A Delicious Recipe for Baked-in Customer Engagement –  Print, Text and Email

Regardless of what you are selling, there are two things to remember about today’s consumer audience:

  1. we check our mailboxes just about every day; and
  2. we like supporting local businesses.

For Sandy Hubbard writing in Print Media Center, this was the beginning of her experience with a local restaurant she’d been meaning to try.

“To start this story, I somehow landed on the mailing list for a nearby restaurant that I have always wanted to try,” Hubbard writes. “A colorful, oversized postcard showed an outdoor patio, colorful (fresh-looking) food, and a too-good-to-pass-up offer. There was an honest-to-goodness coupon — with dotted lines and a barcode — and a BOGO (buy one, get a meal free) offer. Bring in the postcard, they explained, or (for convenience) take a photo of the barcode and bring your phone!”

So she grabbed a friend and off she went for a great meal. At the restaurant, the offers (and associated data collecting) continued, with the waitperson asking if they wanted to join the loyalty club and get 20% off today’s order (on top of the BOG deal.) Done.

The customer engagement experience wasn’t over yet.

“The waitperson brought my receipt and a feedback form,” Hubbard continues. “It was a card, printed on nice stock, not something run out of the cash register. She handed me a colorful branded pen, to keep. On the bottom of the form … did you guess? … was another offer with a photo of a mouth-watering summer dessert and specialty coffee.”

Hubbard’s story continues after they left the restaurant, with a thank –you email the next day (with a coupon), and weekly texts with low key discount codes to redeem. From that point on, each month she received an email with updates to their seasonal menu, plus updates on her loyalty status.

Then came the zinger.

“You see, this restaurant has mostly outdoor seating and would be considered a summer hangout in my mind,” Hubbard explains. “Although they had been texting me through the late fall, I did not intend to go there in cold weather. So it had been a few months since I redeemed or earned points (data that would show them my activity).

“On this postcard, the images highlighted their winter menu — colorful roasted root vegetables, yum! — and hot toddies crafted from locally-produced spirits,” she continues. “Oh, and it showed cozy patio seating with those big outdoor heaters. Diners were not bundled up in winter coats and scarves — no! — but were wearing sweaters and sweatshirts. Objection addressed! Now I had a new mental picture of comfortable winter dining.”

This restaurant had cracked the code for creating returning customers and lasting relationships. And they did it in print, on digital and via email, at whatever touchpoint was most relevant at the moment. As Hubbard notes, “Marketing fuels data. Data fuels traffic. Traffic fuels predictability. Predictability fuels profit.”

And it all started with a printed postcard in a mailbox. That is some pretty delicious marketing right there.