Restaurants rely on consistent demand and word-of-mouth to survive. Text message marketing can help to leverage standard marketing strategies and help boost sales. Almost 80% of the population in the United States owns a cell phone. For restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses in the food and beverage industry, there is huge potential to engage with customers. SMS marketing gives you the power to drive sales through competitions, news, discounts and events – all through one easy-to-use and cost-effective tool. Do you want to know how text message marketing can help you grow your audience?
It’s well documented that up to 98% of SMS messages originating from brands are opened by customers. In contrast, statistics published by Mail Chimp reveal only 20.26% of recipients open emails sent by restaurants.
Numerous reports also reveal that 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes. Restaurants can therefore take advantage of limited-time-only deals to encourage more diners to visit your establishment. Because text messages are instantaneous, you can also utilise your SMS service to make the customer’s dining experience more dynamic. For instance, busy restaurants can send notifications to regular customers when there are only a handful of tables left at any one night. Or why not inform guests that are waiting for their table to become available that it will be ready in five minutes.
Engaging with customers via a cell phone is more intimate than other forms of communication. Before businesses are entitled to send commercial text messages you must obtain permission from recipients. The SMS marketing process is often the first step to building customer relationships for any business. When customers give consent to restaurants to send them offers, it’s because they enjoy the dining experience and are happy to visit again. Your SMS program should be integrated into your customer service program to ensure your most valued customers are well looked after. If they enjoy your food, they are your friend, so treat them like one.
One of the best ways to acquire new customers is to advertise an attractive discount. All consumers have to do is send a message with the shortcode and in return, they receive an electronic coupon sent directly to their cell phone. What’s more, a higher percentage of discount coupons are redeemed via cell phones over paper coupons. Attractive discounts are hard to refuse when people are hungry. Another proven way of expanding your clientele is to offer discounts to your existing customers if they introduce a friend. Alternatively, create attractive deals designed for larger parties.
There are numerous ways for restaurants to use SMS as a marketing tool and it can do wonders for your branding. However, it should be noted that how you use texting can have both negative or positive impacts. For example, sending too many text messages, or inappropriate offers to the wrong people can damage the perception your customers have of your restaurant. For example, don’t send a coupon offering 20% off a rack of ribs to a vegetarian.
Announcing any company news by SMS helps put your restaurant at the forefront of people’s minds. Perhaps you have added new recipes to your menu or you’re hiring a new chef. If you’re opening a new restaurant or win any awards, let your customers know and promote an event to celebrate. Perhaps you may want to offer your most valued guests a special discount that makes them feel special. Likewise, if you host live music performances or special events, let your customer know who will be performing. Don’t forget to include the date and time of the event.
Contests, sweepstakes and giveaways are a great way to get people invested in your restaurant. If the prize is worth winning, people will even talk to tell their friends and work colleagues about it. Encourage people to enter by inviting them to send a text. Make sure you remember to get their consent before you send any text marketing messages. Needless to say, the giveaway has to be tempting enough for people to enter. A romantic meal for two, or a free bottle of wine may work for some restaurants whilst others may have to be more creative.
Modern consumers want to know they are being well looked after. This is certainly the case for customers of brands in the food and beverage service industry. Restaurants can show you care about what people think by listening to their feedback. Given SMS receives a 41% response rate, texting is a great tool for sending out a poll or a feedback form. You can also follow up with customers that make actionable suggestions and announce to other customers that you have listened to what people have to say by announcing any changes you intend to make.
Texting does not have to be reserved for your customers. You can take advantage of the low costs offered with text message marketing packages to communicate with your employees and team members. For instance, if one member of staff has called in sick, you can use SMS to contact other team members to cover the shift in an instant’s notice. You may also want to use SMS to inform your employees about things they need to know. SMS has multiple benefits for restaurants and because so many Americans own cellphones, texting is a great way to reach them.