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Fishbowl Best Practices: Online Marketing for the Holiday Season

rike2It may be September, but we at Fishbowl are already thinking about the holidays.  Managing Consultant Natalie Ikemeier recently hosted a webinar to go over Fishbowl’s tips, trends and best practices for restaurant marketing during the holiday season.  Every year the holiday season starts earlier and earlier, with retailers jumping in before 10/1.  So if you are wondering when to get your holiday online marketing campaign off the ground, the answer is clearly now.

According to Natalie’s research, holiday mailings account for 28% of overall email volume for the year. With that many mailings, plus the introduction of Gmail’s inbox filtering, it’s essential to “break through the clutter,” as she puts it. The key is to stand out in the inbox with unique creative, offers, and events. For example, her research indicates that the most popular offers this year will be percent off or dollar off.  And on the creative side, her ideas include: Ugly Sweater Parties, Personalized Gift Cards, Special Holiday Hours, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday Specials, among others.  Interestingly, Cyber Monday is quickly out-growing Black Friday, so you want to factor that into your planning.

To maximize revenues, it’s essential that you use your eClub member data to strategically drive your holiday marketing plan. For example, study behavior on things like time of day for opens/clicks and deploy mailings that leverage past behavior.  If you notice opens spike on Monday mornings and Tuesday afternoons, schedule your mailings accordingly. Don’t neglect mobile and social media, either.  Given that the number of purchases made on mobile devices continues to grow, you should observe how guests view your mailings (either through their desktop, smart phone, or tablet) and target communications to members on the device they prefer.

Natalie’s ultimate recommendation is to test, test, test, study the results, and adjust tactics accordingly. There really is no “one size fits all” email marketing strategy – it’s all about using your guest data strategically to guide your tests and drive your plans.  Observe behavior, test, check results, and try again.  Watch what happens.

To learn more about Natalie’s best practices for the holidays, view and download the presentation slides here. Or, alternatively, you can view the webinar below.