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If you deliver, or offer online ordering, you are building a customer database every day—just by doing business as usual. Are you taking advantage of this data and the marketing capabilities of your POS system?

While it's important for your business to win new customers, statistics show that marketing to existing customers can be more cost-effective.

In this issue we look at tips for targeting existing customers with economical e-marketing.

1. Collect Email Addresses

Obviously, this is step one in planning your email campaign. Here are a few ideas for obtaining customer emails:

  • At the till. Ask customers to fill in a simple form giving you permission to email news and offers. 
  • On the phone. Train order takers to ask: "We send out special promos to regular customers by e-mail. Would you like to receive them?"
  • By forwarding. In your emailed offers, ask customers to forward the email to friends. Include a link to an online sign-up form, or instructions for how to give permission, so the friend can be added to your list.
  • Online. This is probably the easiest way to collect emails, but be sure you make it clear customers are opting in to receive promotional offers. If you use SpeedDine,  request that the "Require Email Address for Guest Ordering" and "Opt in to News and Offers" settings in SpeedDine Admin be turned on.

2. Keep a Clean Database

Lots of email addresses don't do you much good unless they have been entered correctly in the POS. This happens automatically with online orders, but for other order types you may need to emphasize to staff the importance of entering correct addresses (both email and mailing) in the correct place (touch Options on the Customer screen to enter email). Fields like Delivery Instructions and Special Notes should never be used for address info. 

Consider deleting customers who have not ordered in more than six months. Redemptions for customer offers tend to drop sharply if the customer has not visited in more than four months, and deleting old customer records can free up database space and make those phone numbers available for reuse.

Speedy Tip
Back up your database first, and then use the "Clear customers with no order since" field on the Customer Options, Utilities tab to remove old records.

3. Don't Be a Spammer!

While emailing your customers with exclusive offers and insider info is a great way to make them feel special, spamming them with unwanted junk mail could have the opposite effect, and could even be illegal in your jurisdiction. That's why you need to be aware of anti-spam regulations like CAN-SPAM (in the US) and CASL (in Canada). Regulations may specify that you include a link to unsubscribe in the email, or that you have permission before even sending email. SpeedLine can help by recording opt-in for each customer.

Speedy Tip
Select the "Prompt for E-Mail Opt-In" setting in Store Manager Customer Options to record your customers' permission to receive promotional messages. The opt-in status is shown on exported Store Manager customer reports.

4. Consider a Marketing Service Provider

The Mass E-mail tool in SpeedLine is easy to use, and best of all, it's free. Found under Store Manager Settings in the People group, E-Mail can be used to send a text-only message to all the customers in your database, or only to those who have opted to receive email from you.

While the Mass E-Mail tool is great for getting out a quick message to your customer base, it is basic. Managing unsubscribes and segmenting customers into separate lists for targeted emails can become complicated very quickly, so why not leave it to the pros? When you work with an email marketing service, they often help design the email, include your branding and images, and manage subscribers. If they specialize in restaurant marketing, they may even have some ideas for appealing offers. 

Once you choose a marketing service, you can provide them with a list of addresses by running a customer report in Store Manager and choosing the Export Format. Just make sure that the service understands all information you provide should be held as confidential, securely managed to ensure that it is not misused, and securely deleted upon completion.

A quick Google search will turn up many e-marketing service providers. Here's list to get you started.  

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