This post is written by Dan Scudder, VP Business Development at Privy. Privy helps restaurants more rapidly grow their email list and is a NetWaiter partner.

One of the keys to building a long-term successful restaurant is having a robust customer database that you can remarket to and drive sales.   This database should include customer email addresses, purchase history, and any available “insight” data (demographics, social profiles, etc) so you can keep your messaging relevant. Of course, not all of this data is easily compiled – so its important to take simple steps to start collecting the right customer data sooner rather than later.

At Privy, we help restaurants grow their email list from digital channels and drive in-store conversions with our offers platform. Here are three ways we’ve seen restaurants be successful with database growth using offers:

1. Drive new email signups with a first-time customer offer: One of the best ways to both grow your email list and also drive first-time customers into your store is with a long-running (“always on”) offer available only to first-time customers. As people visit your website, they will see the offer, opt-in to your list, and also receive an offer to use as a first-time customer. Across all restaurants we work with, we see about 35% of these people actually use the offer – so it’s a simple way to drive database growth and sales.

2. Promote grand openings with a limited-time offer: Fast growing restaurants are constantly opening up new locations. And driving sales to each new location is incredibly important to the long-term success of that location. Run a limited time offer that can only be redeemed during a certain “grand opening” window and promote that offer on your website (only show it to customers in a certain area with geotargeting). Also trying emailing that offer out to your existing email database. This will drive some incremental email list growth, and it will also drive more insight that you can store in your database – such as who your loyal customers are and who your deal-seeking customers are.

3. Be more active about email signups without offers: Some restaurants are adverse to offers. This makes sense in certain cases – you do not want to train your customers to look for discounts all the time, or you may have such high end pricing that you don’t want to reduce that premium price with a discount offer. But you can still actively grow your customer database – using a simple email signup popup that has exit-intent targeting capabilities can rapidly add new email addresses to your database.

Restaurants are one of the hardest businesses, but successful restaurants know how to build and leverage a customer database to grow their brand, customer relationships, and drive sales. Email marketing is one of the lowest cost forms of advertising for a small business, and if you are actively adding to your database, email marketing will pay immediate dividends.

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