As technology continues to get better, SMS marketing might seem like an outdated way to boost your marketing campaign. However, it remains an extremely effective tool for restaurants, especially those looking to save money on advertising costs.
How Does SMS Marketing Work in Today's world?
It gives businesses the capability to reach their entire customer base in an instant. Text message marketing has an opening rate of approximately 90%-98%, with 86% opening the message within the first 60 seconds of receiving said text. This gives restaurants the opportunity to have a sudden impact on the customer. Of course, the reason text message marketing is so important and effective comes down to how much the modern consumer, or anyone in general for that matter, has contact with their phone.
The Benefits of SMS Marketing for Restaurants:
SMS marketing is considerably cheaper than other forms of marketing, therefore, if cost is an issue, consider adopting this strategy.
2 - Reach
If you limit your marketing to email for example, your reach is less than that of a text message, which is less likely to be lost in the crowd compared to an email and has a much more instant approach to it.
3 - Instant Results
Results are instant as 90% of text messages are opened within the first 3 minutes of being received.
4 - Boosts Customer Loyalty
Attractive and enticing messages will bring in customers, tempting them to return again and again for exclusive offers.
The Best Practices for SMS Marketing in Restaurants
1 - Use Only When Needed
It’s important not to spam customers with messages, as it’s a sure-fire way to make them opt out. Save SMS messages for urgent offers that you deem important enough to warrant the usage.
2 - Get Permission
This is extremely important as you must seek a customer’s approval before sending them text messages. They must opt in and you need to be specific about what messages you plan to send them.
3 - Keep Messages Short and Sweet
This isn’t an email or a blog, so try to keep messages within the SMS character limit. Customers don’t want to read a story when they receive a text, it’s meant to be short and sweet.
4 - Personalise Messages
Even when it comes to bulk SMS messages, customisation can go a long way. This can be as simple as addressing the customer by their first name as it brings a more personal, direct quality to the message.
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5 - Opt Out
Wherever you have the opt-in option in your call to action, there must also be an opt-out. Most text messages should have this option at the bottom of the text, or at least in the initial message sent.
9 Effective SMS Marketing Ideas For Restaurants
1 - Discount Codes
A fantastic way of making sure customers take you up on your offer is by running exclusive ‘show this text’ offers and discount codes. This means putting a start and end time to encourage customers to redeem ASAP.
2 - Birthday Treats
Who doesn’t love an extra treat on their birthday? Customers love receiving discounts and offers on their special day. Luckily, many restaurant text marketing tools can automate the process of sending messages to specific customers on different occasions.
3 - Encourage a Second Order
The goal here is to turn one-time orders into regular customers. This can be a simple as sending customers who have made their first order a discount on their second.
4 - Re-engage Customers Who Haven’t Ordered in a While
When a customer feels like they’ve begun to slip away and started to order less frequently, try to target them via SMS. It’s cheaper to identify these customers and bring them back, rather than attracting new ones.
5 - Organise a Fun Competition
To keep things interesting for your customers, organise giveaways or contests that are exclusive to SMS subscribers. They can be either instant giveaways – such as the first 10 to respond receive a free item - or spread out over a period of time.
6 - Announce Special Events
Let your customers know via SMS when special events are occurring at your restaurant, invite them to dine in on Valentine’s Day, or a long weekend for example.
7 - Encourage Referrals
Word of mouth is a powerful form of advertising, just as SMS marketing is a great way to bring in referrals. A good example of this is sending a message like this:
‘It’s World Friendship Day! Send this coupon code to a friend and you’ll both get 20% off any item on [restaurant name]’s pizza menu: FRIEND20.’
8 - Announce an Exclusive Taste Test of a New Menu Item
Make customers feel like they’re part of an exclusive club by sending attractive sales messages. Invite them to be the first to try a new item on the menu by presenting their text to staff upon arrival.
9 - Send Spontaneous Messages
It’s important to make SMS marketing fun by going off script and trying out unique ideas or processes. Perhaps on a hot Summer’s day, send out a 50% off all cold drinks for that afternoon only and you’ll see profits soar.
The Bottom Line
SMS marketing for restaurants is a simple, affordable and highly effective way of surprising your customers with unique offers and discounts, which will turn them into regulars. If you pay attention to the best practices above and don’t overwhelm subscribers with daily messages, your sales and brand recognition will increase.