Restaurants continue to reel from supply chain issues, talent shortages and rising operating costs. In response, many have raised menu prices to help short-term sales, but those increased prices have negatively impacted demand, as restaurant traffic continues to struggle.
Consumers are eating out less, ordering fewer items or cooking at home more often (despite increased grocery prices as well). However, an irresistible incentive could influence them to dine out, get takeout or order food for delivery.
From a marketing perspective, there is often an initial reaction to cut advertising to help save money. Instead, restaurant marketers should seize this opportunity to stay top of mind and drive response with guests.
The effectiveness of direct mail
When considering the right media tactics, digital marketing should be part of your strategy, and so should direct mail. Here's why:
Direct mail is targeted and engaging
Some marketers may have misgivings about direct mail because of common misconceptions. Perhaps they see it as old-school and appealing only to older consumers.
On the contrary, modern direct mail uses the latest technologies to localize targeting and tailor messaging, much like digital marketing. Younger consumers do engage with direct mail. Vericast's March 2022 Awareness-to-Action Study found that 72% of millennials regularly read or look at ads they receive in the mail.
Direct mail influences purchasing decisions
Restaurant brands should include direct mail ads in their multichannel media mix as consumers still rely on print when making buying decisions. Consider these studies:
- 53% of consumers say direct mail influences them to visit a restaurant or order delivery/carryout (Vericast Awareness-to-Action Study, March 2022)
- 39% are more likely to make a repeat purchase if offered a deal (Vericast Deals & Coupons Report)
- Average response rates for quick service restaurant direct mail ads are around 8%–12% (Vericast Campaign Analytics Data)
Direct mail complements digital marketing
Traditional marketing, which includes direct mail, complements digital marketing. There may be a disparity in performance, but each channel has strengths and weaknesses, so they work best together.
- 74% of millennials and 72% of Gen Z will take to the internet for some form of online activity, such as viewing a menu, downloading an app or placing an order after seeing a print ad (Vericast Awareness-to-Action Study, September 2021)
- 46% of consumers who read a direct mail ad are encouraged to go online for more information
- A USPS study showed a 40% conversion rate when direct mail and digital marketing are combined.
The proof is in the results
The Vericast Restaurant Data & Analytics Group conducted campaign analyses throughout the pandemic to understand the effectiveness of direct mail. The Save Direct Mail package delivered a value message with incentives such as coupons and promos. Participating brands could customize their offers and deliver ads at a neighborhood level. We used foot traffic analyses — mobile location tracking of exposed print consumers to QSR store visits — in a test versus control environment.
The study shows significant ROI during difficult economic times for restaurants that use the shared mail package to promote their business. Participating restaurant clients saw a 36% lift in total visits for test locations compared to control sites. Sixty-three percent of visits were from new and lapsed guests (those who have not visited in the past 60 days).
Based on the results, we projected an average campaign ROI of $5.62. It is hard to ignore the powerful impact incentives have on traffic and profitable sales during these tough financial times.
Direct mail as part of an omnichannel strategy
As digital platforms such as Connected TV and social media continue to grow in popularity, marketers have naturally shifted focus — and dollars — to those channels. But we cannot ignore the effectiveness of traditional media in the process. Direct mail remains a foundation of the media influence landscape and an effective complement to digital ad strategies.
Data-driven direct mail is the next-generation evolution of this century-old marketing tool. Our Save Direct Mail package uses predictive intelligence to discover and reach consumers and their neighborhoods with the powerful intelligence of our Consumer Graph™.
Download our Restaurant Report to learn more about how your restaurant can use deals and direct mail to drive more visits to your stores and increase your sales.