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By Dan Forootan

The restaurant / hospitality industry would benefit greatly from using email marketing software. Email marketing offers many advantages that other forms of advertising do not offer. Sending out new menu items, prepare-at-home recipes, and money saving coupons will help venues of all sizes build customer loyalty and reinforce name recognition. The best part about email marketing is that it is affordable and requires very little time and effort.

Anyone familiar with the restaurant / hospitality industry will tell you that the best form of advertising is “word of mouth”, so why don’t more establishments enhance this with email messages that can easily be shared with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors? A monthly email newsletter will often times be forwarded and shared if it contains relevant and valuable information. I receive such a newsletter from a local restaurant that is filled with seasonal recipes, information about new staff members, nightly promotions, and best of all – money saving coupons. A number of the people to whom I forwarded these messages have now signed up to receive their own copy, and might be forwarding the message to people they know.

I was recently talking to a local hotel that uses email marketing to promote nightly lounge acts and attractive room packages. They started with a list of 48 email addresses and over the last 18 months their list of email addresses has grown to just under 2,000 people. Best of all they can communicate with these people for less than $20.00 a month. That’s about a penny a person.

The key is to find an Email Service Provider that makes it easy to import email addresses, create rich HTML emails with pictures and graphics, and schedules the messages to go out when you want them to go out. Select an organization that offers friendly, domestic phone support to help get started. Some email marketing software will let you take your marketing efforts to the next level by providing the ability to send reservation and birthday reminders, separate emails to people who book banquets or large room blocks, and friendly nudges to people who have not visited in a while.

People like to support establishments that make them feel welcome and appreciated. I cannot think of a better way to reach out and remind people they are valued than with an engaging email message.

Dan Forootan is the President of EZ Publishing. The firm specializes in helping businesses harness the power of the Internet for marketing and to automate business processes. In addition to custom web applications, EZ Publishing offers permission-based email marketing via StreamSend, a leading provider of easy, affordable and dependable email marketing software for creating, sending and tracking email newsletter and other campaigns.
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