This Is Why Restaurants Miss Out By Not Using Text Marketing

By Raubi Perilli

      Jul 17, 2017     Solutions    

Many restaurant owners overlook text marketing. They don’t try this strategy because they have too many unanswered questions.

How do you get the phone numbers? How do you send the messages? Does it produce valuable results? 

If restaurants understood text marketing, they would not miss the opportunity to implement it.

Restaurant text marketing is not as complicated as it sounds, and as a marketing tool, it is more efficient than you probably think. So, we put together this guide to give you a look inside this powerful tool, and what you could be missing out on by failing to use it.

What Goes Into Restaurant Text Marketing?

When you strip restaurant text marketing down, it’s composed of two simple elements.  

  • Data Collection  - The process of getting your customer's information. It’s how you collect the phone numbers.
  • Message Distribution - The process of sending messages to customers once they provide their information. Delivering custom messages directly to your customer’s phone.

These are the two most essential elements of text marketing. And while these two factors help you create a marketing campaign, additional features make text marketing the powerful tool that it is.

Along with data collection and message distribution, a strategic restaurant text marketing plan uses:

  • Incentive Strategy. The process of creating compelling offers, contests, and opt-ins that encourage customers to provide their phone numbers. The more powerful your incentives, the more sign ups you will receive.
  • Remarketing Strategy. The process of using the data you collect to reconnect with past customers. Text marketing doesn’t end after a customer does business with you. It’s a great tool for pulling them back again and again.
  • Data Leveraging. The process of using phone number data to find and connect with customers on other platforms. Facebook can match phone numbers with users so you can then market to them through Facebook Ads.   
  • Segmentation. The process of putting your audience into categories (such as new customers, existing customers, etc.) so you can send hyper-targeted content. Sending targeted content you know will interest your audience (instead of sending the same mass message to everyone) increases the odds that your customers will respond to the content.
  • Message Content Creation. The process of developing enticing offers and promotions that will resonate with customers who receive your messages. You need compelling and exciting content and offers to pull in audiences and keep them interested.
  • Analytics Monitoring. The process of collecting and reviewing data that explains how users engage with your text marketing campaigns. You can then use that data to adjust campaigns based on your finding so you can get the best results.  
  • Reporting. The process of reviewing final data and using custom redemption codes to measure results and return on investment (ROI). Good marketing ends with a review of your campaign to see if it produced the results you wanted, and text message marketing delivers those type of measurable results.
  • Compliance. The process of setting up your text marketing system, so it meets TCPA Anti-Spam Law and Carrier Guidelines. You also want your campaign to serve, not frustrate your customers, so this step includes using tools that enable audiences to opt-out and control the messages they receive.

When you combine these strategies and create a holistic text marketing campaign, you unlock the full potential of this advertising channel.  

How To Put Together a Strategic Text Marketing Campaign

Now that you understand the components of text marketing let’s look at how these strategies come together into a campaign. You can use these ideas to visualize how to set up a text campaign for your restaurant.

Step #1) Design compelling incentives to trigger data collection.

The process starts by creating an incentive that will get customers to sign up. As you design your incentive, you must match your offer to what your customers most want, need, and desire. 

Some examples of incentives that work well include:

  • Text To Win Offers. Customers text a number and are entered to win a prize or contest.
  • Discounts and Deals. Customers text a number and receive an immediate discount code or coupon.
  • VIP Club. Customers text a number and receive a variety of exclusive, VIP-only benefits such as exclusive emails, deals, and access.

When you design your campaigns, hype them up, make them unique and time-sensitive to get more opt-ins.

Step #2) Promote your incentives.

Once you design a compelling opt-in incentive, you have to let your customers know about it. Promote your offer online and in physical locations. A few places to share your promotion include:

  • Outside of Your Restaurant. Place signage that promotes your incentive near walkways and roadways outside of your restaurant and on decals on your doors and windows.
  • Tables and Menus. Catch the attention of people dining in your restaurant using table tents, rack cards, and menu inserts.
  • Social Media Profiles. Create sign-up forms you can share on Facebook, Twitter, and MyArea Network.
  • Website. Use opt-in boxes and strong calls-to-action on your site directing audiences to sign up.
  • Mobile Display Ads. Catch viewers and encourage them to sign up for text incentives while they are on their phone using display ads targeted for mobile users.
  • Employee Promotions. Train your staff to share incentives with your customers, and reward them for their efforts. When employee efforts are appreciated, opt-in rates increase substantially.

Consider who your target audience is and where they spend time both in-person and online, and then place your promotions in those locations.

Step #3) Organize your data as it comes in.

The data you collect becomes more and more valuable as you tag and categorize it. So from the start of your campaign, group users based on their activities, actions, and messages they receive.

Step #4) Leverage your data.

Once you start collecting information and building your database, leverage that information on other platforms.

Use phone number data to create audiences on Facebook. Using Facebook’s custom audience tool, you can upload the cell phone numbers you have. Facebook will match the numbers with users and create an audience of those people.

Then, advertise on Facebook. You can advertise directly to the people who are connected to your list of phone numbers or use that list to create a Lookalike Audience that finds other Facebook users who match the characteristics and demographics of your current audience. This tactic creates an opportunity for you to:

  • Remarket to people who have already engaged with your brand.
  • Connect with new audiences who are likely to be interested in your business.

Text marketing allows you to collect data that serves a purpose outside of the mobile platform and creates opportunity on other platforms.  

Step #5) Send targeted messages that match customer engagement.

The key to a successful text marketing campaign is sending the right content to the right user at the right time. So as you create your campaigns, consider how you can create marketing funnels for customers based on their engagement level with your business.

Categorize your clients and potential customers to build marketing funnels relative to the way the customer connects with your business. Create unique content campaigns for:

  • New Customers
  • Existing Customers
  • Contest Winners
  • Contest Losers
  • Users Who Redeemed Offers
  • Users Who Didn’t Redeem Offers

Consider what your customer needs at each step of their journey and provide them with text message content, coupons, offers, and promotions that gives them what they need and want.

Step #6) Remember to respect your customers.

The last thing you want to do with your restaurant text marketing campaign is annoy your customers by sending too many messages or appearing spammy. You also don’t want to break any anti-spam regulation. So be sure to set a messaging schedule that won’t overload customers with messages and always meets TCPA Anti-Spam Law and Carrier Guidelines

Step #7) Review your results.

The power of digital marketing is visible at the end of the campaign because you have concrete data to review.

With text marketing, you get analytics and reporting allowing you to measure your ROI to see what worked and what didn’t. You walk away with a clear idea and measurement of the success of your campaign. Even more, you walk away with a tangible asset -- a valuable list of customer information.

Your campaigns always end with an asset that you can use to connect with customers again and again. The value of text marketing compounds over time as you collect more and more customer data and information.

Related: Is Text Message Marketing for Small Business Right For Your Local Brand?

How Do I Get Started With Text Marketing?

Hopefully, this post answered some of your questions about how text marketing works and why it’s such a powerful tool for restaurants looking to connect with new customers and reconnect with existing customers.

And, if you still need more help with understanding and executing your text marketing strategies, we have you covered.

MyArea Network specializes in both restaurant marketing and text marketing. So when it comes to implementing restaurant text marketing campaigns, we know what works.

If you want to dive deeper into what it takes to create a campaign that will bring in new customers and welcome back existing customers, let’s talk. Schedule a free consultation to see how we can help you reach your text marketing goals.