A holistic e-mail program sells burgers and builds loyalty

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A holistic e-mail program sells burgers and builds loyalty
A holistic e-mail program sells burgers and builds loyalty

Ted's Montana Grill, a national restaurant chain founded by Ted Turner and restaurateur George McKerrow Jr., needed to redefine and rejuvenate an e-mail program filled with potential and eager subscribers. We helped Ted's develop a VIP-type e-mail program where value and benefits resonated with subscribers.

The revamped e-mail marketing program was positioned as the customer communications hub and one that complimented existing efforts that included traditional media, social networking and general marketing efforts. Specifically, Ted's Montana Grill sought to: increase restaurant traffic, sales, and frequency of customer visits; acquire new customers; build deeper loyalty; dialogue with their customer base; and increase brand awareness.

A strategic plan was created that mirrored the broader business goals, as was an online survey for e-mail subscribers that provided crucial customer feedback on their e-mail preferences as well as overall restaurant experience data and preferences. BrightWave Marketing developed an e-mail scorecard that framed the e-mail program's goals and success, and evaluated revenue per e-mail, ROI, conversion rates, value per e-mail subscriber and customer retention and frequency.

New e-mail creative was developed and incentives were added to life cycle campaigns, such as birthday and anniversary reminders. A quarterly e-mail newsletter was also created, highlighting company news, events and menu offerings while tying in key brand attributes such as Ted's environmentally friendly position.

Additionally, BrightWave Marketing helped Ted's change the overall messaging strategy of its e-mails to existing e-mail subscribers. This was achieved through a mix of menu updates, environmental and restaurant news items and periodic coupon offers. The new strategy focuses on engaging subscribers rather than training them to expect a discount in their inbox.

Finally, the new e-mail program stressed the importance of making the e-mail subscriber feel like a VIP. For example, during the course of one month, all new e-mail subscribers were entered to win a $100 gift card. At the same time an additional $100 gift card prize was promoted to all current e-mail subscribers. Not only did Ted's database receive an injection of new e-mail subscribers, but the current subscribers were also rewarded for loyalty and motivated to forward the offer to their friends.

The results were powerful and impacted across many levels. Response rates increased over 275%, Facebook fans rose 500% and the ROI for the e-mail program surpassed 1,000%.

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing and E-mailStatCenter.com. Reach him at sjenkins@brightwavemarketing.com.

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