We’re living in a text message world, and this gives restaurants a unique and added opportunity to reach people faster and more efficiently. Texts are more engaging, getting crazy high open rates and responses.
Want to know how to incorporate text messaging into your marketing plan? Read on.
#1 Engage with potential and current customers via text messages.
Of course, you want to gain new customers to grow your restaurant’s business. When prospective customers engage with your restaurant– whether it’s through your website, social media, or in-person via another method– ask them to provide you with their number to receive special offers or important info.
Sure, you’ll likely have to promise them that you won’t go overboard with the texting (and, believe me, you’ll want to keep that promise or risk losing them forever), but you’ll have a new way to reach your current and future customers.
When you send out that first message, be sure you make it easy for customers to engage with you and ultimately visit your restaurant
#2 Amp up your social media engagement.
So, you’ve already got a great social media presence. Now it’s time to get even more people engaging with it. Use text messages to link to your social media platforms. It’s as simple as this:
“Exclusive offer for our Instagram followers! Simply hit follow and enter to win a $100 gift card to our restaurant!”
“Check out our Facebook page, and see what our customers have to say about us! Follow us and you’ll get a chance to win a gift card.”
#3 Extend exclusive SMS offers to your customers.
Not just new customers– but those who have visited your restaurant once or twice in the past and your old faithfuls– would LOVE to receive an exclusive offer from you. This is an easy way to engage or re-engage your customers, and it takes just a quick mass text from you.
It’s also a good idea to give your audience a heads up about these special offers (or any other promotions or special events you’ve got coming up). This will increase the likelihood that they’ll come around to take advantage of it.
And while we’re talking about reminder texts… Don’t forget to send them a text one or two days before the promotion ends. After all, your customers are human. They may have been interested but become sidetracked.
#4 Encourage competition.
Engage your audience by creating some fun competition. It’s a win-win: you increase your engagement, and they get to win something cool.
Try something like this:
“Reply ‘FREEFOOD’ to be entered into a chance to win a Month of Free Lunch.”
“Like our stuff? Win a $25 gift card by texting ‘ENTER’ to enter our competition today. Good luck!”
#5 Use feedback surveys and encourage reviews.
Text out a simple survey after your customers have interacted with your business. This info will not only help you make sure you’re on the right track but it can also give you valuable information about where your marketing or customer service strategy is lacking.
Be sure to ask simple questions so that your audience will be willing to engage. The longer the survey, the less likely that they will stick around to answer all of your questions.
Try out the following survey texts:
“Thanks for stopping by! Your feedback helps us get better. Out of 10, how would you rate your experience today?”
“Based on your experience today, what could we improve on?”
You can also use “feedback” texts to encourage your audience to review you. And why are reviews so important? Because customers read reviews on everything these days, and without any, you’re likely to get passed up for a brand with more online clout.
Simply text a customer after they’ve visited your restaurant and ask if they’d be willing to leave you a positive review. Then, add a review link to the message. If you find that your audience just isn’t taking the bait, consider an incentive for those willing to click on your review link and tell the online world about their experience.
#6 Target specific customers with personalized text messages.
When you can, find ways to target specific customers through text. We all know that text gets opened and answered more readily than email, so it’s important to start targeting through this medium too.
Using customer behavior as a guide, text personalized messages like this:
“Looking for a great date night option? Click the link below to read what other guests are saying.”
#7 Reach back out to prior customers.
Text messages are a quick and easy way to remind your prior customers that you’re still in business and that you’ve got some menu items that you want them to try.
Try to personalize the message so that your customers know they’re missed. Consider one of the following options:
“We haven’t seen you in a while. Come back within the next month and we’ll give you 10% off your bill.”
Just be sure, though, that you do leave clear contact instructions so that your customers can respond when they’re comfortable and without having to search the internet for information.
#8 Use text messages to remind your customers of their reservations
Don’t waste time and money by standing around waiting for no-show. Instead, help your customers (and your bottom line) by sending out reminder texts to confirm any scheduled reservation. This allows people to quickly respond YES or NO to the reservation, and it allows you to fill that reservation if they aren’t going to make it.
The Quick, Efficient Route
As you can see, there are so many ways to engage your audience through text messaging. And as people move away from their computer and toward their phones for moment-by-moment interaction, it’s time for you to do the same.
Use every avenue that you can to engage the population, but be sure not to neglect text messaging as it is a quick, efficient, and low to no-cost way to reach out.