Every restaurant is competing for business. But pizza restaurants are not like fine dining. People like to try new things when going out to dinner at a fine dining institution. But, those same people are mostly inclined to call or order online from their favorite pizza place. If you lose a customer to a competing pizzeria, it may be hard to get them back. That’s why staying top of mind is critical in this business. The proven way to do this is a robust e-mail marketing practice. Specifically, there are core e-mail campaign types that you need to be doing today to make sure you keep your customer base:

#1 Customer Retention

Have you ever had a regular customer completely disappear off the face of the Earth? It happens, we aren’t judging. Maybe they moved. Maybe they don’t eat pizza anymore. Maybe they had a terrible experience at your restaurant and decided to never come back. How can you know for sure? Well, you can’t. But there is a way to entice them back.

Let’s say your missing customer has been off the radar for 30 days. Send them an email blast with an offer for $3 off their next order. This is an attempt to persuade them to come back and become your regular again. The cost of a lost customer is big compared to the cost of such an offer. If, your valued customer is still nowhere to be seen after 60 days, send them a coupon for $4 off their next order. Worst case scenario, they hit 90 days. You’re going to give a strong, final effort to get them back and offer $5 off on their next order. Again– the acquisition cost is tiny in comparison to your gain if they return as a regular customer.

#2 Customer Appreciation

Another opportunity to refocus your customer’s attention is an appreciation campaign. Picture this, you try a new pizza shop and you are hesitant on what to get so you order a small cheese pizza. Upon check out, the cashier asks if you would like to be a member of their loyalty program. You give your email address and carry on with your night. The next day you wake up to a customer appreciation email, thanking you for giving the pizza shop a try and offering a free order of breadsticks. It doesn’t seem like much, but most customers will feel acknowledged and will certainly keep you in mind when the mood for pizza strikes.

Now that you’ve established a foundation for a relationship with your customer, you can now build upon it. But how? A customer’s birthday is next week and you choose to send a personalized email offering them $5 off an order placed during their birthday week. Even if they don’t choose to redeem the offer, we’re sure that they will feel appreciated by you recognizing their birthday.

Competition is everywhere in the restaurant industry. Acquiring new customers and bringing them on as regulars is as important as ever. Think about the lifetime value that will be gained from that regular, is it worth a free order of breadsticks to acquire a customer for life? Definitely! Run some tests and see what offers work best for your area. New customer acquisition is key in the competitive restaurant marketplace.

#3 Informing the Customer

Even though restaurants are known for having hours that go beyond the standard 9 to 5, there are still occasions in which they close. Think back to the last major weather event you had in your area. Was it a massive snowstorm? Torrential downpour and flooding? A sweltering heatwave? Whatever the case may be, how did you let your customers know you would be closed? Whether it be a message on your website, an email blast to your customers, or a post on Facebook, you owe it to your customers to keep them informed.

You also owe it to yourself, and your business, to inform your customers about any and all new menu items. Think about it. How many times have you spent time putting together a new menu item, but no one takes notice and orders it? If there is a new item on your menu, and you don’t promote it or inform your customers, how are they supposed to know about it? A simple solution is an email blast with a description and a picture featuring the new item. Your customers will greatly appreciate being in the loop and know what is going on, so they do not experience any lapses in customer expectations.

#4 Recurring Offer Campaigns

It’s 2018 and your customers are bombarded with advertisements and offers from all types of restaurants. Whether it’s a price promotion or a limited time offer, the competition is everywhere.

An effective way to remain top of mind for your customers is to send them recurring offers. Maybe it’s every week or every other week, the frequency is up to you. It is these types of offers that will keep your customers engaged and keep them coming back. These are not meant to be large discounts–save those for new customer acquisition efforts. These are small offers, but they are frequent and they tell your customers that you are constantly working to win their business.

For many people there is a perception that email marketing is difficult to set up and not worth pursuing, but that is not the case. We’ve reviewed four different campaigns that you could, and should, be running. They are simple concepts that can garner a lot of success in the fierce competitive scope of the restaurant industry. Often times your customers want to be recognized and appreciated.  Something as simple as a recurring offer, a birthday coupon, and/or keeping them informed may not seem like much, but it will mean a lot to your customers!