How are these repeat return/mass email results?

We have been using repeat returns loyalty program for 2 years now. Open for almost 6. We are a neighborhood Pizzeria serving quality pizzas, sub, salads , calzones, stormbolis, pasta, wings fried apps menu. We have won best pizza in our county for first 5 years open. We are in a fairly rural market(small town) and have enrolled 1660 people. A lot of these are “regulars” who live close and have been loyal frequent customers from the beginning. With that said we enroll about 50 new customers per month. My frustration is this past thanksgiving week I sent out an email to our database. The email wished them happy thanksgiving and gave them a coupon for Buy any 2 large pizzas get the 3rd FREE. I thought it would be a good deal being the week of t-giving and people having family in town may not want to cook in the beginning of week. SO…of the 1660 emails i had 1375 were sent with 1330 delivered. ( 45 bounced back this email and the other roughly 300 that were not sent were in a “permanent/ previous” bounced back category or something. Of the 1330 delivered 253 were opened (19%) Of the 253 opened I ONLY HAD 5 COUPONS REDEEMED! Now for some reason this strikes me as low. Is it that the deal is really not that good or the timing was bad?These results are typical for the last few “on-demand” email blasts I have done. I am not faulting RR in any way and have had great service from them but I am starting to doubt the value of the “communication” aspect of these services. I know the customers enjoy getting the free rewards and food but am trying to use it to drive more specific deals and gauge its effectiveness by redemption rates.( and cant seem to find the deal that really sets it off , haven’t tried straight out FREE pizza tho :wink: What kind of deals do you offer in an “on demand” promotion where you really really are trying to drive the customers to the door for THAT deal? I have been taught not to discount but to rather try and add on value while getting full price so the idea of deep discounting my $13 large cheese too much seems wrong. I dont really want to to compete on price but im not sure offers like this thanksgivings (that still get me a $25-$30 check and also offer customer value ,free 3rd pie) are cutting it. First post. Thanks in advance.
Ian

I think your offer might not have been one that would attract many customers. I have a very low percentage that order 3 large pizzas.

I am not sure what kind of deal you should be looking at. I never discount my product so I would be inclined to do a free add on that was something other than pizza.

Unless I was having a large party on Thanksgiving eve - or a family of 12 - that’s alot of pizza (3 large!)

A “sale” is only good to those 5 who wanted it. Maybe next time look at your average delivery or takeout and market that or a discounted item to pair with it.

Only time I like the 2 for 1 or 3 for 2 deals is in the freezer section of the grocery store.

I can answer the email marketing part of your post…

Your email open rate was right on target for the restaurant industry (19%) according to Constant Contact, an email service company. Your bounce rate isn’t any different than other businesses with an email list that is used infrequently. On average an email address is good for a year. Bounces of all types are email that can’t be delivered. “Permanent” bounces are invalid or closed email accounts.

The open rate is determined by parts of the email that were retrieved from your provider’s servers. Most email software both online and offline prevent the automatic retrieval of these components. The “opens” is a count of the number of recipients that retrieved this data. More than this number actually saw your offer.

I agree with Daddio on the merits of the offer. It was a good value but not one that would apply to a large number of your customers.

everyone is spot on. My open rate always fluctuates somewhere around 19 percent. I have been able to increase it to 25 percent by adding a catchy phrase in the subject line.
This week was “May the pizza be for ever in your flavor” it got a 27 percent open rate.
Also I have learned that you want to hit 3 target demographics.

  1. The single guy or young couple
    my offer is a medium pizza three topping and cheesy bread for only $14.99
  2. Traditional family of 4 or 5
    my offer is Large gourmet pizza or toppings of your choice and a large cheese pizza for 24.99 plus a free side salad and a free family size cheesy bread.
  3. for a gathering of adults
    my offer is 4 large pizza’s for $34.99
    they all seem to work well for my demographics

i did a double points promo with repeat returns and it did really well. People got double points for every dollar they spent. It allowed my customers to order what they wanted and it also gave them a reason to order more to get extra points. Shelly recommend it and it worked!

I agree with everything said above. In simple terms you want your offer to appeal to the most customers possible. Your offer really eliminated anybody who didn’t have a large group over for the holidays. Which is really most people. Many gather only on thanksgiving day.
Secondly, your customers already know your food is good so doing an on demand deal,
really only has one way to spark people to buy at that moment…price. Because most of your
customers range from singles to small families, you need to entice them with smaller size deals,
Not necessarily deep discount, but at least the perception of a deep discount. If your pizza is $13,
Do a buy a lg pizza for 12.99 and get free bread item and free soda. You still get full price for York pie
and throw a few cheap add ins.

Thanks a lot for the feedback everyone! I really appreciate the time and thought towards my post. I agree, in hindsight a deal targeting more customers(not just those with the need for 3 pies) would have increased my results. Oh well, learn and move on! Ian

While I completely agree that your main problem was probably the offer, I’d like to add to what Rockstar mentioned above.

I too used to see around a 19-20% open rate on my mass e-mails. The operative word there is “mass”. I had an e-mail list and I would “batch ‘n’ blast” it. Once I started putting some thought into my e-mail and actually tied it to my database my open rates skyrocketed. I consider anything less than 35% to be a disappointment now.

Here’s what I think the tricks are:

  1. Constantly run A/B tests on your subject lines, record the results, tweak your subject line, rinse and repeat. Sometimes I will send two identical e-mails with different subject lines to 10% of a target group at 7:00am. By 9:00am I know the results of the A/B test and fire to the remaining 90% with the winning subject line.

  2. Tie your e-mails to your database. You have a ridiculous amount of information about your customers in your POS, so make the e-mail personal. If I have a customer that I know uses the “Family Feast” offer regularly, I will send them a “Family Feast” and put “I have your favorite Family Feast offer on this weekend” in the subject line. I can see upwards of 50% open rates when the subject line contains the offer I know customers like.

Lazy customers may get a “We’ve really missed you” subject line. I sent one of those last weekend to about 500 customers that hadn’t ordered in 30 days or more. It had a 42% open rate and 46 of the customers that received that e-mail ordered on Friday or Saturday. A 500 person control group had 11 orders, so the e-mail appears to have worked. The best part was it didn’t even contain an offer - it just advertised a new dessert.

  1. Use the demographic information from RR to customize your e-mails. You know the family size and age of the customer from RR. When I sent a Halloween special this year I only sent it to people that had school-age children and lived in my delivery zone. I don’t want to bother the 65 year old empty-nesters with a Halloween special tailored for 8 year olds, nor the person that lives 20 miles away and visits us once per month - they’re staying local on Halloween.

  2. Record the results of all of your e-mail activity including open rate, click through rate and most importantly sales from the people you e-mailed. Try to have a control group to determine if the marketing is actually working. Analyze the results, tweak your method, and go again.

Sending out additional e-mails is basically free so it’s easy to queue up the entire list and just fire to everybody… but if you keep sending e-mails and offers to the wrong people you will start to see the dreaded list fatigue over time. People start tuning you out, because the majority of the time they open your e-mail and it has no relevance to them. Eventually they stop opening it altogether and just click “delete” - or even worse, “spam”.

With the amount of technology we have now, batch ‘n’ blast e-mail should be a thing of the past. E-mail should be personal and targeted.

I know a lot of this isn’t possible with using RR for e-mail advertising. That’s why although I use RR for my rewards program I still keep my e-mail marketing in house. RR doesn’t have access to my database and can’t possibly target my customers like I can.

Between the information customers fork over for the rewards program and your internal database you can glean a crazy amount of information about your customers… family size, number of children, ages of the entire family, birthdays, price sensitivity, what day of the week and time they tend to order, if they do delivery or dine-in, what specials they gravitate to, how many pizzas they order, average spend, frequency, if they like pepperoni or sausage, what specialty pizzas they like, whether or not they order drinks for delivery, if they tend to order dessert, if they always try your new pizzas, if they pay by cash or credit card, which credit card they use (AMEX holders spend more), if they’re big tippers or small… you could go on for pages.

Combine that with your e-mail marketing and you also know what subject lines they open, what they click on, and what offers motivate them to buy.

Remember the point of using all of this information is to deliver relevant e-mail and avoid list fatigue.

E-mail is the most powerful tool ever created to pinpoint target our customers with that kind of precision. Use it to it’s full advantage and you’ll see a much higher open rate than 19% and a ridiculous ROI.

Thanks Piper for the well done post…

Thanks Piper!!! Really alot of good information! I cant believe that I just began to tap into the infinite knowledge of TT and its members!

How do you connect their email address to the Point of Sale system? You will need more than just their email to associate them with the Point of Sale, correct? Do you ask for their email and phone number and then input it in the Point of Sale? Then, when they call and order it saves it so you can target certain emails to them based on what they like to purchase?

There’s a field in the customer record in the Point of Sale for the customer’s e-mail address (no different than their physical address). You will put in a phone number for every customer, and that becomes their “account number”. When a customer calls to order, you get their phone number and it pulls up their account. If they’re new it will create a new account.

We have about 3 conversations going at the moment… lol… all related to Point of Sale stuff. I think you should download the Point of Success demo and give it a whirl. It comes with a functional menu and a small sample customer database. You will very quickly get a feel for how a POS system functions.

I downloaded the demo and I like it overall. I think it will work well.

What I am trying to figure out is, will the email need to be entered manually? When they sign up for email marketing can we ask for their phone number then so it is easy to input? I think it would be weird to ask them when they’re on the phone for their email address.

Thank you.

Piper you are an email guru lol! thanks for the info I may have to look into my email marketing a little more.

If you want to really dig into email marketing, I highly recommend picking up “Strategic Database Marketing” by Arthur Middleton Hughes. It’s a great book and teaches a lot of principles of database marketing in general, not just email.

cool, thanks for the tip! I’ll look into it.