A Case for Paper-Based Email List-Building

Email marketing is a numbers game. The bigger your list, the bigger your results. For example, if you get a 5% return on your list of 5,000, 250 people will respond. Assuming a $30 average transactional value, that’s $7,500 in sales. Double your list size, and your sales uplift from email club members is now $15,000. As your list grows, so does the sales impact, and, most importantly to your staff, tips increase.

All the reason then to make list-building an operational focus for your restaurant company. This is not one-and-done, but an ongoing effort to grow your list. There are a slew of ways to build your list and you should tap into them all (or as many as your budget allows). However, the biggest bang for your list-building buck is onsite paper-based enrollment.

While your guests are still in the restaurant, ask them to join your email club. Once they’ve left the premises, your opportunity to enroll them drops dramatically.  “Paper sign-up slips are our number one means of enrolling new Raving Fans,” stated Andrea Von Utter, VP of Marketing at Miller’s Ale House. “And, while we have many other avenues through which guests may join, paper-based enrollment is still effective at Miller’s.” Here are some best practices for in-store enrollment:

  • SUPPLIES: Ensure adequate stock of enrollment forms and pencils and know where to get more.
  • COLLECTION: Define a place in each restaurant to collect completed enrollment forms and set a frequency (every 1 to 2 weeks) in which the completed forms are sent in using pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes to data entry service provider.
  • STAFF: Make sure that your staff – and particularly guest-facing staff members – understand their roles in list-building and can speak knowledgeably about the email club and its benefits and understand the upside for themselves:
    • When guests are waiting for a table or when seating guests, the host can tee it up by asking the guests whether they are email club members and, if not, promote membership and direct their attention to the sign-up slips.
    • The server or bartender should be sure to invite every guest to join the email club through the paper sign-up slips or through their mobile phone. Key is timing of the invitation – after orders are placed or when the check’s presented.
    • Finally, the managers need to set list-building goals for their staff, track results, and maintain a consistent focus on the location’s efforts through daily shift meetings where results are shared, and top performers are celebrated.
  • GUEST CONTESTS: Organize a contest in which guests drop completed email club sign-up slips into a fishbowl to enter to win a prize.
  • STAFF CONTESTS: Create incentives to grow their database with valid new members by rewarding top performers with, for example, cash or other prizes, choice of shifts, vacation days. This can be done at the store-level or at the company-level, pitting location against location or region against region.

Email marketing is an important tool for businesses of all sizes and database size will determine its success to your business. Growing your list onsite with paper-based enrollment– particularly for businesses with considerable guest-facing interaction such as restaurants and bricks-and-mortar retail – works.

About TDEC:
TDEC is a trusted business process outsourcing company, providing secure services to commercial businesses and local, state and federal government agencies for more than 60 years. Since 2001, TDEC has provided data entry services of paper-based opt-in enrollment forms – to date more than 100 million forms with multiple — fields supporting restaurant companies’ email marketing list-building efforts.

August 15, 2019