report like this:

The contact import has been completed successfully

122 contacts were imported successfully

0 contacts were updated successfully

1 duplicates

0 contacts are unsubscribed

0 contacts are suppressed from joining this contact list

1 contact contains bad data

0 contacts were not imported successfully

Or if you are exporting, there will be an option to ‘Download.’

Another benefit of the new import/export process is that you can now schedule multiple jobs at once in the same browser. In other words, you can import as many lists as you like at one time without have to wait for each list to complete or opening a new browser to start a new import job.

Hope you like it!

Real Time Features in Facebook

Posted on Jun 23, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Facebook has been testing a new feature for News Feeds that gives the user the ability to view likes, comments and things their friends are sharing in real time.

Real time? Oh yes, real time. Now, few of you might have used TweetDeck when they implemented their “real time” ability. I saw quite a few tweets comparing it to #twittercrack. And now with Facebook looking to roll their version out, I can only imagine the impact it will have on users productivity.

But Facebook is already a master at stealing away productivity; the real problem with this new feature is that it kills off the ad space on the right hand side of the home page. Facebook recently reported that in 2010, their ad revenue was at $1.86B. Staggering yes, so why would they kill off some prime ad real estate? It’s unclear.

Again, these screenshots are still in testing phase but I find it hard to believe that they would bite the bullet on the ad revenue. I expect that if Facebook widely implements this feature, there will be some layout adjustments to still accommodate the ads.

5 Reasons to Use an Email Service Provider (ESP)

Posted on Mar 4, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Email marketing has been around for over ten years now, but with all the changing technology available, there are many new techniques and strategies you can apply to email in order to achieve an even higher ROI and conversion rate than was attainable in the past! In fact, one of the MOST important things you can do for your email marketing campaign is to invest in an ESP, or email marketing service provider.  Even if your email list is small, start out with a reliable ESP so once your list grows to a few hundred or more recipients, you’ll have the technology already in place to automatically handle subscribes, bounces, and deliverability issues!

Here are a quick list of reasons you should be using an ESP instead of a regular email client such as Outlook.

1. List Management: Make it easy for yourself and others to subscribe to your list!  With ESP’s you can automatically have new contacts added through your website, Facebook page, and more!  As you are growing your list quickly, this will be very helpful!

2.  High Deliverability: Your email client is not meant to sent out bulk emails to contacts and your messages may end up labeled as spam by ISPs, not even arriving into your recipients’ spam folders, much less their inboxes.  ESPs are approved by ISPd as a legitimate, CAN SPAM compliant, permission-based email delivery service.

3.  Ability to Create and Send HTML Messages: Most ESPs include several well-designed HTML templates for you to customize and use for your email campaigns.  Save these templates to use over and over again so all of your messages are consistent!

4.  Segmented Lists and Personalization Features: Target those individuals on your list with messages that are most relevant to them.  This increases your click-thru and conversion rates – therefore increasing your ROI!  With ESPs you can easily insert your recipients’ name, company name, past purchase history and other information directly into the message or subject line!

5.  Automatic CAN SPAM Compliance:  ESPs make CAN SPAM compliance easy by automatically inserting your physical address and unsubscribe information in the footer of the email, as well as automatically removing unsubscribes immediately so that you are in compliance with the 10 day rule!

There are so many other features that make an ESP your top choice for your email marketing!  Give us a call and we can review more with you!

20 Tips to Get Your Content Seen on Facebook

Posted on Feb 23, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

I recently attended the Social Fresh conference in Tampa, FL and had the opportunity to hear some mind-blowing speakers.  One of them was Ellie Mirman from HubSpot.  She provided 20 tips on getting your content seen on Facebook.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds, but check out these great tips!

What is “News Feed Optimization”?

The news feed is the #1 most visible real estate on Facebook. It is customized to each user based on their network and their patterns of activity, like which of their friends they interact with the most. The news feed shows the top posts from a user’s network, filtering out more than 99% of content. So, the question is, how do you make sure your content makes it into that <1% of content securing real estate in the news feed?

Facebook’s Algorithm: EdgeRank

Facebook, unlike the super-secret Google, has shared their algorithm for ranking content on Facebook and filtering what appears in the news feed. The algorithm consists of three components:

1. Affinity – the number of times 2 people (or a person and a page) have interacted

2. Weight – the number of times users have interacted (commented, liked) with the content in question

3. Recency – the time since the content was posted, note that Facebook moves and changes very quickly, and my news feed, for example, never has content more than 24 hours old.

20 Tips to Get Your Content Seen on Facebook

With the understanding of how Facebook ranks and filters content, what can you do to make sure your content makes the cut? Here are 20 ideas.

  1. Post a variety of content to attract interactions from a higher percentage of your users, raising your affinity score.
  2. Focus on positive and fun content on Facebook. Sex sells.*
  3. Talk about Facebook – Facebook is the number one most shareable topic on Facebook.*
  4. Respond to comments that your fans post on your content to increase the number of interactions per post.
  5. Respond to comments that your fans post on your wall to increase your affinity score.
  6. Experiment with targeting posts to get a higher feedback score (percentage of impressions that turn into interactions).
  7. Post regularly, but not too frequently (more than once a day) to give each post a good chance of gaining traction.*
  8. Post content outside of main work hours – Facebook users interact more when they’re off the clock.*
  9. Include images on blog posts you publish to create a more eye-catching post.
  10. Don’t forget to write an appealing meta description for any links you post, because Facebook automatically pulls this in for links.
  11. Use share links on your blog articles and landing pages to encourage users to post your content directly.
  12. Integrate landing pages within Facebook to get higher conversion rates – Facebookers don’t like to leave Facebook.
  13. Post videos directly instead of links to articles with videos, so users can watch the video within Facebook.
  14. Include links in video descriptions to drive traffic back to your website.
  15. To share photos but protect your copyright and get better analytics, use Flickr integrated with your Facebook account.
  16. To share photos for maximum interactions, post photos directly to Facebook.
  17. Refrain from using complex language or jargon in your posts for maximum response.*
  18. Ask questions and specifically ask for feedback from your fans.
  19. Use Facebook Insights to measure which content performs the best on your specific page.
  20. Encourage user-generated content, including user-created photos, comments, or links.

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/9875/20-Tips-to-Get-Your-Content-Seen-on-Facebook.aspx#ixzz1EnHBPM43

See Ellie’s slides from Social Fresh: http://www.hubspot.com/social-fresh-tampa/

The Best of 2010 – Email Marketing Campaigns

Posted on Jan 5, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

Every year I see hundreds of great email campaigns sent from clients, and one of my favorite things about being an Account Manager is seeing how our clients utilize Digital Street’s email marketing platform to it’s fullest potential.

Below are five of my favorite email campaigns that were sent out through Digital Street. All of these email campaigns have a very clean feel to them, not too much clutter! It is also important for companies to maintain their brand identity by staying consistent. Sending out entirely new looking emails every other week is only going to distract your contacts from remembering your brand!

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Cosmetically Appealing

Short, sweet, simple, & sexy. The more organized an email campaign looks, the more attention it is going to receive. In general, people don’t have much time to read through your email. Stick to the main points that you want to get across so you don’t overwhelm the reader with too much information. The email on the left is very organized and the image suits the information perfectly. (It also kinda makes me a little hungry…)

*Hint: Keep the fonts within your email campaign basic and consistent! You don’t want to use a new font each time you start a new paragraph. This leads to fontophobia.

(Click image to enlarge)

No Such Thing as TMI

Emails really give you the opportunity to connect with your customers on a more personal level. You have the ability to automate happy birthday emails, include names within campaigns, and gain other information you might need for future segmenting purposes. You will notice that Guero’s Taco Bar always includes a link for contacts to update their data. In this particular email, Guero’s is wanting the recipient to update their information so he/she can receive a birthday surprise that is well worth opening!

(Click image to enlarge)

Keep It Relevant

You never want your reader to think, “What are they talking about?!”. This could ruin your reputation and have people’s eyes scanning for the Unsubscribe option rather than scanning through your beautiful email that you just worked so hard on. Keep in mind that people want to know about things that they can relate to. Stick to topics, such as holidays that are coming up, that will be relevant to a broad number of your target audience.

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Don’t Be A Bore, Link Some More!

I specifically like this email campaign because it includes many links within the campaign. As a company, you want people to interact within your email and be led to your website and/or somewhere related to what you are discussing.

(Click image to enlarge)

Easy Access to Social Media

One of the most important trends that has caught on this year is to include social media icons within your email campaign to build your online communities. This is a great way to start creating conversations with your clientele. Engaged users lead to loyal customers.

Digital Marketing in 2011

Posted on Dec 21, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

With the rise of digital marketing, it can leave you wondering how you can improve your web presence and where to start!  Let us give you some quick tips….

The Obvious Social Network Route

As the movie The Social Network hit screens, the time came to reflect on the phenomenal success of Facebook and other social media sites. Facebook has an estimated 500 million users and this is likely to increase even further. Twitter now has well over 100 million users and is attracting an average of 300,000 new users a day. This makes it plainly obvious as to your main 2011 social media strategy. Facebook seems to attract users in the ‘right’ age group for marketing purposes, so dedicate a considerable amount of your budget towards setting up campaigns both on Twitter and Facebook.

Video Kills The Behind The Times Company

Yet it is important to push yourself to the front of the queue when it comes to jumping on the video marketing bandwagon. A recent whitepaper by Cisco suggested that more than half of all web traffic will be video-related by 2014. The days of the 30 second advert are dying out with more and more consumers skipping these dull and unimaginative productions. Sites like YouTube need to used more frequently with thought provoking and lengthier adverts the key to success. If you want someone to buy your cereal, don’t depict a happy family with 2.4 children eating the product by the kitchen. Edgy, new and deep will sell in future where fast, predictable and cheesy once ruled.

Email And Mobiles

As one might expect, email marketing is moving with the times. An extraordinary 97% of American households use email so a well constructed email campaign will reap dividends. It is a fact that social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are being integrated with email. The smartphone, Android and iPhone are linking even more users to their mail. The challenge facing digital marketers is to find a way to tailor their campaign for customers who view their email on a mobile device. The best strategy is to use a tool such as Litmus to find out more about your audience and tailor your campaign to them. This is necessary because it is difficult to find a current strategy that will work well for all mobile users.

SEO Is Still King

Believe it or not however, despite the huge budgets set aside for the all of the above, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still top of the list when it comes to 2011 digital marketing tactics according to a poll carried out by Top Rank. Yet in order to get your content to the top of the search engine ladder, you still have to know your targets and audience. If you know your audience but not their triggers, start surveying. If you know what you want to market but have no idea to who, check out sites like eMarketer for market statistics. It should be remembered that no amount of marketing will work if your content is poor, sort it out. Oh, and avoid those nasty “please stay on my page and click on cancel for something special” pop-ups, these REALLY annoy consumers!

So where will this leave your marketing strategy for 2011?  All four of these pieces will make your marketing plan come together and keep up with the ever-changing trends for digital marketing.

Digital Street Featured in Nike Women Video

Posted on Nov 19, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Stephanie, our Director of Social Media, was one of 20 women chosen to participate in the Nike Women Make Yourself Movement.  As her first assignment, she was asked to post a blog on “What Makes Me” – and with typical “Stephanie fashion”, she chose to do a video instead!  Check it out below!  More videos will be coming, so be sure to check out the Nike Women Facebook page as well as our own!

Four Simple Ways to Collect Email Addresses

Posted on Nov 10, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Simple Ways to Collect EmailsThe bottom line is that people are not as willing to give out their email addresses as they used to be. So, businesses now have to think of easy and creative ways to collect emails while providing incentive to sign up.

1. Set out an Email Signup Sheet – All you need is pen and paper. It may seem a little old school with all the technology we have these days, but people will appreciate that they can sign up quickly and easily without all the hassle of getting online. Simply place a sign-up sheet at the check-out counter or main desk at your place of business and make sure it is visible for everyone to see. When customers check out, you can tell them about the special deals and updates they’ll receive by signing up.

2. Bucket O’ Business Cards – Not only do people love deals, but they love EXCLUSIVE deals that not everyone else gets. Put out a fish bowl, bucket, or basket at the main counter of your place of business and have some sort of an incentive for why someone would want to give your business their business card. For example, if you own a coffee shop, let your customers know that once a month you will draw a business card from the bucket, and the lucky winner will receive free coffee for a week! This leads to you getting a lot of business cards and customers becoming very excited for the chance to win your special deal.

3. Employee Walk-up- Creating communication between businesses and customers is key to building consumers trust. Businesses that strive for great customer service have the highest potential for success. While employees engage with customers, why not have them mention the great deals and updates they will receive by signing up for your emails? People trust people.

4. Set up a Webform- I know it sounds complicated, but it’s actually a really easy and almost effortless way to get people to sign up for emails. A webform goes on a webpage, such as your website or Facebook. It allows people to enter in information, such as their name, email address, and birth date. When people sign up, their information automatically goes into your Digital Street contact list.

Use Your “Inside Voice” In Social Media

Posted on Oct 18, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Social Media Voice

I think we can all recall our childhood of walking through museums and libraries and constantly being reminded to use our “inside voices” when taking field trips.  You are listening to the teacher or tour guide and speaking softly when talking with friends or asking questions.  Don’t you feel that the same applies to social media?

As individuals or businesses get started in social media, their first reaction is to start shouting out information to anyone who will listen about themselves or the products or services that they offer.  What’s the first word in the phrase “social media”? – “Social” – right?  We can’t be very social if we stand in a room full of people and shout out information without listening to what people are saying and even responding to their needs.  Maybe a review of “Field Trip Rules” is necessary!

Rule #1 – Listen And Learn
When beginning your social media strategy, take the time to stand back and listen.  What are people looking for and how could your business help them?  As you gather some of these ideas, start adding some helpful posts on your blog.  Once you do start interacting, you can always share your post with them, but most importantly these posts will help you stand out as a reputable source in your industry.

Rule #2 – Use Your Inside Voice
As you see areas for you to start conversing with people, the best way to jump into the conversation is to start with a whisper.  Offer a quick tip to see if you could help solve the problem.  No need to shout at them about your company and all that you offer when you first meet.  Remember, if you are talking on Twitter, you only have 140 characters and trust me…you don’t need to use them all!  A conversation starter could be to ask a question about their business or even an interest of theirs that you noticed in their profile.  By beginning the conversation slowly, your trust is built with your new connection.

Rule #3 – Don’t Roughhouse
Whether you are using social media as a means of customer service, lead generation, or a mixture of both, you are sure to run into some individuals that might say things you don’t want to hear.  Don’t be too quick to react, but take a step back and think of the potential dangers to your reputation if you push, pull, or say harsh words back to your online connections.  Always practice good manners, courtesy, and respect.

Don’t be caught in “social media timeout”….  Just practice the basic rules and you will be sure to enjoy engaging with your connections.  What rules could you add from your childhood?

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