March 16, 2007



I do get this question a lot. I understand why marketing executives and restaurant operators are asking it. The really interesting thing, to me, is that I have never once heard a guest of a restaurant complain about too many email messages from a restaurant. I have never one time had to throttle back a restaurant owner from sending too many campaigns. Yet still they all ask, “How many is too many?” “Is one campaign a week too much?”

The inference here being that they are planning on sending a large number, and they just want to make sure they don’t send too much.
The funny thing is there is a HUGE difference in the enthusiasm level at the beginning of an email marketing program and about 3 to 5 months in…

I think the better question to ask is, “How few is too few?”

My company, Spillover, Inc., has designed 1000’s of campaigns and delivered MILLIONS of email marketing messages. Over the course of this experience I’ve learned that motivation to send campaigns wains at about month three. We have a difficult time getting our clients to remain consistent with their email messages. We try to make it as quick and easy as possible. We offer a simple online form and the option to call us directly, but it doesn’t work.

Could it be that the value of doing an email marketing campaign isn’t a felt-value?

Could it be that the restaurant Owners aren’t that enthused because they DON’T really get a pop from the whole email thing?

Could it be that restaurant people are inconsistent, unfocused and get lazy about their business?

Could be exactly what customers are thinking when they only get one lousy email message every 3 to 5 months!

My point is that it is possible to underwhelm customers with random messages every 3 to 5 months. When this happens you leave the customer wondering how and when you were given their information, and “why now” and a whole bunch of other hazardous thoughts.

So here are some tips of frequency for email marketing…

1. Whether its once a day, a week or month tell your customer what the deal is and stick to it.

2. Send the same ‘type’ of message each time. If you write articles, stick with articles. If you send two sentence “reminders” stick with it.

3. Once a day is too ambitious for a restaurant.

4. Once a week is too ambitious for a restaurant.

5. Once every two-weeks (twice a month) is doable but only for the VERY ambitious.

6. Once a month very consistently is the best bet, but it’s still hard. BEWARE!

7. Every other month? You might be a slacker. Don’t even try email marketing.

Here are a few tips on How to stay motivated and consistent….

1. Sit down with a calendar. Plot out when you will send your emails.

2. Write the subject lines for all 12 email messages.

3. Email them to with a check for $3600 and be done until next year 🙂

4. I was only half-kidding on #3. The point is to do as much UP-Front work as you can.

5. Create a detailed system for everything. Apoint 1 person to “own” the system and make it happen each month.

6. Set up a reminder in your Outlook or on your Mobile Phone. Have it ping you on email campaign day.

7. Associate it. Every second-Tuesday is the manager meeting? Make it the email marketing day, too!

The absolute #1 thing you must do is commit to consistency.

If you choose to NOT follow through you are choosing to NOT succeed at email marketing.

But when executed with consistency you’ll soon find that happy place where the only word that comes to mind as you think about email marketing will be, “GRAVY.”


P.S. There is a ton more of this type of thing in my audio book titled,

“The Restaurant’s Guide to the Internet” Download an excerpt or buy it, download it and listen to it.


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