There are many, many different ways SMS messaging can be used for marketing and sales. But if you could only use it just a little, here are the two we recommend for restaurants and takeaways to help increase sales.
The opt in.
You need people on your list who are willing to give you their number in exchange for future deals. The objective of the opt in is to build loyalty and a base of frequent diners who return to you again and again. Opt ins can be gathered in any number of ways. Many restaurants use SMS to gather opt ins by having customers text a keyword such as “JOIN” to the restaurant’s shortcode or virtual mobile number. The customers are automatically added to the opt in list and receive future text alerts and deals.
Another, often overlooked method, is to gather the mobile numbers while customers are in the restaurant. You can ask them during checkout if they want to be part your exclusive text discount club, loyalty club, or frequent diner club then enter the info directly into your POS. Many restaurants also have great luck with self-service kiosks where people can sign up at checkout or while waiting for the host to seat them. For takeaways the kiosk can be near where people wait for their orders. A typical kiosk may contain an iPad or other tablet where people can type in their information directly.
However you set it up, gathering customer’s mobile numbers is crucial to any SMS marketing campaign’s success. The more numbers you gather, the more opportunities you have for sales later.
Customers of your restaurant probably like your food. If they opt in to your SMS messaging list then you know they do. That makes it very easy to create special SMS offers that your customers will eat up. Our research has shown that some of the most popular offers involve getting something free with a purchase. Something like “Get a free large coke with every sandwich”. Another effective type of offer is a specific amount off a purchase. An example would be “Get £2 off a large 2 topping pizza”.
Both these types of deals often get between a 9-12% redemption rates If they also come with a limited, very short, expiration time. For example the free coke offer above may only be valid from 11-1 on the day the message was received.
A short expiration drives a sense of urgency and will encourage people to act now, rather than put it off until later. Because when people put things off they forget, or get busy, or find something better or more interesting. So offer a great deal on your food, but make it last only a short while.
If you put these two SMS messaging ideas to work for your restaurant you just may be surprised how quickly your list grows, and how fast your sales improve.