Restaurant and Retail Marketing: Send Birthday Emails

By Marc Kline

Laptop and GiftsOne of the most important challenges facing restaurant and retail owners is in drawing back return customers to their locations.

Advertising for new customers can be very expensive, while relying on customers to take initiative to come back after a single visit can be risky and unprofitable business.

A popular, tried and true way to boost return business throughout the year is to send personalized birthday emails to customers.

Make Customers Feel Special on Their Birthdays

Personalization is one of those “X factors” in marketing, where singling someone out from a group in a way that reminds them of their individuality can pay great dividends.

What better time of year to single someone out and make them feel special than their birthday? This is when many of us are more than happy to take a break, relax our egos a bit, and celebrate ourselves.

What better time of year to single someone out and make them feel special than their birthday?

Some of us are also willing to spend (or have someone else spend) some extra money on things like gifts and special birthday dinners.

A taylored and targeted offer can be just the thing to make someone feel special and remember us when they’re making the spending decisions surrounding their special times.

Step 1: Collect the Necessary Information

Sending birthday emails is simple.

We just need to collect just two things from our customers at our locations and/or websites:

Their email addresses
Their birthdays

At your location, keep subscription cards at your counter and/or provide them with the bill to dining customers.

On your website, you can simply add a field to your signup form asking for birthday information.

Step 2: Schedule Monthly Birthday Emails

Once we’ve started to collect this information, all we need to do is schedule monthly messages to cover the birthdays of each month.

If you’re using AWeber, just segment your list creating what is called a “view” before and schedule them:

Send Your Customers Birthday Email

By giving customers another reason to get your email newsletter, advertising birthday specials can help us grow our list of subscribers. Surprising them with special incentives to return to your location boosts business and helps to maintain a profitable subscription.

If you’ve been racking your brain thinking of ways to use your restaurant or store’s list and bring back customers, consider adding a birthday email to your campaign today.

Just Because We Publish, Doesn’t Mean You Read

By Marc Kline

Between our blog, knowledge base, and live seminars, we offer an abudance of information covering a wide range of email best practices from different angles and through different mediums.

The depth and detail of these resources is expansive, and we’re continuously adding to them.

As much as we’d love to have each and every reader browse through it all, there’s so much information published that even now, it wouldn’t be possible to get through it all in an afternoon or possibly even a day.

If that were our only option, we might consider putting a hold on publishing new information, focusing on organizing and pushing the older information while it’s relevant. Fortunately, it isn’t…

Efficiently Leveraging Information

Like we preach in these resources, information needs to be provided in a consumable way for prospects, customers, or anyone who finds it if it is to be effective to promote the goals of our business.

Often times, this is where technologies like email and RSS come into play, so that information can be pushed to subscribers in “digestible bits” they can easily consume.

That’s why we offer both email and rss subscriptions to our blog and why, as an email service, we provide an rss to email feature for our customers.

A Brief Guide to Email Best Practices

So, pushing information over time is beneficial, especially when detail and depth are indispensible, as is often the case when we’re trying to educate our audiences.

But sometimes a resource summing up and abstracting the most important pieces of a larger whole is useful, especially for newcomers who may feel overwhelmed by an abundance of starting points.

A new article in our Knowledge Base collects some of the best and most important email marketing practices we’ve been writing and talking about for years.

New Years is just a few days away, so it’s a great time to make some resolutions about our email campaigns.

Use this article to focus on what’s most important for your campaigns.

Little known fact: there’s an RSS feed available for the Knowledge Base that provides updates on new articles as they are published.

Another Holiday Tip: Geo-Targeting To Boost Relevance

By Justin Premick

Quick thought and a how-to inspired by a reaction to our recent post on holiday greetings.

Over at her Net Profits Today blog, Rosalind Gardner made a great point about the lack of targeting that often plagues marketing campaigns (particularly those sent around this time of year):

I received an Inbox full of “Happy Thanksgiving” emails on or about the 4th Thursday of November. That would have been nice except for the fact that I live in Canada and we celebrate Thanksgiving on the 2nd Monday in October… so those greetings came about 6 weeks late.

Those marketers need to figure out how to parse their lists geographically and send their messages accordingly.

She’s absolutely right. Fortunately, it’s not hard for even the most basic email marketing campaign to do this.

“But I Don’t Ask My Subscribers Where They’re Located!”

Not a problem. You can target subscribers geographically based on their IP address.

Among other things, you can use this to target subscribers located in a specific country and broadcast to them, making your message appropriate for their location.

In the example above, marketers could have included Thanksgiving-related content (greetings, sales/coupons, etc) in messages they sent to Rosalind and other Canadian residents from late September to early October. Then, in November, they could shift that content into messages sent to their US-based subscribers.

See How To Target Subscribers Geographically

In this short video, I show you how to employ simple geo-targeting to segment subscribers by country. You can just as easily use this to segment by other geographic data like:

State (or Region)
Latitude and Longitude

RSS Subscribers: there should be a Flash video below. If not, please click here to watch it on our site.

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Need to Know When to Geo-Target?

Check out our holiday marketing calendar for ideas!

Use Geo-Targeting Responsibly

Now, IP-based geographic targeting is not perfect. It makes a judgment based on where your subscriber connects to the Internet, which may not match their exact physical location.

That said, in my experience it does a pretty good job of targeting subscribers, and it’s a heck of a lot better than not targeting at all. And it has the distinct advantage of not requiring your subscribers to fill out a mile-long signup form (and as we discuss in our web form seminar, the more you ask people to provide, the fewer of them will do so, and do so accurately).

For the record: I’m still against sending empty holiday greeting emails, but if you’re going to reference the holidays in an email, geographic targeting can help you to do so more effectively.

Do Your Post-Purchase Emails Alienate Customers?

By Justin Premick

crowd_of_people.pngIt happens all too frequently.

A business puts in the time and expense of getting a customer to their website or store, establishes trust and credibility, and gets that person to make a purchase. Which brings them to that critical first post-purchase contact.

Do they use it to provide more value? To reinforce the buying decision? Show the customer how the purchased product is even more valuable than they thought?


3 Tips to Target Your Subscribers Better

By Marc Kline

To achieve the best results we can with email marketing, it is imperative that we write both to and for our audience. In order to do that, we need to recognize that each of our subscribers is unique, often in significant ways.

If we are mindful of this, we can better:

  • Write compelling content
  • Segment our campaigns
  • Write compelling content

Ultimately, we would do better to constantly put ourselves in the shoes of our subscribers when considering these factors. Let’s take a look at three examples of what I mean by this.