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Restaurant Direct Mail Marketing

Restaurant Direct Mail Marketing

There are a few industries where utilizing direct mail marketing is an absolute must. If you are in the business of restaurant and hospitality, this article will provide valuable information on how this channel can get you more patrons through the doors – and online!

We’ll explain why direct mail is such a relevant marketing channel for restaurants and bars, and we’ll go over some expert tips on do’s and don’ts straight from Modern Postcard’s direct mail specialists.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, have a look at this interesting fact from USPS®, which reveals that “85% of millennials take the time to look through their mail to make sure they’re not discarding useful information,” and “79% of millennials look forward to seeing what they’ve received in their mailbox.” This information is crucial for restaurant owners since millennials currently represent the largest group of consumers, a whopping 21.8 percent of the US population, according to Statista, followed very closely by Baby Boomers at 21.1% and Generation Z at 20.7%, respectively. All three generations welcome direct mail as part of their consumer behavior, such as using direct mail as a catalyst for shopping online. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, “51% of Americans use delivery services to purchase meals from casual dining restaurants and 26% order takeout or delivery at least once a week.” Direct mail, if used correctly, can drive consumers to choose your restaurant over other establishments.

The key word to remember when it comes to acquiring and retaining customers is convenience. We live in a world where convenience is king. Make it easy and attractive for consumers to choose your restaurant, and you’ve won half the battle. The quality of your menu and dining experience, which includes customer service, is of course, the other half.

Direct Mail Marketing for Restaurants – Ideas That Don’t Work

Too many images. It might be tempting to include as many images of food items as possible on a direct mail piece, but we caution restaurants against taking this route. Instead, pick one or two food items to visually showcase a sampling of your restaurant’s menu while shifting the focus on an attractive offer, such as a percentage off or a free dessert with dinner. The fun part is that this industry allows you to be quite creative with the kind of offer you might want to include, but the bottom line is that the offer far outweighs images of your food to convince someone to visit your establishment.

Multiple calls-to-action (CTAs). The thought here is to keep your intent clear. In other words, pick one action you want the customer to take and drive home that point clearly and concisely. Too many offers, numerous expiration dates, mix-and-match discounts, and varying deals can be confusing and may cause someone to disregard the mailer altogether. However, if your offer is clear and focused on one call-to-action, the chances of someone acting on it increase exponentially.

Small font sizes and lots of copy. Using too small a font size on a restaurant direct mail piece is an issue we see all too often. It’s tempting to include every single item on your menu, and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you have enough real estate to do so. Remember, you also have to include an offer, a call-to-action, contact info, and perhaps even a map of your location. The more things you want to add, the smaller the font tends to become. So, be mindful of copy size and you should be good to go.

Direct Mail Ideas for Restaurants – Strategies and Formats That Do Work

Whether you’re looking to create a postcard, or a tri-fold, or any other format, let’s look at some of the must-haves for a successful direct mail piece. The following is true for all formats:

Headline. Include a headline that draws attention and use words that indicate what you are trying to sell. In our case, the word taste is imperative as it implies this has something to do with food.

Subheadline. Our example mentions the name of the restaurant in the subhead versus the main headline. This is to show you that you don’t have to use your establishment’s name in the title of the piece in order to get your brand recognized. Here, we also link the name (The Broiler House) with the restaurant’s quality and ambiance – all in one short and to-the-point subhead.

Image. Again, make sure not to overexpose your customers by using too many images. It can easily get messy and look a bit desperate, trying to please every taste bud out there. Choose a nice image that really reflects the quality of your menu. It will set the tone for the rest of the menu!

Body Copy. Keep the copy focused on a few key topics. While it might be tempting to tell your brand’s story and go in-depth as to why your restaurant is the best, we recommend keeping the body copy close to the headline and subhead. Reiterate key points and leave it at that.

Call-To-Action. The call-to-action should be very straightforward. This is not the place to confuse customers as to what you want them to do. Ordering online, booking a reservation, and placing an order for catering are all acceptable calls-to-action. Whatever the case may be, the rule is to keep it simple and to only use one call-to-action per piece/message. Never add several CTAs to choose from, as this may deter someone from taking action at all.

Offer. Make the offer stand out. A great offer is usually the reason a person decides to act on the CTA. The only time it’s acceptable to have a bunch of different offers is if your direct mail piece includes coupons. You can design a row of different coupons, therefore making it ok to include various offers. However, should you choose not to include coupons, then a single offer is the way to go. We mentioned making it stand out. There are several ways you can accomplish this: use a bold color, or if the budget allows, consider using foil to give it that extra shine; place the offer in a way so that it’s impossible to miss; use a different font than the rest of the copy; make the offer larger than you normally would; draw attention to it by adding arrows that point to the offer. As you can see, there are many ways to go about this. Use your imagination, and don’t be scared to experiment a bit with the creative. Anything that can help you stand out is usually a good idea to try out.

Logo. Many times when we come across a postcard or brochure design where the logo is humongous. The secret to having your logo noticed is not its size but rather keeping it away from other design or copy elements. Give it some space; let it breathe. If there’s little room to do so, a lot of times, you can achieve the same thing if the logo is placed on a solid background.

Direct Marketing for food and restaurants

No matter if your establishment is a food truck, a brick-and-mortar restaurant, a coffee shop, a fast food place, a bakery, or an ice cream shop, odds are you’re going to need marketing to attract patrons and direct mail is a proven marketing channel to get your business noticed. According to the Data & Marketing Association, “Up to 90% of direct mail gets opened compared to only 23% for emails.” Here are some great direct mail formats to consider:

Panoramic Folded Cards – No matter what size you choose, these cards are excellent examples of the quintessential direct mail format to advertise your restaurant. With plenty of real estate, these cards offer a chance to really showcase your brand and menu with bright, high-resolution images on the front and back covers, while the folded aspect brings a sense of anticipation of what’s inside. Make sure you include exclusive offers with tight and clearly marked expiration dates to emphasize urgency. In addition, folded cards are easily mailed through USPS via our in-house mailing system and Postal Analytics program that identifies strategies for the fastest mailing and deepest postage discounts.

Postcards – We recommend using standard postcards as a way to stay top-of-mind with regular customers. It’s a cost-effective way to keep customers coming back for more, not to mention a welcomed surprise in the mailbox. Remember those millennials we mentioned at the beginning of this article? Well, “82% say receiving a handwritten letter, note or greeting card in the mail still has a lot of value for them.” Imagine what a postcard with one of your popular or new menu items can do for all the millennial taste buds in your community! Not sure where to start? Our designers are ready to create a beautiful, personal postcard that’s just right for your brand and customers. Give us a call for a quote or to simply get the conversation started at 800.959.8365.

Tri-Fold Brochures – These brochures are perfect for when you want your entire menu mailed to households in your neighborhood. They allow for a lot of copy mixed in with images and contact information. They fold to a convenient size that is easy to store in a kitchen drawer. The tri-fold is the most popular format for menus that are used frequently for food deliveries.

Door Hangers – Now, this is not considered direct mail, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention their marketing power. They might seem obvious and over-done; however, when a door hanger includes mouthwatering promotions that are too good to pass up, it’s hard to argue their value.

No matter where you’re at in the process of considering or finalizing your establishment’s direct mail piece, we can help you cross the finish line. From concept, design, and copy to printing and mailing your direct mail campaign, our specialists are standing by to help your business thrive. And for those who are interested in learning more about the power of direct mail, we welcome you to download our direct mail statistics guide.

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