E-mail is becoming an increasingly necessary part of loyalty programmes and integrated marketing plans, having many advantages over traditional communication channels, according to restaurant e-loyalty operator, Fishbowl.com.
E-mail's advantages are too numerous to be ignored: it is usually cheaper to operate, often more easily targeted (and more effective if targeted correctly), its results tend to be more measurable, it can achieve a positive return on investment (ROI) very quickly, it can be interactive, and it can help provide valuable customer feed-back.
As a working example of e-mail's increasing role in loyalty, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc has signed a two-year contract to implement Fishbowl's own Guest Loyalty programme in all of its 198 restaurants throughout North America.
Red Robin is using Fishbowl's e-mail loyalty platform to accelerate its branding message and build guest loyalty for its growing restaurant chain. The Guest Loyalty solution was designed to build a long-term relationship between a restaurant and its customers through frequent and relevant communications.
After signing up with the Red Robin eClub, patrons receive regular communications from the chain, including welcome messages, birthday rewards, and information about new menu items, store openings, and featured specials.
"After piloting Fishbowl in eight restaurants for almost a year, we saw proven and measurable results showing that e-mail marketing works," said Kim McBee, director of marketing for Red Robin. "Not only was our return on investment a motivator, but the e-mail marketing allowed us to interact with guests more often and in a more personalised way, so we could build a closer relationship with them."
"E-mail marketing has become a cornerstone of our customer relationship management (CRM)," said Fishbowl CEO, Scott Shaw. "Red Robin is embracing e-mail marketing based on its simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and its ability to retain and cultivate long-term customer relationships."
Why e-mail works
According to a survey conducted for Fishbowl by the research division of AOL, 50% of all respondents said they would definitely sign up for a restaurant e-mail loyalty programme, while another 38% said they might sign up.
Furthermore, Forrester Research's E-Mail Marketing Dialog reported that "Marketers report high conversion rates for retention e-mail sent to a company's in-house list of customers and prospects."
According to Fishbowl, the top ten uses of e-mail for restaurant loyalty programmes are: offers, menu changes, event invitations, customer feedback, new store openings, promotions, charity tie-ins, specials, notes from the executive chef, and cooperative marketing.