Email Marketing

Personalization Matters in Restaurant Email Marketing

Cinch email from

I hadn’t planned on revisiting restaurant email marketing this week.

But an email I received this morning changed that.

Check out this screenshot. What’s wrong with this email should jump out at you immediately.

I think what makes this one so ironic — and it’s the reason I didn’t blur out the sender’s name — is that it came from Klout. Klout, if you’re not aware, specializes in helping people discover their influence via social media and leverage that. LOL, as the kids used to say. (What do they say now?)

It’s kind of odd that they couldn’t pull my name in via my Klout profile.

And here’s the funny thing. We all receive emails that have our names perfectly sprinkled into conversational sentences as though the email was handcrafted and beechwood-aged for you and me, personally. But we all know that it’s done via tags like {First Name} or [Username]. And we’re all okay with that.

I’m an advocate for restaurants capturing transaction data and building customer profiles, but it starts with the basics.

I’m an advocate for restaurants using a real customer relationship management (CRM) platform to trigger behavior-based messaging, but it starts with getting the little things right.

Whether your restaurant has five locations or 505, append basic demographic data to your email subscribers — your so-called “VIP” or “Insiders” or “Preferred” club members. Over time, ask them to edit their profiles — get their first names. Get their last names. Get their gender. Get their income level. Get their zipcode. Their preferences at your restaurant.

Read:  Email Promotions: 4 Crucial Reminders Before Clicking ‘Send’

Then, uh, use them correctly in your messages. Don’t let the database tags take over. At least use fun or funny placeholders!

Reward customers for giving you their information, and you’ll eventually be able to branch out from there. Use the information intelligently — to segment your list and send highly targeted emails and other messages to that list.

But get the marketing basics right. {First Name} just doesn’t cut it.

About the author

Brandon Hull

Brandon is the original founder of He has helped thousands of restaurants implement innovative marketing strategies, campaigns, and tactics by incorporating new technology, in order to attract loyal guests.