Direct mail for restaurants is an integral part of any hospitality company’s marketing campaign, regardless of size or budget.
The restaurant business is a highly competitive one. You’re vying for the attention of the dining public, and there are so many different factors that go into play when it comes to building a base of patrons and attracting new ones. Every aspect is important. Whether it’s food quality, staff, customer service, dining room decor, menu pricing, delivery options, or anything else, it all plays a role in the success of your business.
Without a doubt, one of these aspects of running a successful restaurant is marketing. Arguably one of the most important, marketing your business is integral to ensuring customers know that you’re out there and that you welcome their patronage.
Marketing takes many forms, such as television and radio spots, social media advertising over the internet, and even traditional print advertising in local newspapers. Yet there’s one even more effective marketing method that many establishments might not even consider, despite its incredible effectiveness: direct mail for restaurants.
Yes, That’s What We Said
“Direct mail for restaurants?” you might say. “But that doesn’t make any sense! It’s not like we’re a retail store!” This is true — restaurants aren’t the type of businesses where you welcome customers to come in, browse shelves, and check out with their purchases before going on their merry way. Restaurants and eateries operate on hospitality-based principles, after all.
It’s absolutely true that while there are some superficial similarities between a restaurant and a retail establishment, they are two very different business paradigms. Yet despite that, using direct mail to market a restaurant can be just as effective as using it to market a retail store. In fact, in many instances, direct mail marketing can provide the kind of enhanced support for restaurants that simply can’t or won’t ever apply to a retail store! How’s that for a shocker?
No Surprises Here: Direct Mail Marketing Works
And yes, before we get any further, let’s make one thing abundantly clear: direct mail marketing is an incredibly effective advertising method. This often seems like a counter-intuitive point to make, considering how print marketing is one of the oldest methods of advertising known to man. In fact, only good old word-of-mouth is older! Yet despite how distinctly old-fashioned direct mail printing is, it’s just as effective as more modern, 21st-century methods. In some cases, direct marketing is even more effective.
How much more effective are we talking? Research has shown that the response rates to direct mail versus other marketing methods can sometimes be astounding. Email marketing, for example, has around an 0.1 percent response rate according to research; online display advertising, social media, and paid search marketing aren’t much better at 0.2 percent, 0.4 percent, and 0.6 percent respectively, according to the same research study. Meanwhile, direct mail response rates are massive in comparison with an average of around 5.1 percent. Specific types of direct mail, such as letter-sized, had an astounding 15 percent response rate!
Crafting Your Restaurant’s Specific Direct Mail Campaign
Now that it’s clear just how incredible a tool direct mail marketing can be, it’s time to start thinking about how it can help your restaurant or eatery reach the next level in terms of popularity and success.
There are a couple of different tactics to employ when it comes to designing direct mail for restaurants, but two of the best ideas when it comes to content are undoubtedly mailing out restaurant menus and mailers with coupons, specials, or deals.
Right Into the Takeout Menu Drawer
Direct mail from local restaurants almost never gets thrown out by recipients. In fact, in the case of restaurants who specialize in takeout-friendly foods like pizza places and Chinese food, a direct mailer that includes as comprehensive a menu as possible often becomes a cherished household item that occupies one of two important locations.
There’s only one place better for your restaurant’s direct mailer than a customer’s kitchen’s takeout menu drawer to be perused whenever they start feeling hungry, and that’s directly on their refrigerator door. Either place is coveted by restaurants, and it’s a mark of distinction to be sure. But you can’t ever occupy such a space unless you send those direct mailers out complete with your menu, can you?
Coupons, Specials, and Deals, Oh My
It doesn’t take a marketing genius to realize that using direct mail can drum up all sorts of business for your restaurant. But simply announcing your presence to the world isn’t always enough to entice patrons to come into your dining room or to call in takeout orders for pickup or delivery. Just like any other retail business, it’s important to run occasional deals and specials; what better way to let local prospective customers know about them than by running a direct mail campaign?
Let’s face it: direct mailers are perfect for announcing new and upcoming deals and specials that you’ll be rolling out in the hopes that you’ll pique a prospect’s curiosity and inspire them to place an order or come in for a meal. Mailers are also ideal for distributing promotional coupons for takeout or order in customers as well, as nothing inspires customers to try out a new restaurant or go back to one they haven’t been back to in some time.
Food Photography for the Win
Including some high-resolution photographs of your menu items can lure customers directly to your door or carry-out window. You’ve most certainly had hunger pangs when seeing a picture of a delicious meal. Your direct mail images are worth a thousand words.
…if the photos whet their appetite, and everything looks delicious, not only will they want to visit your restaurant, their order size may also be larger than it would be otherwise.GourmetMarketing.net
Hiring a professional food photographer is well worth the money. If you have a high-quality camera and want to try it yourself, here are a few tips:
- Use natural light. Cloudy days help create a soft, diffused light.
- Use props. Herbs, spices, glasses, and linens speak to the origin of the dish.
- Choose a neutral background. Complement the dish rather than overpower it.
- Shoot from the best angle. Shooting from above allows you to include details and is great for eliminating distracting backgrounds.
- Use contrasting colors. If the food is dark, use white plates. Add flowers or plants to make it more interesting.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Whether you want to send out takeout menus, coupon circulars, or anything else, you first have to design what your direct mailer is going to look like. This can be a challenge if you’re more used to writing down recipes than you are with laying out attractive advertising flyers. This is why your best bet is to partner with a professional print house in your area that can help you every step through the process.
The best print providers can do so much more than take an image and run off a few thousand copies. They can help you design your marketing materials to be as attractive as possible, offer you the most appropriate printing options, and then even help fulfill your order by mailing out your finished products as well. This saves you significant time, energy, and money in the long run, making your choice of print partner an important facet of your next marketing campaign.
Las Vegas Color Graphics: The Perfect Partner for Your Restaurant’s Direct Mail Marketing
Here at Las Vegas Color Graphics, we know a thing or two about direct mail marketing. We’ve been the Las Vegas area’s local print house for the last 40 years, providing our skills and expertise to countless businesses in need of design, printing, and fulfillment services, and that means we’ve got the experience to help turn your dreams into reality.
Our expert graphic design team will work with you one-on-one to ensure your mailer looks and feels professional, and our 24-hour-a-day print cycle means your materials will be ready to go in no time at all. We’ll even mail out your marketing materials ourselves to save you even more time and money.
Don’t trust the livelihood and success of your restaurant to just anyone. Instead, partner with a print company you can rely on. Contact us today and see how we can bring even more success to your business!