Lots of small food service businesses are paying third party tech companies for tools and solutions that provide them with coveted customer data. Large companies like Starbucks and McDonald's are spending a fortune building loyalty apps that collect their customer data. Everyone in the industry knows this is a huge advantage, but does everybody know why? What are you even supposed to do with this customer data once you have it?
This is a simple guide that will give you the blueprint to turn the most important piece of customer data, the customer's email address into a free customer retention funnel.
A customer comes into your business for the first time. Their experience was amazing and they leave excited and happy with lots of enthusiasm for returning again in the future. You are excited about the prospects of adding a regular to your customer base. Your customer goes on their way and those emotions begin to fade from their memory as they go about their life. The next time they get hungry and are thinking of getting something to eat the memory of your business is buried underneath a flood of fresh options by way of google searches, delivery apps, and digital ads.
The key is to keep your business in the forefront of the customer's mind. When they think of your business they will remember those emotions. If you can collect your customer's email, you will have a way to reconnect with them and allow them to recall what a great experience they had. Your first email to a customer should be a light gracious followup with a link leading them to follow you on a single social media platform that you feel best highlights your business. We recommend Instagram and will use that throughout this guide. After that first email your new customer should be on an email list that receives either bimonthly or monthly newsletter type emails from your business. These emails can highlight any changes to your business or issues impacting your business. You can also ask for input from your customers about whatever you seek their opinion on. You should be trying to engage your customers with these emails not trying to sell or advertise. They should be more like updates and informative in nature. Towards the end of your email you want to lead your customers back to your Instagram account. You can describe an upcoming event or special menu and then give your customers access to more specific details or visuals by clicking a link to your Instagram account where a post with the specifics is waiting.
Why do you want your customers following you on Instagram? Instagram is a great platform for a restaurant to showcase their business. Once a customer becomes a follower they should receive a steady flow of colorful food product photos, video content of your business in action, and promo posts of your upcoming events or specials. This flow of content is the key to keeping those positive emotions burning in your customer's memory. Before you know it your customer will be back for another visit. If you are not already creating a regular flow of content for this free marketing platform you should start immediately.
To get this funnel started you need to build your customer email list. Creating customer email lists can be expensive and detrimental to the customer experience. Many customers do not want to take the time to provide their email every place they go to eat. That is one of the reasons we created Feed. Feed is a free customer loyalty platform that will build your customer email list in a nonintrusive way. In fact, Feed gives you the opportunity to enter every first time customer into your retention funnel, because we provide you with every customer's email address.
So there you have it. Everything you need to build your own customer retention funnel. We hope you found this guide useful. We will be creating more content in an effort to give you actionable insights into customer acquisition, retention, experience, and marketing so make sure you become a subscriber.
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