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Text Message Marketing Best Practices

Even with open rates that are nearly 100% and offer-redemption rates of 10 – 30%, the content of your messages is ultimately what drives customers to come back to your restaurant. Here is a list of best practices to help make the most out of your text message marketing campaigns.

1. Tell customers who you are, every time. When customers subscribe to a text message list, they won’t recognize the phone number. Be sure to state your restaurant’s name in the text message. Also, if you have multiple locations, be sure to add this info into your text if applicable. It’s typical for businesses to start the text message out with their name, followed by a semicolon, then your message. For example: “Maines: Get 1 Free Dessert with dinner on 8/1. Show this TXT to server.”

2. Let Customers Know about it! Include the instructions with how to sign up in all of your other marketing efforts, and make sure your staff is asking customers to join as well.

3. Take Advantage of the Speed. Just like social media, one big advantage of text marketing is the speed at which you can get an offer out to customers. For example, if you need to get rid of excess food supplies – you can create a special offer and use text message marketing and social media to immediately get the message out to customers.

4. Don’t Limit Your Texts to 1 Day Offers. One benefit of mobile marketing is the immediate consumer response. However, chances are a large portion of your database won’t be able to take advantage of them. Use those only when you need to, such as when moving an extra perishable product or generating a large turnout for an event. The most successful promotions have three- to seven-day redemption windows.

5. Frequency. Sending 1-2 messages a month is the most effective way to stay fresh in your customers’ minds without annoying them.

6. Short and Simple. Keep text blasts simple and short. Texting is limited to 160 characters, so your messages can’t be packed with too much information.

7. Use Website Links. If you have too much information to fit into a text blast’s 160-character limit, include a link to a website for details.

8. Mix up your offers. It’s best to have a mix of messages including discounts, band schedules, events, or even Holiday greetings. You can be spontaneous with offers or cycle through a list of incentives that work well for your restaurant. Don’t send the same offer or message every time you text your customers. Keep surprising them so they want to read your text messages.

9. Exclusive Offers. When a customer signs up to receive text messages from you, they expect to receive something that not all of your other customers are getting. Sending offers that are exclusive reinforces the “VIP” status of the mobile database. It also encourages customers to join, if the only way to get the offer is to be a part of the mobile database