How to create an effective Mailchimp email marketing strategy for your restaurant in 2020

Learn how to own your traffic, to create a loyal customer base for your restaurant that will increase your revenue in an instant.

Why A newsletter?

The social media traffic is unstable. I mean, think about it. You post into the air and hope that your followers see your post. If they do, you make a sale. If they do not, you don’t. With an email newsletter, you will take control of who sees your promotions.  In the following article, I will show you How to create an Mailchimp email marketing strategy for your restaurant. And list the benefits of incorporating a newsletter into your restaurant’s marketing strategy.

I am going to start with a question:

Is email dead?

I’ll give you a second….

No. Email marketing is by far the best tool that you can add to your advertising arsenal.

Yes, it is an old-school form of digital marketing.

But it is useful.

And it is an essential to create a strategy behind your digital marketing email campaign.

Here are a few stats from the site Oberlo that will give you an idea of the importance of email marketing:

  • In 2019, global email users amounted to 3.9 billion users
  • In 2019, 293.6 billion emails were sent and received daily
  • For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42
  • 81% of small business rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel and 80% for retention
  • 21% is the average email open rate for welcome emails
  • Emails with personalized subject lines generate 50% open rates
  • 49% of consumers said that they would like to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands every week

So, as you can see, email is far from dead. As a matter of fact, a newsletter should actually be your restaurant’s primary source of digital marketing.

In the following article, I am going to cover the below:

Why you should own your traffic with an email list

I am going to ask you a second question:

What will happen to your business if Facebook and Instagram go offline?

I know, what a horrible thought, right. But what would you do? If social media is your only advertising tool at the moment, you should know that these customers are not yours. If things go sour with social media, what would happen to your customer base?

What would be your outlet, and how would you communicate with them?

Will you go back to pre-2007 and advertise in the newspaper or handing out flyers on the corner?

I hope that you can see where I am going with this.

Your 30k followers on social media are not yours.

They are owned by Facebook, Twitter, or Google. This is why you need to start driving your customer base to your own personal channel.

You need to begin to build an email list. And yes, I know that when you think of the email list, you think of the 1990s. Or a 9 to 5 office job.

But think about it. What is one piece of information that you need to open a social media account? An email.

What do you need to open a PayPal, Uber, eBay, Amazon, or any online service? An email.

Everybody has an email. Personally, I have around 20 email addresses.

But I can guarantee you that out of the 200 emails I receive a day, I open around 40% of them.

Why a Newsletter is the best marketing tool that your business can have.

By creating a strong email digital marketing strategy, you can establish a robust online community with your customer base.

And most importantly. Own your traffic.

With emails, you create consistency and increase the probability that a customer will read what you have to say.

On social media, you have to basically hope that customers see your post. And then you have to hope that they want to read the caption with the information you provide.

Giving your customers a direct channel to reach you and seeing your promotions will substantially increase a sale’s probability.

And you have to start with  strong email marketing strategies.

What is an Email marketing strategy?

An email marketing strategy is a prepared email campaign meant to convert your subscribers to sales.  Sending out your restaurants daily special menu is a marketing strategy.

Having a email marketing strategy is essential to increase the loyalty of your customers, and improve the reliability of your restaurant.

Mailchimp has great templates and tools to help you on your journey to grow your newlestter marketing strategy.

How to use an email newsletter effectively to advertise your restaurant's customer base.

So how are you going to get all of the email addresses you may be asking.

One of my favorite tools to start building and managing an email list is Mailchimp. Mailchimp is an email managing platform that provides businesses with several tools to grow and monitor their email marketing.

Mailchimp also offers several paid plans, but the free package offers everything that you need. I would suggest that you eventually upgrade your account as you increase your email list.

Mailchimp's Pricing Plan

Mailchimp offers four service plans:

  • Free
  • Essentials
  • Standard 
  • Premium

Apart from the plan that you see below, Mailchimp bills you depending on your email list size. If you have an extensive email list with thousands of subscribers, Mailchimp may be an expensive alternative for you.

But if you are starting to build your list, Mailchimp‘s pricing plans are perfect so you can begin to build your newsletter with the best tools on the market.

I Suggest that you invest in the standard plan

The standard plan has everything you need and more.

The features that I use in this article are part of the standard plan. I will review how these features can help your restaurant build and grow your subscriber list.

one big feature is the Customer journeys feature.  This autoresponder feature alone was enough for me to invest in the monthly plan.

Below are Mailchimp Pricing plans and features

Mailchimp Email marketing strategy
Mailchimp Email marketing strategy Email marketing strategy pricing plans ans features
Mailchimp Email marketing strategy pricing plans ans features
Mailchimp Email marketing strategy pricing plans ans features
Mailchimp Email marketing strategy Email marketing strategy pricing plans ans features
Mailchimp Email marketing strategy pricing plans ans features
Mailchimp Email marketing strategy pricing plans ans features

As you can see, the free mailchimp plan offers almost everything that a paid plan offers.

So how do you use Mailchimp to grow your restaurant's newsletter?

Start by opening a free account in this link: Mailchimp’s new customer.

Once you open your account and have verified your email, you will need to create a new audience.

First Step: create an Audience

How to create an email marketing strategy for your restaurant with MailChimp.
Now that you have created an audience, make sure to fill out all of the information in the Audience details. You can go back and edit this afterward.


How to create an email marketing strategy for your restaurant with MailChimp.

create an Signup Form

The next thing that we want to do now is to create a form to start to build your email list and grow subscribers.
How to create an email marketing strategy for your restaurant with MailChimp.

This form will share with your audience to follow the link and enter their information.

Here you will see several options.

You are going to want to click on the Form builder.

How to create an email marketing strategy for your restaurant with MailChimp.


In the form builder option, you will see the form that your customers will see when visiting your link.

This is the link that you will use to send customers to opt in for your newsletter.

You can copy-paste this link in a new window to see your signup form as you customize it.

On the right, you have options to add more fields to the form with an easy to use drag and drop feature.

How to create an email marketing strategy for your restaurant with MailChimp.

Design a Landing Page

After you have customized your Signup form. You are ready to start building your email list.

If you want to get even fancier with Mailchimp, you can also create a landing page instead of a signup form.

the landing page gives you more flexibility to add content and  customized information that is more presentable.

A landing page looks just like a website, but its only purpose is to get email addresses. It is nice that you can customize it with pictures or products you are offering.

it is a step up from a regular form that you can send to your customers so that they can opt in to your newsletter.

One of our services at Island Dwellers is to create landing pages and create email campaigns.  

Below is an example landing page of one that I created for this blog post:

Mailchimp Email marketing strategy Landing page screenshot

Creating a campaign

Mailchimp is all about automating your email marketing strategy. The primary way of automating your email marketing is by creating a campaign.

By creating a campaign, you can send your message to all of your audience at once.

campaign options

Mailchimp’s campaign feature has many options.

One of the campaign features is the landing page, which we covered previously.  

other campaign options are:

  • Email
  • Customer journey
  • email templates
  • multichannel designs
  • survey
  • ads
  • social posts
  • signup form
  • image 
  • postcard

The campaign for your audience is the primary source of your email marketing efforts.

I’m sure that you may be asking: “ok, all of this sounds good, but where should I start?”

How do you send marketing emails?

Marketing emails in Mailchimp are sent by creating a campaign.

Once you have subscribers in your audience, you can assign email templates to your email list and send your message.

First Step is to Click the create option and select Email

create campaign
create campaign

next you create the name of your campaign

create campaign

On the next screen, you select the audience that you want to send the campaign email to, and the condition.

create campaign

next, click on design email, in the content section, and you can choose an already created template, or you can create your own.

template content

Mailchimp’s email content creator feature is easy to use. 

You simply click, and drop the box from the right column, and edit the contents.

once you have created the content of your email, you select continue, and Send.

content continue

Map a new customer journey

Mailchimp has another great campaign feature called customer journeys that is available in the standard plan.

This campaign feature convinced me to invest in Mailchimp, and eventually end up writing this blog post.

The customer journey feature is an automated series of emails that your subscriber will receive over a given time.

this feature is perfect for when you receive a new subscriber to your newsletter.  immediately they are taken down a path in which you can showcase your restaurant’s offerings with an autoresponder.

You design and write these emails ahead of time, and as soon as a subscriber joins and meets the rules that you set on your journey, they will begin to receive your automated emails as you designed.

To access customer Journey, you select Automations in the left toolbar, and then customer Journey.

Mailchimp Email marketing strategy Automations

On this screen, you have the option to use a template or design your own.

As you can see, there are several options that you can choose to create your journey. I like to create my own so that I can customize the message I am trying to portray.


To start a Journey, you select the Create and choose Customer Journey.


On the next screen, you give your journey a name and choose your audience.


Next, you need to choose a starting point. Here you will see several options, and you can navigate to more on the left menu.

If you want new subscribers to follow your journey, choose signups, and save the starting point.


Now you have arrived at your Journey dashboard.

On the left, you will see the options for your journey.


Now you have arrived at your Journey dashboard.  On the left, you will see the options for your journey.

For your Journey, you can enter Rules and Actions that will determine your subscriber’s path.


If / Else

You can use this option as a “fork in the road.” This option is used if you want to split your journey subscribers depending on their actions. 

A good example splitting your subscribers if they open or do not open their emails.

If your subscriber opened the first email, you could take them on a journey to give them more value and content. If the subscriber did not open the email, you could take them on a journey to convince them to open the email.

You can also use If / Else if you have a web link or button in an email. You can split the journey by who clicks and who doesn’t.


The Wait option creates a rule that can only be triggered by an action. This option can be used in your journey to send the following email only if the subscriber open the previous email.


Using the delay option, you create a time delay between the previous email or action and the next. If your customer received the first email of the journey as soon as they sign up, you could delay the following email to trigger in a week or two days.



Send Email

By inserting the Send Email feature, you create an email that triggers the journey. You can use several email templates or create your template and save it.

When inserting an email step, you can create a new content, or use a template from a previously saved email campaign.


create email

Add / Remove tag

the Add/ remove tag section is used to change tags of a subscriber within the Journey.

Below is an example of a journey that I have created for one of my newsletters.

As you can see, I have a week delay between each of the emails to my subscribers. Each email tells a story and takes my subscribers on a path to learn more about my services.

If you sign up for my newsletter, you will fall into this journey automatically.


Design a website

Another great option that Mailchimp offers to increase opt ins is designing your webpage.

Creating a webpage in Mailchimp is a great way to enhance your marketing strategy and give your customer a complete experience for your restaurant.

Creating a webpage in Mailchimp is an excellent option if you already have a domain name but no website yet. By assigning it to Mailchimp, you can direct your customers to a location while creating a proper website strategy.

The first thing you need to do is purchase a domain for your restaurant. A domain is a .com url with a name that can associate with your restaurant.

I always suggest that my customers match their social media profile handles as much as they can. This detail creates consistency with your online information. But of course, this part is entirely up to you.

A Mailchimp website is good to use as a temporary website.
It is limited with design features, but it will work as an excellent tool to have until you have your site.

Make sure to read our blog post in which we review 6 Reasons why your restaurant needs a website with Digital Marketing 2020

So, as you can see, Mailchimp gives you several tools that you can send to your customers to help you create your newsletter mailing list in no time…

The Marketing Strategy to get the most out of Mailchimp and magically increase your sales and own your traffic.

Ok, so now I have a newsletter, what do I do? What do I send them?

The first thing that you have to do is create a strategy with content that will attract your followers.

When we create an email digital marketing strategy for restaurants, we begin by creating a hook that your customer will see to sign up.

The best part about Mailchimp is that when somebody opts in for your newsletter, they get directed to a confirmation page that you can customize.

This is easy to set up. First you have to navigate to your Form Builder, and in the drop-down, select Confirmation Thank You Page.

How to create an email marketing strategy for your restaurant with MailChimp.

Here you can edit, and write your personalized message.

We like to offer a promotional item or discount as a thank you for signing up for the newsletter.

You can offer a 10% coupon code or a free dessert.

You should always offer a promotional item as a hook that you can use to grab the user’s attention and want to opt in.

Exclusive Menu items

You will also mention that they can receive exclusive menu items that they cannot find in a food delivery service like UberEATS or Door dash by signing up. This is the icing on the cake.

With all of the restaurants that we have worked with, this has performed every single time.

Immediately, you will begin to build your email list to match your Facebook or Instagram following.

Once you have this email list running, you can send out daily or weekly emails with the specials and a free promotional item.


By implementing a personalized newsletter in your digital marketing strategy, not only you’re your restaurant increase your sales, but you are now creating a steady revenue stream with loyal customers that are yours.

Yes. These customers are yours and not Mark Zuckerberg’s.

Think about the previous stat that I provided. For every 1$ you spend on digital email marketing, you receive $40 in return.

No other advertising channel can provide this.

I also like to look at this because you should receive $1 for each customer on your mailing list per email.

This means that if you have 5000 customers on your mailing list, you should be receiving $5000 each time you send out an email.

Can you imagine? Are you ready for this kind of traffic and revenue?

So now, you can see how creating an effective email marketing strategy with Mailchimp can help you grow your restaurant’s following and boost your sales immediately.

A few things that you should include in your daily or weekly emails:

An attention-grabbing subject.

Make sure that your subject will grab the receiver’s attention and that you are direct to the purpose of the email.

Make the email personal.

As much as you want to say: “here are my daily specials.”, try to create a sense of personalization and showcase your restaurant’s good customer service.  

Tell a short story.

Try to give them a short story about how you created one of your recipes. Or a brief description of one of your employees. Create an environment in your emails that will make the receiver want to open your next email regardless if they are hungry or not.

Include pictures.

Maybe do not include photos of your full menu but have a picture of your special daily dish. Or a promotional dessert that your restaurant is offering. Remember, you want to replace social media, so give them something visual as well as informative.

How to create an email marketing strategy for your restaurant with MailChimp.

I hope that you follow this link and get started on creating your MailChimp account.

I guarantee you that it will be the best decision that you will make to improve your digital marketing campaigns and increase your traffic and sales for your restaurant.

Below is a recap of the reasons that you should create an email newsletter for your restaurant:

  • own your traffic and break away from social media 
  • sell directly to your customer base
  • Emails will increase your revenue
  • Mailchimp is easy to use platform that will help you get started for free
  • With MailChimp, you will be able to facilitate the signup process for your customer
  • see the percentage of people that open and click on your email with Mailchimp
  • give your customer a personal channel that will increase the value of your restaurant’s service

To close it out

Implementing an email marketing strategy for your restaurant with MailChimp is the best path you can take to grow your business online.

Not only will a newsletter grow your restaurant’s income, but you will be able to gain independence from social media.

Follow these simple steps above to get started, and reach out to me if you have any questions.

You can reach out to me at robert@islanddwellersweb if you would like to receive our rates and newsletter package information.

Lets me know what you think below in the comments.

Do you see creating a newsletter for your restaurant?

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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