SMS marketing for restaurants is the most effective form of mobile marketing in terms of generating engagement with your customers, raising brand awareness and increasing sales. Text message restaurant marketing uses a simple yet versatile channel of communication that most people have access to and costs only pennies per text message per customer.
In addition to its simplicity and cost, one of the main advantages of a restaurant text marketing service is that it is a permission-based activity. This means that customers have to opt into the service in order to receive SMS messages from your restaurant. Whenever you launch a mobile marketing campaign, it is being directed at existing customers interested in what your restaurant has to say.
More Advantages of SMS Marketing for Restaurants
SMS marketing for restaurants is more effective than other forms of mobile marketing because it has greater reach. More than 98% of the population has access to a mobile device capable of receiving an SMS text message. Just 68% of the population has access to an Internet-enabled mobile device capable of browsing the web, receiving emails and engaging in social media.
Consequently text message restaurant marketing performs four to five times better than online advertising for creating brand awareness, while coupons attached to SMS messages have a redemption rate up to eight times higher than coupons attached to email. Incidentally, 94% of SMS text messages are opened within three minutes of receipt, compared to an email open rate of just 22%.
The Uses of a Restaurant Text Marketing Service
In addition to promoting your restaurant with coupons, there are many practical uses of a restaurant text marketing service. Special events, VIP promotions and positive reviews can be shared via SMS marketing for restaurants. Restaurants can also run sweepstakes-style competitions (subject to local regulations) or set up a remote ordering service with text message restaurant marketing.
Because of the intimacy and immediacy of SMS marketing for restaurants, a restaurant text marketing service can be used to create urgency. People typically reach for their mobile devices as soon as they hear the ringtone of an incoming text message and reply in an average of 90 seconds (according to the CTIA). This makes a restaurant text marketing service an ideal vehicle through which to run “first-come-first-served” promotions.
How to Start Text Message Restaurant Marketing
There are two things you need in order to start text message restaurant marketing - access to a bulk text messaging platform and a database of customers to send marketing messages to. Access to a bulk text messaging platform is usually free. You simply subscribe to a bulk text messaging service and then pay for the number of texts you send each month or use the service provider´s pay-as-you-go option.
Building a database of customers is slightly more complicated as you have to invite customers to join your restaurant text marketing service. This can be done via an offer using keywords and short codes (i.e. “text `discount´ to 313131 for 10% off your next order”) or by using sign-up widgets that you can place on your website or Facebook page, or distribute by Twitter and email.
How to Use a Bulk Text Messaging Platform and its Features
Once logged into the bulk text messaging platform, SMS marketing for restaurants is a straightforward operation. You simply upload your database of customers, compose your message and click send, or schedule your message to be dispatched at a time when it will have maximum impact. Within minutes of sending your customers will be reading your text message wherever they are, whatever they are doing.
The platform allows you to monitor the success of your restaurant mobile marketing campaign. It provides information such as delivery rates, open rates and spikes in engagement so you can fine-tune future campaigns. The platform has additional features that include the option to save sent messages as templates for future use and personalize each message with the recipient’s name. You can even integrate the platform into a POS system by using its API.
How to Generate Engagement and Raise Brand Awareness
However, one of the most valuable features of a bulk text messaging platform is its poll builder. The poll builder enables you to generate engagement and raise brand awareness by sending your database of customers a survey and asking them to respond by choosing from up to five sub-keywords. An example of polling your customer database would be if you were to own a restaurant called “Cheers”, and you surveyed your database about their favorite beer. The customers could have the choice of replying with:
- “Cheers Bud”
- “Cheers Coors”
- “Cheers Miller”
- “Cheers Busch”
- “Cheers Michelob”
Your customers´ responses would be collated by the bulk text messaging platform and, using this information, you could plan future mobile marketing campaigns. You would also know which beers to promote and gain good idea about how much stock you should acquire. Polls and surveys that are interesting to your customers often get shared among families, friends and colleagues. If those people also respond to your poll, your database of customers will grow quickly.
The Rules for Text Message Restaurant Marketing
In addition to being a permission-based activity, there are rules for text message restaurant marketing. Most of these can be found in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act 1991 (TCPA); the Mobile Marketing Association has produced a condensed version of the Act in its Code of Conduct. Effectively, the rules for text message restaurant marketing stipulate how to build a database of customers, how to protect personal privacy, the frequency at which text messages can be sent, and how your customers can opt out of the restaurant text marketing service.
The telephone companies carrying your SMS messages also have a set of rules for text message restaurant marketing. These rules stipulate what cannot be contained within your text messages or any attachment to them. Prohibited content includes profanity, pornography and hate speech; in addition, your messages will be blocked (and your restaurant text marketing service likely suspended) if you endorse illegal drug use or violence.
Try SMS Marketing for Restaurants for Free
If you feel that the benefits of text message restaurant marketing would be valuable to your restaurant, we invite you to try SMS marketing for restaurants for free using the “Free & EZ” texting plan. “Free & EZ” offers restaurant owners and marketing executives the opportunity to experience text message marketing without a contract, and requires no credit card, no set up fees, and no obligation to commit to a higher level of service at any time.
The “Free & EZ” texting plan includes a demo keyword that you can use in conjunction with one of our short codes to build your customer database, website “Click-to-Join” widgets and full access to our bulk text messaging platform. Speak with our Client Success Managers to find out more about this free offer, or start your “Free & EZ” experience by registering for your free account. EZ Texting has helped thousands of businesses successfully start a restaurant text marketing service, and we invite you to join them.
Clients Already Using EZ Texting´s Restaurant Text Marketing Service
Couch Tomato Café
The Couch Tomato Cafe is a family-style restaurant in Philadelphia, PA, that offers wraps, dips, gourmet pizzas, and more for take-out or delivery. They also offer catering throughout the Philadelphia area.
Founded in 1960, Domino's Pizza is the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, operating a network of company-owned and franchise-owned stores in the United States and international markets. The Domino's Pizza franchise at UNC-Charlotte is an EZ Texting client. The franchise realized that SMS was the perfect way to promote its Facebook group and, most importantly, sell more pizza.
Let’s Eat! - a meal assembly store based in Atlanta, GA - is best described as a grocery store-restaurant hybrid. Let’s Eat! customers order meals in advance, thus reducing shopping trips and avoiding prep work. And there's no cleanup required.