Ted's Montana Grill mixes e-mail with social media

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Restaurant chain Ted's Montana Grill has found that e-mail and a social media mix is the way to increase brand engagement and customer loyalty, and is doing so in this month's Thanksgiving e-mail.

The chain has been working with e-mail marketing services firm Brightwave Marketing to run its monthly e-mails and social media program, including the most recent e-mail which promotes Thanksgiving special, “The Real Deal” appetizer, entrée and baked cookies for a fixed price, discounted off of the menu.

“It's part of our monthly offer to our customers to keep them engaged with the brand,” said Jessica Smith, director of marketing at Ted's Montana Grill. “We will retarget those who have clicked through by sending follow up reminder e-mail. We have the data, and we use it to make e-mail as efficient a tool as possible.”

The e-mail also invites people to sign up for a Facebook page where they can take surveys about how they like the restaurant. The Facebook page has different content than the e-mail and also encourages people to sign up to receive the e-mails. Both ends work to acquire and retain customers.

“It's a great way to talk to our current customers and keep them involved with the restaurant,” added Smith. “And it's a good targeted approach to reach guests and to build our list, as well.”

E-mail is important for the brand. Since they began working with Brightwave last year, their click-through rate has gone up 275% and unsubscribes have dropped by 75%.

Ted's sends triggered e-mails for birthdays and anniversaries, as well as monthly newsletters about new menu items, gift cards, new retail items, promotions and events at their 57 restaurants across 19 states. It mails to 90,000 memebrs of the database who have opt-ed in on the Web site's sign-up page. The primary demographic is 35-49 year olds with a household income of more than $75,000.

Ted's plans to continue the e-mail social media mix and is looking into SMS marketing in 2009. BrightWave Marketing recently released a new targeted messaging platform that will help manage these cross promotions from e-mail to social networks to mobile.

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