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It Pays to Use an Email Marketing Service Provider

Even in Lean Times, Investing in Email Marketing Can Be Smart Business

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Even the most successful restaurants are usually running lean operations. Employee head count is low, and servers, chefs and managers are extremely busy. In an industry where everybody is used to wearing many hats, it’s tempting to try to develop an email marketing program on your own. And it’s important to bring this up because 99% of the time, going it alone in email marketing is a waste of time and can affect how your customers view you.

Low Cost and Lots of Benefits

First, as mentioned in "Why Email Marketing Is a Good Idea for Most Caterers,” email marketing providers offer their services on the cheap. Email Marketing is the most cost effective marketing solution out there and delivers huge ROI. $40.56 returned for every dollar spent in 2011. - Direct Marketing Association.

Second, you get a lot of value for your dollar. It’s not just money well-spent; it’s money that will yield you marketing dividends over time. Here are some ways that email marketing companies will provide you with service superior to what you’ll get on your own.

Mailing List Development and Management

A standard email program only allows you to send messages to a small number of addresses at one time. It may give you some email address list building and management tools, but they’ll be pretty rudimentary. When people change their email addresses or opt out of your email marketing program, you or someone who works for you will need to go in and change addresses and records manually.

On the other hand, with an email marketing service provider, you can create and send messages to lists with many more addresses than the 20 or so that a standard email program typically allows. Fishbowl and other providers also have systems in place to clean up lists over time and automate the processes of adding new subscribers and tracking accounts from which messages “bounce,” indicating that those addresses are no longer active, and removing people from your lists when they unsubscribe. With Fishbowl and other email service providers, it’s much easier to create and refine lists that fit with segments of your current and prospective customers. This makes it easier to develop communications tuned in to the needs and interests of their audiences—which in turn makes their audiences more likely to do business with your company.

Message Personalization

Most standard email programs do not allow you to personalize messages with the recipient’s name in the subject line or body content of the email. Fishbowl and other email marketing services do allow you to personalize messages in this way. This small feature can make the message itself seem more personal and friendly—and its recipient more likely to open and read it.

Professional Email Templates

With a standard email program, you have very little formatting control. It’s extremely difficult to create email message templates that look professional and comply with all current laws and best practices for email. Virtually all email marketing service providers today offer their customers several different templates, all professionally designed and compliant with laws and regulations governing online business as well as current best email practices.

Providers like Fishbowl allow you to include your logo and visual identity from your website and other marketing collateral in your email messages. This leads customers to view your brand as cohesive and professional. People are more likely to trust companies with quality communications, and quite frankly, without a degree or years of work experience in Web and email design, it’s tough to compete with what a lot of email marketing services today offer.

Results Tracking

Once you send your marketing email message, where does it go? If you go it alone, that question will be a difficult one to answer, apart from any error messages you receive informing you that an address is no longer active. On the other hand, with many marketing email service providers, you’ll get a much more detailed picture of your message’s travels that begin when you click send. For example, Fishbowl tracks bounces, or messages that never make it to the intended recipients, SPAM reports, instances when recipients opt out of future communications, opens, click-through rates (CTRs) to your website and other online destinations and forwards of your message by its recipients to other people. With this information, it’s much easier to assess and retool your email marketing program as needed, making it ultimately much more successful.

MusthaveMenus offers restaurant email marketing solutions, powered by Fishbowl.

Written by: Kate Hough

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