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SMS (Text Message) Restaurant Marketing Tips and Tricks

In the old days, about five years ago, restaurant marketing was hard enough. You still had to do all the old things, but you also had to market online and also deal with the fact that people were starting to post reviews online as well, and not all of them were good.

Oh for the old days when things were simple!

Now, you have all that, plus you need a mobile version of your website and you need to have a twitter account, a facebook page, join foursquare, get some videos on youtube, podcast something, monitor a million review sites, get to the top of Google places, check out some new thing called pinterest and still drop in on the kitchen once in awhile because, hey, you are still in the food business although sometimes it’s easy to forget. Sheesh.

And now they want you to use SMS to reach your customers as well.

I would say enough, you have to draw the line somewhere, but unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, SMS is actually a pretty good way to go. SMS just means text messaging but you can send it out the same way you send out an email.

You need to capture your customers phone numbers and get their permission to text them (people hate text spam even more than email spam) but once done, you will likely see a very good response rate assuming you send out something people want.

That is the point of the following article- three ideas on how to use SMS marketing for your restaurant to get the best response and biggest bang for your buck.

Or really, time. This stuff doesn’t cost a lot in dollars but it can eat an incredible amount of time if you aren’t careful and don’t have a consistent plan for using it.

If you use it right, however, it will pay off in terms of more sales, more repeat visits and more profits. And with that, you can hire someone to do this stuff for you, which is maybe the best reason of all to do it now yourself!

Lately I’ve been reading many great articles about restaurant websites and why you should have a mobile enabled version of your website, for when visitors browse your restaurant on a smartphone.  The general consensus of these articles is that you should seriously consider having  a mobile version of your site.  I agree wholeheartedly with this.

While I may agree with this, I find it important to point out that since people are using mobile devices, specifically smartphones, more and more frequently as their constant way of being “connected”, having a plan that includes SMS (text message) marketing is key to the success of your diner rewards and loyalty programs.

“Great”, you say. “But what do I send them via text message, and how do I get them to pay attention?”.  That is a very valid question.  Fear not though, we have three great examples of ways you can market to your diners using text messages.

1) Butts in seats pay the bills
Whether you like to admit it or not, at one point or another, every restaurant has a slow day.  Text message marketing is the perfect cure for an empty reservation book.  With a little thought, you can craft an offering that will make people want to come in after work.  For instance, maybe a special happy hour offering (e.g. half off appetizers, a martini special, etc.), maybe a dare (e.g. come to the restaurant and tell the bartender a joke and get half off an appetizer), or maybe just a no strings attached discount (e.g. bring a friend in to eat with you and we’ll pay for one of the meals).

2) Use text messaging as a way to encourage cross platform interaction
One of the more interesting uses we have heard our clients use our text messaging platform for is to get diners to interact on their Facebook Fan Pages. This is actually a blessedly simple promotion and it works wonders:

-The restaurant sends a text out to all their diners with some sort of trivia question, puzzle or contest question. The text message also includes a short link to the restaurant’s Facebook Fan Page, where the diner can respond

-Diners go to the Facebook Fan Page, and put their answer to whatever the question was, on the wall of the restaurant’s page.

-The restaurant then picks a winner (e.g. the first three people to respond, the best answer as voted on by the kitchen staff, etc.), and notifies them publicly on the fan page that they are the winner

-The diner goes into the restaurant to claim their prize, and everyone wins.

I told you it was simple.  You can use this type of promotion a million times, in a million different ways. The only limitation to this is your imagination.  Every time, you will win with this type of promotion, because you are interacting with your diners.

3) Use Text Messaging to enhance your emails
I know this sounds a little strange, but utilizing text messages can actually make your email marketing easier for your diners to redeem at your restaurant.

For instance, it comes with an option that will allow restaurants to send out emails to diners, and in that email is a button the diner can click to “grab the offer to their cell phone”.  The diner clicks the button, enters in their cell phone number, and that offer is instantly text messaged to their phone.

When the diner goes to the restaurant, they simply need to show their phone to the server, and they are awarded the offer or discount.  It’s easy, convenient, environmentally conscious and “high tech”.


Quoted Article Source Link: FobBoh

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