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What Every Restaurant Needs to Know About Text Message Marketing

By Adam Arnold

mobile phone - text messaging The emergence of mobile marketing among businesses seems to mirror that of social media – everyone is talking about it; few businesses are using it; and of those using it, very few are using it well. For this reason, we are providing a list of some of the potential opportunities and challenges that marketers will need to acknowledge if they are going to have a chance at harnessing the power of mobile couponing.

According to the 2010 U.S. Local Mobile Advertising and Promotions Forecast, text message marketing spend was $90 million in 2009 and is expected to hit $6.52 billion in the next four years. Yet despite this rapid growth, text message marketing, particularly text message coupons are still very much in their infancy. Although most businesses are fully aware of the marketing potential of text message couponing (namely its ability to reach customers anywhere, at anytime, with any message) many marketers still have not found effective ways of harvesting that potential and transforming it into sales.

Give a reason for your customers to join the club, and make it simple
Text message coupons are permission-based so you need to make sure that you give your customers a good reason to opt-in and receive your deals. One way to do this is to offer customers an incentive while they are already engaged with your product. An invitation to text a keyword to a short code is a welcome diversion when waiting in line to buy a movie ticket or if you’re sitting in a car wash.

Choose a keyword that has some sort of relationship to your brand. Keep it short and simple – avoid random numbers, hyphens, underscores, or any other symbols that customers might forget to insert.

Timing is everything
If you want your customers to act on your mobile coupon, you need to catch them on the move and create a sense of urgency. If you want your customers to grab a burger today at lunch, for example, you should send mobile coupons at around 10:00 a.m. – right when their stomachs are starting to growl. And to add a sense of immediacy, the coupon should expire after lunchtime. Check out our case study, highlighting how one of our customers used text marketing to boost sales in his restaurant.

Start a conversation
Text coupons have the ability to communicate directly with your customers and engage with your business. First, auto-replies are a must when sending text coupons as they are the first step toward creating more meaningful and advantageous customer relationships. Anytime a customer opts-in to receive your mobile coupons, it’s important to thank them for inviting you to earn their business.

Another way to start a conversation with your customers is to ask them what kinds of deals they are interested in. For example, a burger place can send a text that says, “Lunch deal of the day – would you rather have a free burger or two free side items with the purchase of a combo meal? Text ‘burger’ or ‘side’ to vote.” By asking your customers what they want, you aren’t just learning more about them, you’re creating a thread of conversation that will invariably lead to a more loyal customer base.

Making the most of your mobile coupons
The redemption rate of mobile coupons is nearly 25 percent higher than printed internet coupons and roughly 10 times greater than mail or newspaper distributed coupons at a fraction of the cost. Mobile promotions can do more than just increase sales for your business, they can also create more meaningful, lasting relationships with your customers.

Adam Arnold is the Business Development Manager at Call-Em-All, a Text Message Marking tool. For case study example of text marketing success click Scotty P's Case Study, or contact us at (877) 226-3080 for a free trial.

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