Email Marketing Restaurant Marketing Social Media

Seven Reasons Why Restaurant Email Marketing Beats Facebook

restaurants-email-marketingThere is a social media marketing secret that no one ever talks about and it’s time you took notice. It’s really more a lie than a secret: Facebook is a great place to start when marketing to your guests.

Article after article is published with experts lauding the reach, cost and impact of leveraging social media actively. Unfortunately for those experts, Facebook just blew up that premise when they dramatically changed their algorithm and made it harder for your content to be displayed on a follower’s timeline.

Unquestionably, social media has potential to drive visits, engage guests and market directly to consumers. But only if your content is ending up in a follower’s timeline; otherwise no one sees it who isn’t already actively visiting your page.

So, here’s a truth for you: There is no better way to directly market your business to interested consumers than email marketing. Sure, it feels like a step backwards to be suddenly discussing email as a major part of marketing your operation. But review our seven reasons why it crushes social media and then take heed.

You own the address

With email you aren’t at the mercy of Facebook or your followers viewing habits to deliver your message. You control when you interact. If you do it right, you can insure that your emails arrive at the optimal time for reading based on the guests’ own behavior.

Nobody can limit your message

Twitter limits you to 140 characters (for now anyway), Facebook puts limits on what you can offer, and Instagram only gives you short clips & photos (no clickable links). With email you can include multiple pieces of content into one interaction, allowing the guest to choose what content they access. Ironically, email is also a great way to promote your social media presence.

Personalize your messages

The more information you collect about your guests the more you can deliver custom content to their email. The classic example is a birthday offer that invites them and their friends to visit your place for their birthday. But don’t limit yourself to just birthday offers. Modern email service providers offer sophisticated tools to tag and target guests with special offers that will appeal to them based on their behavior.

The guest is forced to interact

Let’s face it, even if you don’t open an email you receive, you still read the subject line and sender. As Facebook has made clear, you aren’t guaranteed to get in front of your followers unless you pay for it. Email puts the success of a campaign on your team’s marketing skills and not on mysterious coding.

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It’s cheaper than Facebook 

Now that you have to pay to be seen on your followers’ timelines, the only unassailable advantage to social media is all but gone. Depending on your list size, email marketing is very inexpensive and will remain so as the technology continues to scale.

Email is just as interactive as social media

Whether you do a survey, create a poll, include an invitation link or deliver custom content, email delivers interactivity that rivals social media. There are differences, of course, but they are limited to the ability to share or spread the message. Email certainly gives you that opportunity as well; it just takes a little more organizing to achieve it. Invite your guests to be your ambassadors and reward them for sharing your content and newsletter. With email metrics you can do that very easily.

Metrics, Metrics, Metrics

Unlike social media, you can know exactly how, when and where your email list members interact with your content. Additionally, you can qualify a guest’s interest in various programs you offer and use the metrics provided to target them.

Let’s be honest, Facebook isn’t going away and will remain a factor in how you reach and interact with guests. However, Facebook’s new approach will require you to pay for access to the audience you worked so hard to build. That alone provides sufficient incentive to explore other methods of connecting with your guests, and email is a natural choice. You can put time into Facebook and have no one see it unless you pay or you can put time into email and at least guarantee your guest sees your name and initial message.

The choice is yours, but the results will speak for themselves.


Be sure to check out this short video created by The Rail Media on three email marketing hacks for restaurants. The irony of it being on Facebook Live is well known to us.

* This post was originally published on The Rail

About the author

Andrew Jaffee

Andrew is an accomplished and respected restaurant industry professional with over 26 years of experience focusing on many aspects of small business management ranging from human resources to marketing - operations to accounting. Prior to The Rail Media, Andrew managed and owned a variety of concepts from quick service to fine dining and spent the first 20 years of his career as a restaurant operator.