Text message marketing can be a powerful tool for customer retention. Customers open marketing text messages at an astounding rate of 98 percent, and since only one percent of marketing text messages are spam, customers trust these messages and find them credible. That means reaching out to customers directly on their mobile phones is one of the best ways to boost sales and reduce no-show reservations.
Restaurants typically use text message marketing to promote coupons and limited-time offers, cater to the needs of specific customer groups, and even poll customers on their preferences. You need to make sure you’re following the law regarding how you use customers’ phone numbers to market to them, but as long as you do that, you’re free to reel in repeat business with exclusive text offers sent at just the right times of day to entice hungry customers.
Don’t Send Unsolicited Text Messages
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the CAN-SPAM Act, you have to get permission from customers in order to market to them using their phone numbers. This means getting customers to opt in to text messages, but it also means following some guidelines laid out to protect customers from excessive marketing.
First, you have to include a clear option to opt out of marketing text messages. For many text marketers, this looks something like “Reply STOP to opt out”. When customers opt in, you have to give them an expectation of how many marketing texts they can expect to receive from your restaurant in any given period. And you’ll need to include some fine print in the marketing text signup promising to only send relevant information about your restaurant. This can include updates that might interest customers, as well as polls on customer preferences, contests, and booking confirms.
Signing customers up for a text marketing list is fairly straightforward. Most text marketing campaigns use keywords to enroll customers — customers are asked to text a specific keyword to a number in order to achieve a result. For example, you might ask customers to text “JOIN” to a number in order to sign up for text messages. The opt-out keyword might be “STOP.” Rather than asking customers to use keywords to redeem offers, though, you might include a hyperlink customers can follow, or you might even enjoin them to show the promotional message to their server to redeem the deal.
Promote Exclusive Special Offers
Offering exclusive offers customers can only access via your marketing texts is one of the most popular ways to encourage new customers to sign up for text messages. If customers can get a free item or a discount on a meal because they opted in to receiving a few texts a month, most customers will happily hand over their numbers. Daily deals, specials, coupons, and even contests can all incentivize customers to opt in to marketing texts from your restaurant.
Send Marketing Texts at Strategic Times
You might be surprised just how much successful text message marketing for restaurants depends on reaching out to customers at strategic times of the day. A bakery or café might see a significant return on investment for sending out a volley of marketing texts first thing in the morning, when customers are on their way to work, perhaps having just rushed out the door without breakfast, and looking for a quick caffeine fix or bagel to start the day. Other restaurants can send out marketing texts just before lunch or dinner, tantalizing customers with a meal discount or free item.
The restaurant industry is a fast-paced one, driven by people who mostly just want something good to eat quickly and don’t want to think too hard about it. When people are hungry and already thinking about food, it’s easy to sway them with the offer of some free fries or a meal deal.
Text message marketing is one of the best ways you can reach your customers, day and night. Most people trust text messages enough to read most of the texts they receive, and customers find a lot of value in the offers and coupons they receive via text message. So put together your own text message marketing campaign, and start to engage with your customers on a whole new level.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!