SMS Marketing for Restaurants: The Beginner's Guide

SMS Marketing for Restaurants: The Beginner's Guide

Mar 19, 2024

What is SMS Marketing?

Once just a simple communication app, SMS has evolved into a potent marketing channel, allowing businesses to send promotions, updates, and personalized messages directly to their customers' phones. This direct line to the consumer is especially valuable in the fast-paced restaurant industry, where staying top-of-mind can make all the difference in the world for split second decisions being made by hungry consumers every day.

Why is Text Marketing Effective for Restaurants?

In today's digital-first world, text marketing has emerged as a game-changer for the restaurant industry, boasting unique advantages that set it apart from other marketing strategies. This approach capitalizes on the widespread use of SMS and aligns perfectly with today's consumer habits. From tapping into the ubiquity of texting to leveraging the potential for frequent repeat orders, easing the path to mobile ordering, and utilizing existing POS data, text marketing presents a multi-faceted opportunity for restaurants.

Going a step deeper, we'll explore how these factors combine to make SMS an exceptionally effective tool for engaging directly with customers and driving business growth in ways that other platforms simply can't match.

Ubiquity of SMS: The SMS app is the most used app in the US, surpassing any social media or messaging platform. This widespread use makes SMS an unrivaled channel for reaching consumers directly and personally.

Frequent Repeat Orders: Restaurants, more so than businesses in other industries—like e-commerce or retail, for example—have a higher propensity to receive repeat orders, which bodes will for text as a marketing channel. SMS marketing nurtures this repeat business by keeping your restaurant top-of-mind, ensuring that when hunger strikes, your brand comes to mind first.

Ease of Mobile Ordering: Consumers increasingly prefer the convenience of ordering via mobile. SMS simplifies this process further, offering an easy, fast, and accessible way to place orders.

Utilizing POS Data: Many restaurants already collect valuable customer data through their POS systems. This data can kickstart your text club, enabling a swift and strategic entry into SMS marketing.

By embracing the unique strengths of SMS marketing, restaurants can significantly enhance their customer interaction, fostering loyalty and driving repeat business in an increasingly competitive market. In essence, SMS marketing is not just another channel—it's a pivotal component in the modern restaurant's marketing arsenal, offering a direct line to success in cultivating customer relationships and boosting sales.

Why Opt for SMS Over Social Media or Email?

In the ever-evolving landscape of restaurant marketing tactics, the quest for meaningful engagement from customers, control over content visibility, and the ability to drive direct traffic to business platforms has led savvy restaurateurs to embrace SMS marketing.

This strategy starkly contrasts with the diminishing returns of crowded email inboxes and the unpredictable nature of social media algorithms. With SMS, the promise of nearly universal open rates, assured delivery to an engaged audience, and an unfiltered pathway to drive customers directly to where it matters most— your business.

Here's what we mean:

Engagement Rates: Consider the clutter in your email inbox versus the streamlined nature of your text messages. The contrast is stark: 98% of texts are read within minutes, while email open rates languish around 18%.

Control and Visibility: Social media platforms, despite their reach, offer limited control over who sees your content. In contrast, SMS marketing ensures that nearly all your messages are seen by the audience you've painstakingly built.

Direct Traffic Driver: Unlike social media, which penalizes external links, SMS excels at driving traffic to your website or ordering platform directly, enhancing both customer engagement and sales.

The striking contrast between SMS's near-perfect open rates and the challenges of navigating email clutter or social media's unpredictable algorithms highlights the strategic advantage of text messaging. SMS marketing transcends traditional barriers, offering restaurant owners direct and reliable access to their customers, thereby solidifying its position as an indispensable tool in the digital marketing toolkit.

In a landscape where attention is the currency, SMS marketing proves to be an investment yielding substantial returns, driving home the point that in the digital age, the most direct line of communication is not only preferred but essential for success.

Steps to Launching Your Restaurant's SMS Marketing Campaign

Launching an SMS marketing campaign is a strategic move that requires thoughtful planning and execution to reap its full benefits for your restaurant. This journey begins with setting clear goals, whether to increase orders, disseminate news, or strengthen customer loyalty, each serving as a compass for your marketing efforts. Building a robust text club forms the backbone of your strategy, leveraging POS data and various promotional tactics while ensuring compliance with regulations.

The rhythm of your campaign, found in a carefully chosen cadence of messages, balances engagement with respect, keeping content varied and vibrant. Lastly, the emphasis on measuring the campaign's impact through data analysis ensures that SMS marketing is not just an activity but a significant growth driver for your business.

As we delve into these critical steps, we'll uncover how each one contributes to the overarching success of your SMS marketing initiatives:

  1. Define Your Goals: Identify whether you're aiming to boost orders, share news, or enhance customer loyalty. Clear objectives guide your strategy and content.

  2. Build a Text Club: Start with POS data for initial outreach, then expand your membership through website conversions and in-store promotions, always adhering to TCPA regulations.

  3. Establish Campaign Cadence: A biweekly schedule strikes a balance between engagement and over-communication. Ensure content variety and incorporate both SMS and MMS to keep messages fresh and engaging.

  4. Measure Impact: The true value of SMS marketing lies in its measurable impact on your business. Utilize tools to track campaign performance and adjust strategies based on real data for continuous improvement.

Getting Started with SMS Marketing

At this point you're beginning to appreciate why so many restaurant owners are relying on text marketing as their de facto marketing channel. Now the question that remains; how does a restaurant owner get started with SMS marketing? The reality is that their isn't a single way to venture into the realm of SMS marketing. That being said, the options can largely be segmented into two groups: Do it yourself, or turn to a dedicated service to manage the campaigns.

Do-It-Yourself Approach: For those looking to manage text marketing themselves—

  • The first step is to research and demo various texting platforms. Remember to compare pricing, features, and limitations.

  • The second step is to plan a content calendar for your next few weeks of text campaigns, ensuring that you have enough ideas and material to get things off the ground.

  • Third, you'll want to start building your text club. These are the people you'll be sending text messages to, so you'll want to make sure the list consists of the type of people you'd like to be getting orders from. Not sure where to start in building your list? Leverage the data housed in your POS system and the thousands of monthly visitors your website gets. A word of caution on this topic, be 100% sure that you receive explicit opt ins in a format that is compliant with TCPA regulation before you start sending ongoing texts.

  • Fourth, and finally, be prepared to invest time in ongoing message management and ROI tracking.

Managed Solution: For those seeking a less time intensive option—

This is what we were built for! Boostly is the SMS marketing platform for restaurant owners, taking care of everything from start to finish—including campaign design, execution, and impact measurement—so you don't have to lift a finger.

Ready to Dive In?

Whether you're exploring SMS marketing independently or seeking the convenience of a managed service like Boostly, the key is to start. With its direct reach, high engagement rates, and unparalleled ROI, SMS marketing is an invaluable tool in the modern restaurant's marketing arsenal. Embrace this opportunity to connect with your customers in the most direct way possible, driving orders, loyalty, and success.

Want to learn more? Request a free demo below to connect with an SMS marketing specialist!

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Ready to See Boostly in Action?

Ready to See Boostly in Action?

See how you can get more orders, reviews and customer loyalty without lifting a finger.

See how you can get more orders, reviews and customer loyalty without lifting a finger.

See how you can get more orders, reviews and customer loyalty without lifting a finger.