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Jump Start Your On-line Marketing With An E-mail Newsletter
By Jaime Oikle

The concept of the e-mail newsletter/e-mail discussion list has exploded. An e-mail newsletter is very similar to a print newsletter, only it is delivered electronically rather than via the mail. E-mail distribution is very powerful. It allows you to stay in touch with your customers/prospects/colleagues in a friendly, positive way - on a regular basis and at a very low cost.

Two-sided Coin
Quite frankly, I believe the restaurant industry is "missing the boat" right now by not taking advantage of this inexpensive, yet powerful marketing tool. There are only a handful of quality hospitality resources delivered via e-mail. This fact may be unfortunate for consumers, but it presents an excellent opportunity for the restaurant owner to grab mindshare by implementing an e-mail newsletter program in their marketplace.

One restaurant doing just that is Corner Galley located in Massapequa, NY. In addition to having a presence on the Web, Corner Galley publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled "The Daily Ship's Log." Manager Gene Stippell has crafted a potent marketing tool for his restaurant. Every day, 1000 plus folks receive an e-mail from Corner Galley. A typical issue includes the highlighting of customer birthdays, an interesting "Dates in History" section, a recipe, a section on local news, and then mention of the daily specials and other happenings at the restaurant. This mix of "friendly" information along with a gentle plug for their business is what makes The Daily Ship's Log a success.

"We get great response from the community," says Gene. "The local news section in particular is a favorite. People are constantly asking me to include their local news items." Does all this translate into extra work for him? Yes and No. Gene has a computer programming background and has automated many of the daily update tasks on the website and e-mail newsletter. This gives the Corner Galley a unique advantage, because most restaurants don't have a tech savvy individual on staff that can create such technology tools. Most establishments would be forced to find and pay for outside expertise, which can be expensive, and may explain why so few restaurants are aggressive with their Internet programs.

Speaking of Gentle Plugs
Much like the Corner Galley, the Restaurant Report's e-mail publication follows the philosophy of sharing information. In fact, we're so friendly we often link to articles on competing websites. Does that have a negative impact on traffic to our site? Perhaps, but that is the spirit of the Internet, and that's what makes it great.

Quick E-mail Tip
If you decide to include e-mail marketing in your Internet efforts be careful to follow "netiquette" and only send your messages to people who have subscribed or otherwise given permission to be contacted via e-mail. Don't discredit your business' reputation by sending unsolicited commercial e-mail (SPAM.)

Jaime Oikle is Co-Founder of Restaurant Report

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