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Welcome Back! Excited about your magnet offer? You should be! You’re taking the first step towards building your restaurant’s loyal customer base. Now let’s talk about 6.5 easy ways to build your email marketing list. (To learn about the magnetic force of email marketing, click here.)

Prefer to watch the video? Click here to get the free video course now.

Here are 6.5 easy ways you can entice customers to sign up for your offer, which subscribes them to your email marketing list:

1. Your Website:

Best and most important way is to get them to go to your website, where your sign-up form is prominent (and available on every page… see this post on website strategy for more details.) Getting the customer to visit your website accomplishes several things –

  • You’re reinforcing your brand message
  • You’re reminding them of your incredible menu
  • You’re educating them on your other offerings and services
  • You’re letting them know how they can follow you on social media
  • You’re giving them a channel for communicating with you

You can be proactive or passive about driving customers to your website. I like a gentle but personal nudge, for example: I’ve just had a great experience on my first time at a restaurant. My server presents the check, and says something like, “Thanks for coming in tonight! We’d love to see you again. And if you go to our website and sign up for our offers, you’ll get a [insert your magnet offer here] on your next visit.”

Then make sure you have your website address printed on everything that’s conceivable that they make take home with them – their receipt, doggie bag packaging, business card, take away menu. And plant the seed ahead of time by having your website address anywhere there is printed material in the restaurant – Your menus, foyer signs or framed reviews and/or awards, restroom signage, pay station (if counter service), table tents if using, look around your restaurant – where else could you display your website address?

2. Social Media

Another great way is to use social media. So many people are on their phones in restaurants. Did they just snap a photo of their dish?

  • Ask them to post it on Facebook and tag your restaurant. Tell them if they go to your website and sign up now, they can get a [your magnet offer] on their next visit.
  • Or ask them to check in on your Facebook page, then click the link to your website to sign up for a [magnet] on their next visit.
  • Make sure you have a post pinned to the top of your Facebook page with your website address and the incentive to click it [Your magnet offer!]

3. and 4. Traditional Methods

3. Now, there is also the old school method, which works very well because it’s in the moment. You have them sign up while in your restaurant on a form you provide. This method does create more work for you, but it’s work that is easy to delegate and train. You need to create and print your forms, have a prominent spot for a vessel to collect completed forms, then be able to read the handwriting on the form, and finally, enter each form into your email program. Click here to download an email sign up form. Or collect business cards which will eliminate the handwriting issue.

4. A simple comment card placed in your check presenter is also very effective, but will also require the additional steps mentioned in #3.

5. Text To Join

Some email marketing programs offer a text-to-join feature. The customer is offered the incentive [your magnet offer] while in the restaurant, with the option to text to receive it. The customer sends a text to the number you provide, which integrates with your email program. The customer then receives the sign-up form right on their phone, and they input their email address right into your list. You want this feature!

6. Tablet Sign Up

If your customers pay using your tablet, it’s easy to incorporate a sign-up form. Add the text “Thanks for joining us! Sign up here to receive a free [you magnet offer] on your next visit!” and the address goes right into your list.

6.5 Openings & Events

Grand Openings are a perfect way to collect email addresses. As you are creating your pre-opening buzz around town and on social media, direct people to your website to get their invitation to the big event – that’s your magnet! This works for opening another location, too, or any special event you create. For example: Oscar’s Night Party – Space Is Limited – Get Your Free Invitation by clicking here [your website].


Once you’ve started collecting the email addresses, you’ll deliver your magnet offer. Actually, your email program will automatically send the offer immediately after they sign up – which is sweet for you – and instant gratification for your customer. And once you set this up, it runs on auto-pilot.

Quick Action Step:

Which of these easy ways to build your email marketing list would work best for you and your restaurant – Write down all that apply. Then, click here to take the free video course and learn how to make this work for you.