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Is Direct Mail Part of Your Restaurant Strategy? Here’s Why it Should Be.

Meet the Experts:  

Holly Wood – Senior Director, Media 

Andrea Adams – Director, Account Service 

Q: Much of marketing is now digital. Why should direct mail campaigns still have a seat at the table for restaurant marketing?  

Andrea: With more people working remotely in 2022, we are seeing greater interest in restaurant Direct Mail. Think of the volume of emails and texts you receive every day. More are going unopened than before while direct mail consumption is increasing. 30% of shoppers are spending more time reading direct mail promotions since Covid (Modern Postcard Report, 2022). 

Holly: The physical mailbox is still a relevant reach and frequency method to reach restaurant goers. We recommend pairing direct mail with digital marketing to communicate day parting, specials, and loyalty strategies.  Plus, with the increase and adoption of QR usage, the ability to measure print beyond a redemption has evolved. Using Direct Mail to help build more holistic intelligence and targeting will be key in our increasingly digital world. 

Q: What kind of campaigns or strategies make sense for direct mail and restaurants?  

Andrea: It depends on the brand and objectives of the campaigns. Some brands utilize Direct Mail for new product innovation launch, while some use monthly print to drive transactions and sales.  

Holly: Yes, based on the client’s needs, we will make recommendations based on goals and objectives, then measure and optimize as we go. 

Andrea: Exactly. Some additional ideas for good direct mail pieces include: LTOs, Loyalty, and day parting messaging. Seasonal messaging can vary by concept but targeting around events such as holiday weekends and local events show highest engagement for this vertical. For redemption-based marketing, targeting the 1st of the month pay periods are ideal. Lastly, using Direct Mail to promote consumer convenience is on the rise. We like to use the format to convert guests to ordering online and through mobile apps. 

Q: How can restaurants identify and target the right audience with a direct mail campaign?  

Holly: Using 1st party data is the most valuable targeting to push frequency against your already engaged customers. In addition, there are many 3rd party lists that can enhance your targeting geographically or even specific to your objectives. An example would be HR contacts or office managers for catering offerings or garnering competitive data for a competitive blunting campaign. 

Q: Do you have any design or messaging tips for restaurant mailers?  

Andrea: Direct Mail allows a tangible piece that is an extension of the brand image. It’s an opportunity to build on other channel messaging in an authentic way and can relate back to those channels using QR codes and URLs.  

Holly: Always plan ahead. Know your target and keep your objective in mind when identifying messaging strategy.  

Q: Can restaurants carry out the act of mailing itself? 

Holly: While it’s possible for restaurants to execute direct mail themselves working through the US Postal Service - working with experienced agencies allows restaurants to achieve efficiencies in costs including media placement, print production and customization across multiple Direct Mail formats and consistency with brand standards. These items can be time consuming and outside of a restauranters ability – that’s why we’re always happy to help! 

Q: Would you add any DOs and DON'Ts for restaurant direct mailers?  

Holly: Make sure to keep your ROI in mind when developing your Direct Mail strategy. There are different formats available – Postcards, inserts, high impact engaging formats, but the expense can add up. Don’t solely rely on a redemption to gauge performance. Print is not just a couponing solution. It is a great means to delivery awareness, reach, and frequency.  

Andrea: From a messaging standpoint, delivering on value will be essential to keep consumers engaged and the instant gratification of discounts are a primary way to do so.  Most print formats include four to eight coupon offers, many emphasizing the scarcity of limited-time only products, family-oriented bundles, and value items. 

Want to learn more about how to balance your direct mail campaigns against your digital marketing efforts? Reach out to our experts by filling out the form below!