Texting, as a means of connecting with guests, has a number of critical benefits: It’s an intuitive technology that everyone – regardless of demographics – knows how to use. It doesn’t require a download, so there is little commitment involved. Finally, it’s that rare technology that has the power to immediately get the attention of the recipient: It’s common to ignore an email, call or social media alert – but not a text. In fact, the click-through rate for text offers is more than 9 percent higher than any other digital channel, according to TechJury. So are you using text messaging to its fullest potential? Once your guests opt into it, ensure you’re using text to send important, just-in-time offers – don’t bombard them with untargeted promotions that will quickly become noise. Offer discount codes good for a future order, an invitation to a special event, contest or tasting, a birthday treat, or a prompt to reengage a customer who hasn’t ordered in recent weeks.
Consumers are significantly more apt to read a text than an email. In fact, according to the Mobile Consumer Engagement Study 2020, 40 percent of consumers say they have at least 50 unread emails. Ten percent say they have more than 1,000 such emails. On the flip side, only 4 percent of consumers say they have 50 or more unread mobile text messages. Knowing this, how can you use texts to drive guest engagement? Could you use them to send a location-specific promotion of your popular mozzarella sticks before a big game? Ping a request for an online review immediately following a dine-in meal? What key guest actions could you best encourage with a brief message that gets immediate attention?
It’s Friday afternoon and just as you’re starting to get hungry and think about what’s for dinner, your phone pings you with a text offer from your favorite pizza place. Even though you hadn’t been thinking about pizza, suddenly this restaurant has jumped to the front of the line of potential restaurants where you consider ordering take-out. This year, more restaurants are putting themselves in a position to win business like this as the competitive landscape for restaurants has matured and broadened. Restaurants now need to stand out from not only other brick-and-mortar restaurants but also from ghost kitchens and even competition in the form of grocery stores, meal kit companies and even gas stations vying for foodservice business. A well-timed text can help. But in order for restaurants to craft SMS marketing campaigns that target the right customers at the right times, they first need a strong SMS database of contacts. Make sure that at your restaurant, you’re not leaving any gaps where contact information can be collected. In-store, ask customers during a purchase if they want to receive promotional offers from you via text. If you send an email newsletter, use those communications to prompt recipients to opt into texts and access special deals. If you take orders on your website, ask customers to tick a box as part of the checkout process to receive the promotions. Finally, use your social media platforms to promote your text promotions – try posting a dedicated number or key word that viewers can text to easily opt into your offers.