Nowadays, you can’t walk down a city street without seeing a half dozen people on their smartphones, perhaps texting or checking their social media. This makes the smartphone a perfect way to connect with your customers no matter where they are. And SMS marketing is just the way to do that.
Before we get into what makes this tactic so powerful, let’s talk about exactly what SMS, or text messaging, marketing is and some of the ins and outs of this new, emerging marketing tool for restaurants.
What is SMS Marketing?
SMS stands for short message service and is another way of saying a text message. In short, this marketing tactic uses SMS (aka, text messaging) to send promotional messages to customers right on their phones.
This tactic is on the newer side, only really taking off as a valuable marketing tool in the mid-2000s. Since that time, marketers have seen just how valuable it can be. And we’ve learned a lot along the way — including the best ways to use it, what to avoid, and the kinds of campaigns that perform the best in this format.
Let’s go over a little bit more about the dos and don’ts of this marketing channel so that you can be better prepared to use it to its fullest potential.
The Right — and Wrong — Way to Use SMS for Your Restaurant
We’ve all probably cringed at a text message marketing campaign or two. Perhaps this even makes you hesitate to use this marketing tactic.
That’s why we’re going to discuss certain text message marketing mistakes that you can avoid in the future — and what to do instead.
First of all, don’t send without consent. If people haven’t handed over their mobile number willingly for the purpose of receiving promotional messages, then don’t send them your SMS campaigns. Instead, use a form on your website specifically for text message opt-ins or include an option on your regular form for people to opt into this option.
Second, don’t send messages outside of regular business hours — think about the last time a telemarketer called you during dinner. Annoying, right? Instead, keep it to regular business hours and follow the analytics of your campaigns to develop key insights into what times are best for your audience.
Related Content: How to Set Up Effective SMS Marketing Campaigns
And lastly, don’t send the same message or promotion again and again — make sure you have variety in your SMS strategy. Each campaign should be fresh and hold value for your customers.
So, there you have it — a few things that you should avoid when it comes to SMS campaigns and a few things you should do instead.
Now, in the past we’ve talked about email newsletters and social media marketing — but why should you consider adding SMS marketing to your overall strategy? Let’s talk about the main reasons why this marketing tactic is so valuable.
5 Reasons You Should Use SMS Marketing in Your Strategy
1. (Almost) Everyone Has a Smartphone
It’s true — a recent study found that 95% of Americans use a smartphone. That’s almost 309 million people in the U.S. alone!
And people of almost every generation use and enjoy texting in their everyday life. This makes it an ideal channel to reach people, especially if they’re on the go and might not have the time to check other channels like email and social media.
2. People Don’t Want to Talk on the Phone
It’s a fact that has been proven true again and again — people hate talking on the phone. They prefer text messages, where they can think about their response, read the message while doing their other tasks, and maintain a certain level of privacy.
All of this makes texting a great option. People can look at the message, absorb the information, and move on with the rest of the day. It’s a no-pressure alternative to having to talk about something over the phone. Whether it’s a promotional message or a notification that their order is ready, customers often prefer to hear about it through a text
3. People Regularly Read Text Messages
The average open and read rate for text messages is much higher than any other channel. In fact, one study found that 98 percent of text messages are opened and read. Compare that to the average email open rate of 21.33%!
This is extremely promising — it offers you an opportunity to get your restaurant and promotions in front of more eyeballs. And hopefully, if your promotion hits the right tone, it will result in higher conversions and sales.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should go hog-wild with your SMS campaigns. After all, if your campaigns become too frequent, they could become obnoxious, earning you a few opt-outs. But, when done in moderation, you can be confident that most of your recipients will receive and read your promotional messages.
4. It Supports Your Other Marketing Channels
The key to any marketing tactic is that it supports your overall marketing strategy. And SMS is great at this. While it can stand on its own, it’s also a great way to enhance and build your other channels, including email and social media.
How does this work?
You might send a simple text message reminding your customers of an email you sent a few hours before that needs their attention. You could also encourage them to check out social media to learn more about an upcoming event.
When marketing tactics work in tandem like this, your whole strategy benefits!
5. It’s Affordable
Consider for a moment that in text message marketing, you own your list of contact numbers. Even if you pay for a marketing platform that allows you to create and monitor campaigns, your audience list will always be yours.
In contrast, when you create ads for social media or search engine marketing, you pay a lot more for access to that audience — and you continue to pay every time you promote an ad.
This makes an SMS strategy a great investment for any restaurant.
As SMS marketing continues to grow in popularity, we hope these points help you to see the true value of this marketing tactic — and hopefully go on to create your own, winning SMS campaigns that put your restaurant in the spotlight.