Thursday, January 2, 2014

Social media and apps have become useful tools for the restaurant business, helping them reach out to a younger audience and expand their ROI. With so much material out there vying for attention, choosing the right platform for your message is more important than ever. Enter: text message marketing.

Remember, texts have close to a one hundred percent open rate. There are nearly seven billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, and numerous studies have shown that SMS is the best way to communicate through these devices. It’s virtually guaranteed that messages will be received and read immediately – usually within the first three minutes of being sent.

SMS also pulls in customers on demand, with 69% of consumers using mobile devices to order food online. If customers are already using mobile to interact with your business, you should be reciprocating. If, for instance, Tuesday lunchtime is one of your slowest periods, you can create a targeted SMS campaign offering a free dessert with all meals purchased on that day. Send a bulk SMS to invite customers to send the keyword ‘dessert’ to a shortcode. This will tell you how many customers to expect, and which offers are most effective.

Building brand loyalty depends on developing a more personal relationship with your contact list. The first step to achieving this is requesting opt-in permission from your customers. There are a few ways to do this, including promotional campaigns printed on menus or using a staff member to explain the process. Once you’ve cultivated a healthy list, what next? Here is a short list of ideas for engaging your customers:

  • Event invitations
  • Competitions
  • Coupons

All of these ideas are interactive, fun and easy to implement. By offering them as freebies, your contacts will respond in kind with long-term loyalty. They don’t need to be expensive to produce either. And the beauty of SMS marketing is that it’s as efficient as it is affordable.