Thursday, December 11, 2014

A good restaurant can always expect an upswing in sales during the holidays, but in order to capitalize on the influx of potential customers, owners must have a well-oiled marketing machine. Restaurants are very competitive, especially during Christmas time, offering deals on gift certificates and featured menus to drive traffic and bring in more revenue. Many restaurant marketers have missed the burgeoning trend of SMS text marketing, however, and this holiday season should prove the best return on investment for SMS marketers to date.

From 2008 to 2013, worldwide mobile commerce has grown from virtually nothing into more than ten billion dollars – and that number is expected to double in 2016. This growth stems from two facts: 1) over half the world’s population (and at least 90% of American adults) own a mobile phone, and 2) marketers want to interact with their customers as efficiently as possible. SMS marketing is one of the most efficient ways to conduct mobile commerce due to its relevance, intimacy, and immediacy. Over 97% of mobile users read their text messages within fifteen seconds of receiving them. Unfortunately, the hospitality and service industries have been some of the last sectors to get on board with SMS marketing.

This Christmas, make sure your restaurant has an edge on the service industry competition by following these five important ideas for restaurant text marketing.

  1. Inform Guests of Their Upcoming Reservations
    Make use of SMS by sending out a reminder for your customers who have a reservation in the coming weeks. The holidays are a tumultuous time, when families are planning trips, shopping for stocking stuffers, and arranging meetings with loved ones. Why not provide a gentle reminder for your guests? It will help you avoid late reservations and cancellations, and keep your restaurant more top-of-mind in the future.

  2. Send a Flash Text About Secret Offers
    Customers always feel special when they are in on the deal. By sending an exclusive text to your frequent diners, you can show your guests that they are your top priority. And they’re bound to show up for a secret that no one else knows about.

  3. Contests and Competitions
    People are eager to get into the fun during the holiday season, so create a contest or a competition to stir up some business. In one example, ask your customers to text you their favorite dish served at your restaurant, and offer a gift certificate to one lucky winner. People will participate, and your business will stay fresh in their minds.

  4. Voting and Polling
    Similar to competitions and contests, voting and polling allow your guests to interact with the restaurant they love. Send them a simple SMS message with a question, tally the responses, and publish the results on your website. Customers can check in periodically for the latest results.

  5. Keep Your Patrons Apprised of the Deals
    This is the easiest way to reach your customers, and drive traffic to your restaurant. Simply send out a coupon or a code that guests can redeem when they visit. Your customers will appreciate the heads up during the busy holiday season.

Don’t be left in the dust by other savvy restaurant marketers. Try these five SMS marketing strategies now – before the season is over!