SMS marketing is a business technique that uses text message to spread promotional messages. SMS marketing gained a lot of popularity due to its effectiveness and low cost. Like every other business, SMS marketing is also important and relevant for the promotion of a restaurant. Restaurant SMS which is also known as text message marketing for restaurants is a communication method that is used to reach out to customers, in order to increase the sales and clientele of a restaurant. Restaurant SMS is the perfect channel for reaching out to customers. If you are already running a restaurant or you are about to open a restaurant, SMS marketing is an effective marketing technique to gain customers and improve the outlook of the restaurant.
Why is SMS the best choice for restaurant marketing?
According to research, 98% of the text messages sent are opened and read within 3 minutes by the recipient. This statistic has shown the fast response rate of SMS. SMS marketing is important for restaurants because it is the only marketing method that is direct and immediate. Also, when it is properly utilized, can increase sales, customer relationship, and also the star rating of the restaurant by the public or other bodies in charge of rating restaurants. Surprisingly, people love to eat at restaurants that have great reviews and SMS marketing is a great way to achieve that. In addition, SMS marketing is the best choice, because it can help to support the other marketing techniques of the restaurant such as Email and social media marketing.
Uses of Restaurant SMS
There are various uses of restaurant SMS and each uses have the same objective of making sure that a restaurant makes profit and increases its customer base. Some of the uses of restaurant SMS are:
Reservations and bookings
SMS has made it easier and faster for customers to make reservations at a restaurant. Restaurant SMS is still the easiest method for customers to book a table at a restaurant. The common way for making reservations at a restaurant is through phone calls or through the restaurant’s official website. SMS is cheaper for a restaurant that is just starting and doesn’t have enough capital to invest in a website. Also, every mobile device has the ability to receive and send text messages, this has made SMS a better choice for people to make restaurant reservations. SMS marketing is known to be very fast, this is important when a customer wants to make a last-minute reservation.
SMS marketing for restaurants can be used to get feedbacks from customers. All restaurant owners know that improving the service of their restaurant is important. Collecting feedbacks from customers is one of the best ways to know when a restaurant needs to improve in the quality of their food or service. Therefore, SMS can be used to get feedbacks from customers. The message can be sent hours after a customer has left the restaurant or a day after. For example, a feedback message can be constructed this way; “Thank you for coming to our restaurant (name of restaurant). on a scale of 1 – 10 can you rate our food and service, so that you can have a better experience when next you come”. This way the customers would feel that their opinions are being heard, and this can make the customers feel happy and important, which is good for the success of the restaurant.
Remind customers of their reservations
A great way to use restaurant SMS is to send a reminder text message to customers with their reservation details. Sending a reminder message to customers the day of or the day before, not only makes the customer feel special and wanted. It is also an opportunity for the customer to cancel the booking if they have forgotten or can’t make it anymore, and it also makes the restaurant aware that there is a table open for other customers to make reservations for. If a customer does not turn up for their reservation, it can make the restaurant lose a lot of money. If the restaurant is aware that the customer would not be able to make it, they would reserve the table for another customer. Example of a reminder text “Hi, (name of customer), thank you for making a booking to eat with us tonight. Just to confirm your table is booked for 8:00pm. If for some reason you cannot make it, please call us on (restaurant phone number)”.
Restaurant SMS marketing best practices
It is one thing for a restaurant to employ the use of SMS marketing, it is another for the restaurant to know how to use and properly utilize the platform in order to get the desired result. If SMS marketing is not used in the appropriate way, it can affect the restaurant negatively. Here are some of restaurant SMS best practices:
Timing: It is important for restaurants to consider the time when sending text messages to customers. Some restaurant marketing text are relevant at a particular time of the day. A restaurant that is having a discount on their lunch menu is sure to send such message around the same time when people would be on lunch break. Timing affects how effective the restaurant SMS would be.
Consent: It is compulsory for restaurants to have the consent of their customers or prospective customers before sending them promotional text message. A restaurant can get consent by asking the customers to send a keyword to their short code. If the customer performs the action it means they have given their consent to receive promotional texts from the restaurant.
Personalization: For better effects, a restaurant can personalize the message they send out to their customers by including their names. This usually makes the recipient of the text feel special and important which is good for the success of a restaurant.
Language: It is important for restaurants to note that the type of language they use affects the outlook of their brand. Restaurants need to keep the tone of the language simple, short, and straight to the point.
How to start SMS marketing for restaurants
The first step to starting a restaurant marketing campaign is to register with a service provider that has all the tools and features to deliver a quality texting experience like Express Text. Express Text has all the necessary tools and features that are required. When you are subscribed to a service provider they have different packages depending on the budget of the restaurant. After subscribing to the service provider, the next step is to upload the contacts of your customers. The contact information that would be needed is the customer’s first name, last name, and mobile number. Most restaurants would have the contact information of their customers in their record books, so all they have to do is to upload them on the website of their service provider. However, it is important to note that restaurants have to seek the consent of their customers before they can send them promotional messages, failure to do that may lead to series of legal consequences. Furthermore, the restaurant would need to create a promotional short code that would be unique to the restaurant. This code is usually 4 to 5 digits long. For example, 2267. The short code is like a phone number, but it is only used to send marketing messages. This short code cannot be used by another restaurant it is only peculiar to one brand. The restaurant can also categorize their customers into groups. For example, into new and old customers. This is necessary when a restaurant want to send a text that is directed at the new or old customers instead of sending it out in general.
Express Text has the feature whereby restaurant owners can keep track of their SMS marketing campaign. It is important for a restaurant to be able to keep track of their texts and measure the effectiveness. Express Text comes with numerous reporting tools that can track the promotional texts that are being sent out. Also, identifying your best sources for new contacts, and measure how customers are interacting with the message. This is shown on Express Text through graphs and other methods.
In conclusion, when it comes to marketing for a restaurant, text message marketing is one of the best and most convenient options. While being pocket friendly, this technique is highly effective and targets a large audience without going through the trouble of approaching customers individually. The main concept is to provide incentives to customers to visit the restaurant more frequently. Ideas like using short codes, sending limited time discount offers, mobile coupons and putting discounts on event tickets are some ways to use mass text messaging for restaurants. Using the help of service providers like Express Text, a restaurant does not need to worry about keeping track of messages or about typing out a number of messages. With just one click, a restaurant can send a text message to many of its customers by simply uploading its contact list on the system and even categorizing contacts into various groups.