SMS marketing and messaging is useful in any industry. Restaurants are a niche market where the right tools are crucial in getting customers in the door. How can restaurants take SMS messaging and attract customers that will value the engagement? With SMS messaging being available on a flexible platform, the attractiveness of using this type of technology to deliver short messages with instant deliverability is key. Short messages enhances the cool factor, offering an instant opt-in or opt-out solution.
SMS messages include a cool factor, because they are reliable, have a high open rate and are “green.” Additionally, SMS messages can be read from any device, which opens the door to anyone who has a cellular phone. SMS messages work on both – smart phones and regular phones. The high conversion rate attached to the use of SMS messaging is huge.
How to reach your restaurant audience with SMS
There are a number of tactics and techniques you can use to reach the target demographic when using SMS messaging:
- Use the Best Technology - Using the most innovative technology that can be used in conjunction with other methods can greatly enhance the marketing efforts used. SMS messaging allows instant coupons, reservations, notifications of table availability, and orders to be placed without speaking with anyone in person. Additionally, you can set things up so that text messages can come through whatever line you designate as your main contact number.
- Increase Your Visibility - By using QR codes or other keywords, you can become visible to a whole demographic that places a high-importance on being on the cutting edge of technology. When you have certain mobile keywords that prompt customers to sign-up for, this will allow the development of incentives that are well rounded and attracts a number of generations.
- Create an Environment for Loyalty - Great incentives keep customers coming through the door and calling orders in. SMS messaging can be used to send visuals of new dishes, offer new items, percentage off coupons, and solicit immediate feedback on what your customers think. All of this provides metrics you need to determine what you need to fix and what is working well.
- Make an App - As a restaurant, having an app takes you to the next level, providing even more savings and exclusivity to your customers. This is a great way to monitor how many people use your app, a place to place promotions, and a forum where live texting can take place. Add a loyalty rewards program to the mix and you may have a completely different customer-set who is now interested in what you have to offer.
- Go Auto - SMS Messaging doesn’t have to occur on the back-end every day. The right messaging program will allow you to schedule posts and promotions when you want to. Having certain promotions ready to go out on a consistent basis is smart marketing and increases the productivity of the marketing efforts and department. You can send a special to your customers when they leave work.
- Keep your Customers - Sending limited, time-sensitive promotions out throughout the day will keep customers trickling in regardless of the season. Sending customized texts based on customer preference and eating habits will add a personalized touch that will make them want to come back for more. When customers have made reservations, following up with a simple text to determine whether or not they will be attending can have an easy text response. This allows you to fill your tables with other patrons if necessary, and keeps the line of communication open with the previous customer.
- Use tactics to grow - One of the best ways to grow your restaurant franchise is to give everyone a sense of belonging. All employees should be able to schedule messages and plan promotions based on standard templates to keep everyone involved and in high engagement.
These are a few ways successful restaurants do this:
- Bojangles Restaurants uses SMS messaging to promote their entrée specials via mobile text. Email messaging is also used as a second outreach.
- L&L Hawaiian BBQ in Utah utilizes SMS messaging as part of their membership rewards program, which provides exclusive deals, free food events, and their signature night.
- HighFive Frozen Yogurt uses SMS messaging to promote discounts and special deals.
- Nattie’s Frozen Creations has used SMS messaging to build their brand, following and promotions through specials and offering loyalty points.
With SMS messaging, there is no limit to the marketing tactics you can use to attract and engage audiences. With the ability to reach current and potential customers regardless of the type phone they have, this opens the doors for more opportunities to conduct surveys and polls, integrate other forms of communication, engage them in other social media platforms, and in creating a community that is based on appeal and preference.
Taking the time to integrate the marketing messages for your restaurant can be beneficial. SMS messaging immediately reaches the consumer, keeping your establishment in top-of-mind awareness. The more your restaurant is engaged, the more enticing it becomes, eventually converting those prospects into revenue. Using effective visuals and language that will create a buzz is key in getting those messages answered and forwarded to others.
Although email has been one of the most effective ways of reaching a dedicated customer base, today’s consumer is more tech savvy, depending largely on their phone to conduct transactions and communicate, making it the tool of choice in effective engagement and marketing practices.