With the advent of smart phones, blackberries, text messaging, etc... email marketing is fast becoming one of the fastest ways to reach customers - even if they're not in front of a computer!

I'm sure you've heard of "word of mouth" marketing/advertising, but what about "word of mouse" - the idea is exactly the same, but with the advent of the internet and social networking, things become easier to share, and easier to share with multiple people at the same time. The goal is to combine the two and grow exponentially, so if person A gets your email about 2 for 1 margaritas on Friday night, they will pass it on to 5 friends, 2 of whom will invite a friend, souse, co-worker, etc, 2 of whom will pass the email on , and so on down the line. So by creating value and a reason to visit, you can harness the power of word of mouth and word of mouse together to grow your business.

Planning an effective email campaign can really boost your sales and company awareness both online and offline, but it does require some up front planning and forward thinking. To get an better idea of your goal in mind use the following questions:

* Do I have a Email list and/or a service to manage lists and send out mass emails to those lists?

* What can I offer to people that will compel them to join my mailing list? (Enter your email and we will enter you in a drawing to win a free dinner for two, etc)

* Do I offer any weekly food or drink specials, live music, etc that you can invite people on your list to come join you for?

* Do I have a well designed newsletter template designed to grab and hold your readers attention, and a clever subject line to ensure that your email gets opened?

The basic idea is this: create a clever way to extract prospective diner's emails, making sure that there is plenty of value and incentive to do so. Then become someone who they look forward to hearing from, share recipes, stories, special events at your restaurant, etc... by doing so you will become a part of their lives and when the age old question of "what's for dinner' comes up, you're going to be one of the top options.

All this can be accomplished with a few hours work and a little creativity, and can really help build your business. Feel free to contact me for further help.

P.S. I am in the process of writing a free e-book on how to properly utilize the internet to grow your business, and would love to hear some subjects that are of concern to restaurateurs. If you have any suggestions as to subjects that you would like to see touched upon, or to get a free copy of the book when it's finished (hopefully another week or two), feel free to drop me a line and let me know.. many thanks!

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Just an addition to my prior post, I wrote this in response to another post on blogging in another group and thought it could be a helpful addition to this, so here tis:

Adding an opt-in email form to your blog/website. This is very simple and once you have a list, you can then email your list with dining specials, recipes, live music, whatever. Here's how it's done:

1. Set up an account with a mass email company - I personally use iContact (www.icontact.com). You can set up an account for free and it only costs $10-20 per month to maintain, depending on the number of subscribers you have.

2. Generate a code for your sign up sheet - it may sound complicated but they can walk you right through the process. You set it up how you want it, and can even add an autoresponder that will send an email to people who sign up thanking them and conveying your message.

3. Take that code and copy/paste it into the back end of your blog - on blogger you go to customize, then layout, then click on "add a gadget", then choose "html/javascript". From there just paste the code and you're good to go. (It's usually a good idea to enter your name and email to test that it's working)

4. Offer an incentive for people to enter your email (i.e. a drawing to win a free dinner for two, or 50% off your next bill).

5. Send things of value, not just promotional offers. This will put you in better standing with your list and increase the percentage of opens that you get.
Jason,

Excellent post ! I like "word of mouse".

I haven't worked in the restaurant sector, but spent many years in travel and tourism.
We used email marketing, too. Sometimes, we were able to get customized
"web flyers" and we were able to email to clients or potential clients.

It seemed more effective than the direct mail, and it was cost efficient, too.

Keith
Jason,

I would like a copy of your book, when finished.

Keith
Keith,

I just sent you a friend request and will let you know as soon as I am finished with it. Glad you liked the post! Talk to you soon...

Jason
Great post! I agree with every point made. The Internet is a low cost way of marketing your business to new and existing clients. I would like a copy of your ebook too!

As a social media specialist, I set these types of services up for my clients and find that they do see an increase in business and pay less to do so, which is an added bonus.

Thanks,
Janet

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