Text Message Marketing: Is It Right for Your Restaurant?
People rarely leave home without their mobile phones. They’re also 83% likely to open text messages within just 3 minutes. This makes texting a personal, direct, and highly targeted way to connect with customers.
But is text message marketing right for your restaurant?
Before you hit send, consider the following questions…
How well do you know your customers?
Have you built a positive relationship with your customers? Restaurants that make a special effort to connect with customers will get better results from texting. This is because mobile phones are the most intimate communication devices that people own.
Think about it: would you want to receive multiple texts from strangers?
Get to know your exact target market. Interact with your regular customers. Get close enough that people can relate your texts to a friendly brand image. When they can put a face to the name, you’ll see better results.
Do you have the right opt-in system?
Texting isn’t a good way to generate new leads. It’s a means of strengthening bonds with voluntary subscribers.
Don’t start using texting until people have opted-in. Try using a secure systems like Tatango or TextHub, which are designed specifically for restaurant text marketing. The best type of system adds new subscribers when they text a code word like “POUTINE” to a number. They use their personal phone, so being added by a third-party isn’t an option.
When it comes to text marketing, let subscribers come to you.
Once you have their permission you know they’ll be ready to participate.
Do you have integrated marketing?
Texting should be just one piece of your bigger restaurant marketing puzzle. (tweet this) Plan a strategy that uses multiple channels based on each medium’s unique strengths.
You might use texting for same-day reminders, for example, after building buzz through email and traditional marketing. Because texting is so great for timed messages, you’ll catch people just as they’re deciding what to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Integrate your texts into a larger marketing strategy.
Can you provide a clear benefit?
With text message marketing, you need to offer something that people will really want. Start a give-and-take interaction. Offer a discount or free product. Don’t just shamelessly promote.
Texting is a great tool during slower business hours, because you can offer immediate benefits within a certain time frame. If you’re a cafe with busy mornings but slow afternoons, try a text like “Two for one lattes! Today only! 3-5pm!”
Always make sure you can offer an easily redeemable benefit before you text.
Are you using social media?
Text campaigns can be connected to online social networks. Many of your recipients have smart phones with social media apps. Linking to social networks is a great way to start a conversation while increasing your restaurant sales. (tweet this)
Create a unique hashtag for your promotion, and ask customers to tweet it for a delicious reward. Encourage people to tag you in their mobile pictures. Here’s a helpful article on using Instagram hashtags for restaurant marketing.
About 8 million people use Yelp on their mobile phones now. A similar app called AroundMe has 6 million mobile users and counting. Offer redeemable points for ‘checking in’ and reviewing your restaurant using these networks.
Get active on social networks and use texts to enhance the conversation with customers.
Can you maintain a consistent texting strategy?
Opting in is a personal step, and customers will expect you to commit.
If you’re only able to send out one message a year, texting might not be right for your restaurant.
Be prepared with a backlog of text ideas. Before you start texting, make a list of potential offers and promotions you might use. Send something out at least once every few months. This lets people know you’re active, organized, and you value their subscription.
On the other hand, don’t be too frequent! Texting every week is a bit overzealous. You don’t want to be one of those evil spammers.
Is your site mobile-friendly?
Don’t text unless your site looks good on mobile devices. People will often access your site from their phones. They’ll want to navigate through your pages to find your phone number, look at your menu, or get directions. A poorly designed mobile layout will cost you valuable business.
Try a web solution that’s optimized for a range of devices. This way you’ll be proud to include a link to your website in future texts.