It is an unfortunate fact that basic research costs. Once we have an idea of what might work, email marketing software can tell us whether it does or not, but for initial direction we have to pay for it ourselves. Or we could pinch other people’s research.
Professor Wansink of Cornell University, writing in the Journal of Hospital Management, discussed the results of his research on the way customers relate to a menu. Whilst your business might have nothing to do with food, a customer is a customer and a menu is a marketing email. Customers are creatures of habit.
One conclusion applicable to email marketing was that successful restaurateurs created a menu to suit themselves rather than the needs of customers. Further, for those for whom the obvious is obscure, Professor Wansink tells us that diners were attracted to carbs, red meat and pasta rather than anything labelled ‘healthy option’.
One rather surprising finding was that whole figures used for prices, for instance £55 as opposed to £55.00, increased sales of more expensive foods. Further, dropping the pound sign, just leaving the bare 55, again increased sales. Another little advantage could be gained by making it difficult to compare prices.
Of use to us when creating a marketing email is the benefits of colourful images and large fonts. Customers’ eyes were drawn to them immediately and other offerings struggled to compete.
Whilst the procedure has given rise to considerable derision, choosing ‘wacky’ names for basic foods has proved its worth. Professor Wansink gives the example of ‘grilled asparagus bruschetta with smashed peas’ which, whilst sounding a little ridiculous, increased the sale of said greens by some 28%.
Another example is Leicester Chips. Who knows how they differ from any other city’s chips? It is a way of increasing sales, and that, after all, is what we are all about.
Other methods that have proved to be effective include ‘chef’s choice’ and ‘traditional favourite’. Here again a 28% increase in sales resulted. Perhaps you could try a marketing email with ‘our choice’ or ‘our biggest seller’.
Most of us do not relish picking the healthy option on a menu. I mean, what is the point of dressing up just to eat a few seeds? There are benefits to be had from dropping the classification and distributing the various options around the card.
Other researchers have suggested, rather obviously, that the way we make such choices comes down to psychology and whilst a chef might not have total control of what you choose, a subtle change can give big results.
Highlighting a specific product or meal will increase the sales of the item. Putting a box around a particular choice for no other reason than that you would like to sell a few more, does work. It is subtle but compelling. A positive result came from highlighting the most expensive burger, and probably giving the best returns, on a menu being printed in red with the rest of the items being in black encouraged people to dig deeply.
The research had been completed for you. Now use it.