Industry expert, Mobivity, estimates that a well-constructed restaurant text message marketing, or SMS marketing, plan can boost both customer retention and net average spend by as much as 25%.
SMS campaigns also have the advantage of producing very rapid customer responses, which makes the return on investment (ROI) of particular campaigns easy to track in real-time.
And one of the key principles of marketing is that what can be measured can be improved.
SMS campaigns are simple and inexpensive to set up when compared with more traditional forms of marketing.
Many campaigns also boast message open rates as high as 95% – way better than the 40-45% typically reported for restaurant email campaigns
These factors combine to make for a typically very attractive ROI.
But, as with all kinds of marketing, there are certain key elements that need to be in place if optimal results are to be achieved –
You probably know that SMS stands for “Short Messaging Service” and as the name suggests it’s great for sending simple messages.
But for best results in marketing a restaurant business you need to use a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) that will allow you to include images, GIFS, and even video and audio in your messages.
MMS alone will skyrocket your response rates, but for even better customer engagement you should also incorporate a system called RCS (Rich Communication Services), which will allow you to set up a real-time dialogue with customers.
In this sense, it’s similar to email marketing, but far more effective because customers are typically much quicker to open and respond to texts than to emails.
As with email marketing campaigns, it’s crucial to identify different types and groups of customers and segment them accordingly so that they only receive messages, offers, and promotions in which they’re likely to be interested.
Effective segmentation and response monitoring will also ensure that you do not alienate customers by messaging them about offers or promotions they have already declined.
And a good messaging system will store enormously valuable data about the responsiveness of particular customer demographics, geographical locations, and other profile points to different offers, and the popularity of various menu and drink items at different times, etc.
And on this point, it’s essential that you carefully track your results and store this data for future use – as a good system will allow you to do. Not only will this allow you to fine-tune your future campaigns, but the speed and responsiveness of SMS and MMS will also enable you to make very rapid changes to your menus, offers, and promotions as required.
The above measures will go a long way towards ensuring the success of your campaigns.
But there’s one additional overriding factor you need to be aware of.
Customers of all businesses are now more protective of their privacy than ever before, and restaurant customers are no different.
It’s therefore imperative that you should only message those who have given consent to receive communications from you. And even they should only receive highly targeted messages.
Monitoring your unsubscribe rates will give a useful early warning if you are sending too many or inadequately targeted messages.
Tightly focused, time-limited, campaigns will almost always yield better results than the mass broadcast kind of message.
And finally, remember that for all its advantages, text messaging remains only one of the marketing weapons at your disposal.
For best results, it should be integrated with your POS system, loyalty program, email marketing, and all other relevant restaurant technologies that you are using.