SMS Marketing for Restaurants
Update August 2020:
Recently Walmart joined Microsoft and said that they will bid for the TIKTOK Social Media site. Their offer would be around 30 Billion dollars.!
Why would Walmart and Microsoft want to buy a site built for and used by 13-14-year old’s?
One good reason. TikTok’s database. Otherwise known as a list, which is huge. Millions and millions of teenagers that would eventually become their steady and loyal customers.
Why am I talking about this?
Because restaurants need a list also. If you do not have a list, you are not in control of your future.
Having a list, restaurants can create predictable income and never be short of customers filling their restaurants or ordering online.
Good SMS Marketing program will build a list of loyal customers to whom you can market and create predictable income.
Running a restaurant is not a piece of cake.
Sometimes, business is booming. The restaurant is packed, the kitchen is bustling, and you have got a waiting line wrapping around the corner. Other times… not so much. How about Monday mid-afternoon? Pretty empty? At times like that, you are starving for business.
Text message marketing allows restaurants to order up a fresh round of customers, exactly when you need them most.
With text marketing, you will drive customer traffic on demand. It only takes a few clicks, you can send your customers enticing deals, time-sensitive offers, and weekly specials that instantly arrive in their hands.
Within minutes, you will have hungry hoards lining up for a bite of your business.
Bottom line: text marketing means more revenue, more customers, and more buzz for your restaurant.
So… what exactly is text message marketing? And how can your restaurant use it successfully?
Read on, restaurateur. Read on.
What is Text Message Marketing?
Simply put, it is the use of text messages for the purpose of marketing.
It is an easy, effective, and inexpensive way for restaurants to cash in on the massive popularity of texting, increasing both revenue and customer loyalty.
Restaurants send mobile coupons, advertise weekly specials, promote events, and more, all via text messaging.
Want an example?
Joe makes the finest pizzas outside of Italy, but he is got a problem: business booms on the weekend, but Mondays are dead. It is a problem many restaurateurs face: unprofitable slow days.
Joe decides to do something about it: he signs up with QRM Text. He reserves a free keyword PIZZA and puts up a sign in the pizzeria:
Buy One Pizza Get the Second Pizza for Half Off!
Text PIZZA to 6043308228 - this is a live campaign demo so you can text as shown
Next Monday, just before lunch, Joe logs on to QRM Text and sends this appetizing text to all his pizza-loving customers.
Within minutes, there is a steady stream of hungry customers walking through the door—a big change for a Monday!
With each new week, Joe gets more customers to text and the effect quickly snowballs.
Now, the pizzeria is packed on Mondays, Joe is earning a lot more money, and he is got hundreds of loyal customers who he can mobilize to his restaurant at any time.
NOT CONVINCED YET?
Here are 7 great reasons why text messaging is an ideal medium for restaurants to reach customers.
7 Reasons Why Your Restaurant Should Text
- Texts are Popular
All your customers are already texting–why not text with them? 3 out of 4 (73%) North Americans regularly send or receive text messages.
Restaurants are in a unique position to cash in on texting’s popularity: texting is most popular with young adults–97% of them text regularly. In fact, text messaging is the most common form of written communication for 15 – 34-year old.
Why is that a big deal for restaurants? Because adults 18-34 eat out more than any other age group. In other words, they are the people frequenting your restaurant the most, your most valuable customers.
Speak the language of your most valuable customers: text!
- Texts are a “Guaranteed Read”
No text goes unseen, seriously. That is why the New York Times recommended text message marketing in their Small Business Guide, trumpeting it as “guaranteed read.”
The facts back up their claim: 97% of marketing texts are read. For some perspective, the open rate of marketing emails is typically 10%. There is simply no better way to reach your customers every time.
- Texts are Instant
It is not just that all texts are read: they are read immediately. 90% of texts are read within 3 minutes! That is a breakneck speed from typing a text to your customers reading it, and it opens new marketing possibilities.
Those 3 minutes allow you to attack slow downs with surgical precision: get customers walking through your door in minutes, exactly when you need them most.
- Texts are Intimate
Why do we invariably read all our texts, usually within minutes? Because most of our messages come from close friends, family, and love interests. A text inbox, unlike an email inbox, is exclusive and intimate space.
When your customers accept your texts, they do not welcome you as some faceless business: they welcome you as a friend–a warm restaurant with a human touch.
- Texts are Mobile
Texts allow you to reach your loyal customers anytime, anywhere. Nowadays, cell phones are practically an extension of our bodies: they are constantly on-hand. 90% of young adults even sleep with their phones!
Unlike physical coupons, menus, or flyers, customers will carry your message with them wherever they go. Your text is seamlessly stored in the phone, available whenever and wherever they need it.
- Texts are Affordable
The cost of text campaigns is miniscule–as little as 1¢ per text–and well worth the return on investment. Many restaurants do not have piles of extra cash for a TV spot, while others do not need a full-on ad campaign–they just need a push during slowdowns and a better loyalty program.
Business-wise, text marketing simply makes sense for restaurants. No wonder the big brands like Arby’s, Hardee’s, Carl Jr.’s, and Pizza Hut, among many others, are using text message marketing.
- Texts are Well-Received
Let us be clear: you are not blasting spam to anonymous emails. You are texting customers who already know and love your food.
That is why the texts you send are so effective: customers want to receive them. By marketing to customers who already love your food, you are tapping directly into your most valuable resource.
What to Text
Okay, you get it, texting is great for restaurants… but what exactly are you going to text? Here are 6 great text campaigns, along with examples, that are sure to keep your customers coming in and coming back.
Encourage repeat customers and invite new ones with text coupons.
Daily Diner Coupon – Present this text for 1 FREE COFFEE or TEA with any purchase.
Send time-sensitive discounts to drive traffic and speed up slowdowns.
Joe’s Pizza – Offer good only before p.m.: Buy 2 slices of any pizza, get a FREE MEDIUM DRINK!
Keep guests up to date with your chef’s weekly specials.
Italiano’s Weekly Chef Special: Bistecca Gorgonzola – Premium filet topped w/ blue cheese sauce, grilled onions & asparagus.
Notify your customers about special events and musical guests.
Tommy’s Irish Pub & Grill – Come down for some traditional Celtic music at Tommy’s! Boys of Eire — This Friday only 6-p.m.!
Create a buzz and collect new contacts for your text campaigns with a Text-2-Win contest.
Primo’s Steakhouse – You have successfully entered to win FREE dinner for 4. Winner will be notified by text on Dec 1. Good luck!
Have customers vote for their favorite dishes and get instant feedback.
Ice Creamery – What’s your favorite new flavor?
A. Strawberry Smash
B. Peanut Butter Blitz
C. Cookies n’ Creme de Menthe
How it Works
Alright, so you know why to text, and you know what to text… but still not sure exactly how it all works? Do not worry, it is simple.
Your Keyword & Our Short code/Phone Numbers
You start by reserving a keyword. A keyword is your exclusive code that people will use to opt-in to receive your messages.
Your customers will opt-in by texting your keyword to 6043308228 and typing a selected keyword like “Pizza” or other.
Your keyword should also be easy to remember and should represent your restaurant. Keep it short and sweet.
For example, if you run Primo’s Steakhouse, “PRIMO STEAKHOUSE” would be way too long–something like” STEAK” or “PRIMOS” would be perfect.
You also can import contacts with QRM Text. If you have a database of customer contacts, you can upload them into your account in seconds.
Contacts that you import into our system must have given express consent to be contacted. Texting any numbers that you have not collected organically is illegal and strictly against QRM Text Anti-Spam policy.
Now that you have got your Keyword, you should give your customers some reason to sign up for your texts.
Some of your guests will opt-in simply because they love your restaurant and want to hear from you. But you should try to collect as many opt-ins as possible–the larger your list, the larger the profits you pull in as a return.
Some guests will be hesitant to share their phone numbers for these hard-to-get types, a little incentive will go a long way.
Here are 3 incentives that never fail to bring in new subscribers:
- On-the-Spot Discounts
Your guests will love getting deals sent to their phones in the future. They will love a deal now even more. Offer an immediate discount for signing up in the restaurant.
Get 15% off your meal today! Just text “Keyword” to 555888 for an instant discount and monthly coupons.
- Free Gifts
No one can resist the allure of getting something for nothing. Offer your guests a free appetizer, dessert, or drink in exchange for signing up for your texts.
Join our Text Club today and receive a FREE dessert! Ask your server for more information.
- Sweepstakes and Giveaways
If you inform entrants ahead of time, you are free to text them with promotional messages for months after the contest is over.
Win a FREE iPad Mini! Just text “Keyword” to 555888 for your chance to win and join our VIP list.
Service vs. Spam
Do not forget that your text campaign is likely an incentive in itself.
Whether you are texting guests’ discounts, coupons, specials, or event reminders, remember that these benefits are often incentive enough to get opt-ins.
Market your campaign as a friendly service, rather than a way to spam them with ads. Let your patrons know about the benefits of subscribing with a clear message.
No matter how enticing your incentive is, no one will subscribe to your text campaign if they do not know about it. And they will not know about it until you tell them.
Which brings us to an essential point: you must advertise your text campaign.
Get the word out! Advertise your incentive wherever you can. Be sure to include a “call to action” containing the ridiculously simple instructions to join (e.g. “text ‘keyword” to 555888”).
Be clear about the benefits of subscribing and what exactly it is you are offering. People already want what you are offering: your challenge is to make them realize how simple it really is.
Because your call-to-action is so succinct and your message so clear, it is easy to promote your text campaign almost anywhere.
Where to Advertise
- Table tents
- Window signs
- Cash register
To get the most for your money, be sure to integrate your simple keyword and instructions into any existing advertising that you are already paying for:
- Newspaper and/or magazine ads
- Radio and/or television spots
- Internet display ads
- Social Media
Keep it simple. Remember that your consumer/customer has a noticeably short attention span so do not complicate the ads.
No matter what the scope of your ad, be sure to feature the keyword and phone number prominently: this is by far the most essential information for your guests. Secondary to the keyword, make sure the incentives are easy to read and grasp.
Your advertisement should also include two necessary elements: A Opt-Out and a notice of frequency.
The disclaimer simply serves to let the customer know that their normal costs for text messaging applies. The standard form of this disclaimer is: “Message and Data Rates May Apply.”
The notice of frequency just means that you should inform guests of how many texts they will receive. Best practice is to send 2 to 4 texts per month. Sending significantly more texts than advertised could result in some heavy fines.
Want to find out more?
Book a FREE consultation session where we can explain all the benefits of Text Message Marketing and how you can create Predictable Income using SMS/TEXT Message marketing
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